Does anyone else feel like they are performing “having their shit together” for others?
There’s this interesting compulsion when you are no longer working to present a clear path forward, no matter your financial situation (Or maybe this is just a type-A, first-born Capricorn thing that I should explore in therapy).
Since parting ways with my former employer, I realized it’s the first time a job has ended where I didn’t already know my next move or have another job lined up. I have no moves. My weakness exposed. Call me the Queen because I’m in “checkmate.”
I have no plan, but yet I feel the need to communicate to people that I totally have a plan, however obscurely.
“I’m going to focus on writing, maybe freelance.”
“Oh, I’m working on a book.”
“I have a few irons in the pot. “
Why do I feel the need to let people know that I’m definitely job hunting? Why is being a mother to 3 children, a household to care for along with my own chronic health issues not enough? Why have I tied so much of my identity to my employment?
Even typing that feels antiquated and it shouldn’t. Women have been sold the idea of “having it all” and I don’t totally buy it. It’s a way to get women to preform the roles they have primarily inhabited at home while also working. For me personally it’s impossible without a certain amount of financial freedom. I also don’t know if I want to have it all. I can’t handle it all. Ultimately I want less stress. Less drama. More happiness. That’s all.
Why, now that I am taking on more responsibilities at home, and – dare I say, enjoy it – do I feel so uncomfortable in my role?
Maybe it’s the privilege that comes with not having to search for a new job immediately that makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the fact that I do actually love working in a creative capacity that allows me to do things I truly love (writing).
But honestly? I’m burned out. I spent 15 months grinding – churning out videos and try ons and blog posts and social media posts while caring for children, living through a freeze that damaged our home, selling our home, moving to another state, buying a new home, etc. I laugh whenever someone asks me if I plan on starting my own fashion blog – not only because I know the work entailed with building such a platform in an oversaturated market – but also because I don’t have the mental or physical capacity to take that on let alone submit a simple pitch to an outlet for a freelance story. I don’t have any of it in me. I tried to push through it the last few weeks, but it’s just not there. I am not ready.
Perhaps my body is trying to tell me to slow down. To fight every urge in my Western upbringing that taught me success is equal to #doingallthethings and operating under high levels of stress is normal – celebrated even. Hustle culture, grind culture, whatever you want to call it. It’s toxic. Unfortunately for many it is unavoidable in a country with a disappearing social safety net. But, if that’s not the case for me, why do I feel the need to participate? What if I got off the merry-go-round and found my balance again? What if, when asked what I’m doing next I simply replied, “I don’t know.” Would that change their opinion of me? Does it even matter?
I’m going to practice it right now. What is my plan? I don’t know. What am I doing? I’m focusing on my health. I’m caring for my children and my home. I’m rediscovering my love of yoga. I’m reading a ton of books. I’m catching up on my shows. I’m watering my plants. I’m lowering my stress.
Truthfully, despite the internal commotion, I’ve never felt better. Maybe it’s partially the elimination protocol I’m on to heal my gut and uncover food allergies, but I think a large part of it is due to removing the stress of working a job that requires you to be “on” all the time in order to make a meaningful wage. Perhaps I’ve already stepped off the merry-go-round and now I’m just waiting for my body to catch up to the fact that we are no longer spinning.
I don’t have a plan. And that is ok.