Sunday, June 25, 2017

Not A Priority

I'm a bit of a productivity addict. I've had to teach myself not to view every moment in terms of "productive or not," and that sometimes (usually? I still need help with this) simply being is the most beautiful thing. My desire for constant productivity paired with being way too busy all the time means I often utter the phrase, "I don't have time for fill-in-the-blank."

No time.

There's never enough time.

So I keep not sleeping enough and obsessing over my schedule and not making time for myself. Which is code for not making time to actually sit with my emotions and feel them, but that's for another blog post.

As a productivity addict who never has enough time, it shouldn't be surprising that when I see articles about time management and fixing the never-has-enough-time trap, I read them eagerly and with great hopes that they will hold the thing I've never heard before that will change everything.

A few months ago I read an article about changing our language from "I don't have enough time" to "such-and-such isn't a priority." "I don't have time to sleep" becomes "sleep is not a priority." "I don't have time to meal prep" becomes "meal prepping is not a priority," and so on.

I wrote the phrase down on a sticky note and taped it to my desk. There it has sat for months, the edges of the faded pink note are frayed, ink worn light from my hand grazing over it day after day.

Last weekend and weekend I broke. I shared a blog post about reaching my limit. Realizing my current feeling of being too stressed, overwhelmed, and emptied to continue giving and doing was no new feeling but instead a constant pattern of going and giving and doing until I've been running with the Empty Light on so long I finally break down.

Feeling so stressed and overwhelmed led me to to have numerous conversations with close, old, and new friends and all of them said similar things. I needed to make more time for myself, take care of myself, say no to a few things, take action steps instead of constantly talking about how I'm tired and overwhelmed and feel trapped and don't know how to fix it.

And do you know what my response was to being told to take better care of myself, sleep more, take personal time, and actually practice self care? "I don't have time."

Then I got to my desk on Monday morning and saw my little note. And for once those inspirational, how-to-be-successful articles actually worked because I saw something I'd never seen before.

I filled the little blank in on that faded pink sticky note with my own name and now it read:

"Katy is not a priority."

"Self care is not a priority."

"Loving myself is not a priority."

"Taking care of myself is not a priority."

I don't know if I've ever been a priority to myself. I was deemed the "second parent" at a very young age, and with five younger siblings and a deep Need To Be Needed I leaned into that role. Afraid that if I prioritized my own needs I would be saying I mattered more than someone else, and since Good Christians aren't selfish I tried to Love Like Christ, which I interpreted to mean I couldn't need anything and should constantly lay down my life for others. I think somewhere deep inside I wanted to be a martyr to justify my existence. I was afraid that if I asked for what I needed (let's be honest this is still a fear) I would be rejected because my needs were not as important as the needs of those around me, or rejected because they didn't matter enough to the person I was asking them of, or that I wouldn't be wanted anymore because all I was good for was Giving and Serving and Helping.

I've never been a priority. But it's time for that to change. Which means it is time for me to make that change for myself. I matter. My life matters. My needs matter. Self care matters.

And I can ask for help.

1 comment: