Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up.

I’ve hit a rough patch. No, that doesn’t quite describe it accurately. For those of you who live in my hometown of Worcester, you will understand this metaphor better. For the past few months I have been going back and forth, up and down, Plantation street, at rush hour, weaving in and around the ever active construction, and hitting just about every pothole in the road. Bumpy, to say the least.

Last year at the Caya Retreat, I met a mom who had 5 young children. She described the experience like this, “Imagine that you are drowning, and then someone hands you a baby.”

I’ve been wishing, hoping, praying, for someone to hand me a baby (my own, in my uterus) for months now. (More on that later) But lately, I’ve been feeling like I am drowning. In typical Jozie fashion, I have made too many changes, and taken on too much all at once. Why do I keep setting myself up to crash and burn? Why do I have this unrealistic idea that I am super woman and can handle IT ALL? Oh, because modern society likes to tell me that’s what I should be.

I had a wise teacher in massage school that used to say, “Quit shoulding on yourself.”

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The truth of the matter is, I am once again at a point in my life, where something has got to give. The beauty of this experience is that I have recognized it (from having seen it many times before) and I have a choice. By something has got to I give, I mean I have got to stop doing one of the things I am doing that is draining my energy. To some this may look like quitting. To others, who have an understanding of energy, priority, and healthy balance, this will look like a reasonable decision. In truth, it doesn’t matter what this looks like to anyone. What is important is how it feels to me.

Honestly it’s one of the best and worst feelings that I have the privilege of experiencing in this beautiful life. 

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The guilt of “giving up”, the resolve to stay truer to myself next time, the relief from exhaustion, and the realization that my choice always brings me back to what is truly most important to me, my family.

Every time I make a decision to leave something, to “give something up”, to stop doing, I decide that what is truly worth my time and effort is the ones I love. Nothing is more important to me than them.

Some will say I’m losing out on my goals and aspirations by putting my husband and child before myself. Some will say I should be able to do it all, work, parent, and go to school, because lots of people do it. But I say, my family IS me. By putting them first I am putting myself first. And I say, that I cannot do it all at the expense of my physical and mental health. Lots of people are sick and miserable in this country, because they push themselves too hard. I do not want to be one of them, not for any goal or aspiration.

And so to me, saying, “I Quit” or, “I Give Up” really means that I am saying, “I Choose Me” or, “I Choose Us”. I choose to keep myself healthy and happy, so that I can keep you healthy and happy. I choose to be with you, instead of running myself ragged in pursuit of “goals”. Yes this means I won’t achieve what I set out to achieve. Yes this means that I am accepting a path that is different from what it might have been. But in all honesty, I am OK with that. I am OK with being a mom who chooses to put my family first. This thing I am giving up on, really isn’t mine anyways. When the goal or the dream IS something that is truly my heart’s desire, I won’t give up, but it also won’t be as hard.

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And so, dear stress, dear self-induced exhaustion and overload, let’s break up. I don’t need you. What I need is the me that is calm, and happy, and in love with the world.

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