It’s an adorable sentiment. Much harder in practice.
I write a lot about being multi-faceted. I love that I am more than epilepsy or a runner or the many things I could list. There comes a point though when we are trying to wear too many hats. When we cannot do anything with love because there is just so much to do. So many places we are trying to give energy. So many people we are trying to please. An image that we are trying to maintain. The happiness we have melts away because sometimes the energy we need to be able to function becomes the most we can give. We don’t have space for happiness. The goals we may have set, the things we enjoy, the people we care about become a burden we are carrying because there are so many things going on we don’t have room to give that love and happiness to them anymore. Those things become just something else that demands the energy that we don’t have to spare.
That’s why people start finding escapes. Travel is one that I indulge in, but that is limited based on what I can afford. If I lost sight of budgeting, that could get me into trouble. People escape through excessive alcohol, unnecessary drugs, extreme eating (or not eating) and lots of other self-destructive behaviour. Whether its travel or alcohol, it can be used to escape from the place we have where we cannot be everything to everyone.
There’s a degree of shame and guilt that goes along with that too. Socially, we are expected (externally or internally) to be everything. To be able to do everything and handle everything and be constantly moving forward. If we can’t do that (or don’t want to), especially when at one point we could, we may consider ourselves failing. Exhaustion became the status quo, and if we are not exhausted, then we aren’t doing enough. When it becomes too much, we (certainly I do) feel like we aren’t cut out for [whatever it is].
I am really awful for taking on too much. Probably not the worst (I don’t want to take on that hat) but definitely up there. Some things are out of my control. Some things are within my control. Sometimes when I am at my absolute lowest, my decision isn’t to take time to recover and heal, it’s to take something new on (in addition to everything else). I use new interests as a means of escaping from the things I can’t deal with. There are some things that I cannot take energy away from (like my medical condition). There are some things that I can take energy away from but I really don’t want to (technically, I don’t have to show up at work, but if I don’t, eventually I would lose my job, and I don’t want that). Then there’s the list of hobbies and interests.
The reality here is that right now, I cannot do anything with love. I can barely manage to do a small handful of things and most of those are the absolute minimum. I can give energy to work. I can manage to take off my makeup before I go to sleep (most of the time). I shower. I take my medication. That’s about where it stops. That does not leave much room for athletics, relationships, goals, self-love. That does not leave room for keeping in touch with friends, watching new Netflix shows, reading new novels. Since I can only barely manage to do a few things, those things aren’t happening with love. They are happening with endurance.
This post doesn’t really go anywhere. It doesn’t reach any conclusion, or have any motivational statement at the end. It’s meant to be more along the lines of acknowledging that we all go through times that are more challenging and more difficult. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel but it feels impossible to even imagine that the tunnel will end. We never know who is experiencing what circumstance. So maybe if there is something from this post, it’s to do what you can with love. It doesn’t need to be all things. Give love where you can, starting with (and most importantly): You.