Sometimes I have a hard time resting.
I was never allowed to rest when I was a kid, and remember wishing I would become horribly sick just so I could rest (because if I wasn’t running a fever or vomiting, I could still totally do shit), which means that as an adult, unless I’m physically debilitated, I generally don’t really…rest.
Because rest was lazy and laziness was the epitome of evil. If I was caught taking a break or a breather outside of the 90-minute “free time” window that I had, I was assigned something to do.
I know what it feels like to be headed toward burnout, because all I can think about is “I need to stop. I need to take a break. I need to sleep for days. I need to just shut my mind off for a little while, and then I can get back to it.”
But doing that….is really hard.
If I rest for more than a day when I need to, I’m instantly plagued by just… a lot of guilt.
All of the voices from my childhood come back, thundering: You’re being lazy. You’re doing nothing. You can’t just sit around and do nothing like those lazy people. You have to work. You’re like those people who burden society. You’re not working. You’ve had your 10 minute break, now go get shit done and stop being selfish and irresponsible.
My parents spent a lot of time shitting on people they thought were lazy. Which is why they worked us like slaves while my mom sat in her chair being pregnant.
We were never allowed to rest because resting was lazy, irresponsible, and selfish, and according to mom “in the ‘real world’, you don’t get to”.
So, I worked through abscesses, I worked through periods without ibuprofen, I worked through colds and other not-flu illnesses, I worked through general soreness from being jumped on.
The two times I remember feeling cared for were when I was sick and too young to be able to do anything else. I had the chicken pox and got an oatmeal bath, and the other time, I had the flu and mom bought me a coloring book and rubbed my feet and then let me be by myself to color and sleep.
I have a really giant mental wall that creates itself when I need to take a break and rest and I’m not also violently ill.
It’s almost painful, sometimes, because I know I could relieve the guilt by quitting my mini-cation (which I called blanket burrito con this morning) and getting back to work, and doing all the things instead of forcing myself to just do nothing and try to be okay with letting my brain be quiet (and getting it to be quiet).
I can manage to not do anything during the day, but then while I’m sleeping I get stressed out – almost like I expect to be in trouble the next morning for having done nothing. I wake up exhausted and guilty (because I slept, I slept late, and I haven’t done anything, but…) because of this phantom of disapproval, this overwhelming sense of innate evil in the form of laziness, because everyone but myself deserves to be taken care of.
I know it’s bullshit.
I know, I know, I know it’s bullshit.
But it’s still hard (so I’ve been doing little things that help).
I’m gonna go back and snuggle in my blanket burrito now, maybe tomorrow I’ll have yellow or green nails.