But for real. If this was an actual team, I’d most likely be the captain. I want to use this post as an opportunity to reflect on a pattern in my work style that I would like to improve upon to ensure it is sustainable, consistent and good for my mental health. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m good at delivering results. If you need to get something done, I’m the woman for the role. Despite how much I stress, panic and freak out somewhere deep down I know I’m still going to smash the shit out of whatever project or task I have at hand. Period. It’s not pride, it’s simply facts that has been repeatedly tried and tested. You’d think that’d stop me from having panic attacks but lo and behold t’is not so. I think this stems from my perchance for melodrama but also the insecurity of not knowing and thus, not being in control.
I have also noticed that I’m the kind of person who needs to have multiple projects at the same time to stay sane and balanced. Focusing on one thing alone for an extended time drives me crazy. For example, I was not (and could not) be a student alone. I was a student that blogged, boxed and planned African cultural showcases… Back in high school, I was a student who rowed competitively. When I started working, I tried the whole go to work, come home, blog work and sleep. I went crazy and promised to never disrespect myself like that again. I am accepting that I thrive on having multiple projects that require me to use my brain in different ways. I am not bragging about how busy I am because I don’t believe in busy. Rather, it stems from my desire to have a multi-faceted view on life. To see and experience it from different angles & perspectives. When I think about times I was smashing life, my interests/commitments were diverse but interrelated. On the flip side, when I think about dark times in my life, my focus was narrow and too streamlined. I know this goes without saying but it must be said. I do too much. It has certainly brought me far but it does have it’s downsides. I’ll be sharing those today.
Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow
An individual I barely knew commented about me “You need to try less and allow things flow.” Mind you, I did not divulge personal information or have a poster on my head saying “Hey, look at me trying hard and shit.” He was right and I knew this already. My response to him was “I don’t know how to relax”. This sounds like a first world problem (it probably is) but I am on an active quest to learn how to relax. Am I the only one who experiences restlessness when I have nothing to do? A feeling of always having to be “on” all the time? Always be in control? I noticed an unhealthy trend in my work style where I would work, work, work, work, work *cue Riri* to the point of severe burnout and find myself crying on the phone to my mum from stress and overwhelm. I once slept for 24 hours after exams because my body was completely wasted. It took me 3 semesters to realize this unhealthy tendency of mine in college. I also tend to drift towards the other extreme when it comes to relaxation. It boils down to the idea that I am an all or nothing type of person. I care or I do not care. I do not know how to “maybe, sort of care but not really”. Looking back to high school, I still exhibited those tendencies but the structures and routines helped me manage my tendencies much better. As a result, I’m trying to create structures and routines around my life to cultivate balance. I am learning how to find a middle ground instead of gravitating towards extremes which have proven (in may life) to be destructive and have messed up my ability to be consistent. I am learning the importance of resting for my physical and more importantly my emotional & mental well being.
I would not call it a spirit of perfectionism per say. I simply find it difficult doing things without my heart in it. Half-assing things breeds resentment in me because I know I am not giving my best and if there are others involved, I find it disrespectful to them. I sometimes get frustrated with myself thinking “Ashan-wa it’s not that serious.” And this might be true but I find that experiences/encounters are more fulfilling when there is genuineness, intention and awareness behind them. What do you think? A wise philosopher, Victoria Beckham, once said “It’s only right I take care of my body because I demand so much from it.” This phrase stuck with me and switched my perspective on self-care, my body and work. Let us think about it. How can I desire to take on all these projects and challenges but the vessel that will allow me execute and make said projects a reality is in shambles? It makes no sense, right? Wow, that was so deep *pats self on the back and fans self* As a result, I have been doing this thing lately called “aggressive self-care” meaning the busier my day or week was, the more I pour into myself and take care of my body and mind… without guilt. I indulge in activities that I genuinely love without apology. Again, the same way habits are learnt overtime, they also require time to unlearn. So far so good though.
Obligatory fake-deep 2018 reflection
Moving on from the physical aspect of self care, 2018 has taught me the importance of emotional and mental self-care. You might have heard it said but it is possible to be physically astute but mentally and emotionally depleted. I found myself experiencing said phenomenon this year. I was working out, eating right, mostly sleeping well but I found myself terribly unhappy. I am very energetic but there were many days this year that I found myself waking up tired after 7-9 hours of sleep. Have you experienced this? During this period, I was not doing things I knew brought me joy and emotional fulfillment like boxing and creating meaningful work. This was unintentional on my end though because I did not realize how important said activities were to my overall happiness and productivity. I also found myself entertaining people and thoughts that had no place in my life. It took me hitting rock bottom to realize, “Ashan-wa sis, what is you doing? You’re not a home-body, you like exploring. You love boxing so why the hell are you in a fucking pilates class?” Shoutout to my pilates lovers but it is not for me. Amen. I think a big part of this was my transition from college to real-life (whatever that means) and the major difference this time was I needed to be more intentional about seeking things out for myself. In college, everything was made available in abundance and I definitely made the most of the opportunities. However, I took the overabundance of options for granted and now realize that “fun” cannot and will not fall into my laps, I need to seek it out..
In conclusion, 2018 has been a ridiculously amazing and fantastic year. To list a few, I saw Beyonce, Lana del Rey, Borns & Twin Shadow live (hair and ovaries snatched), travelled a ton, created a ton and grew a ton. Yes, it was an equally challenging year but it all worked together for my good. I would like to shift my focus to doing more things that bring me joy and right sizing the things that do not. Because in all honesty, there will always be things that I would gladly ignore into extinction if given the choice. It is what it is.
What is something you are learning to accept about yourself and how are you going about it? What is your relationship with self-care & getting shit done? I’d love to hear about it.
PS. I am high key taking donations and/or Sugar Daddy applications for sponsorship to Lady Gaga’s Enigma concert in Las Vegas next year. When I write things down, they tend to come to pass so thought I would put this down incase Santa or God wanted to come through.
Enjoy the holidays and I’ll talk to you in a bit,