*This is a re-post.
This time I’m headed to a farm with a bunch of friends to make theatre. Even though it’s my job it still feels luxuriously wrong. So, I’m reminding myself (and you) with this re -post; in this last week of summer before the shit hits the fan and the leaves start falling- to make myself go fucking relax. Please read on…
…I’m headed out to facilitate a woman’s retreat in Hawaii for a week. Basically, it’s a bunch of friends doing yoga, going deep, swimming with turtles, feeling our feelings, working on our tans and eating organic food pulled fresh straight the garden that morning.
My favourite part is that there are side by side outdoor claw foot bathtubs, so you can lie under the tropical stars with a friend, waxing poetic about life as the palm fronds wave above.
Sounds amazing right?
Except in the weeks leading up to this adventure I lie in bed and writhe with anxiety about going. I’m panicking and I can’t take a deep breath.
1. Because I have a 9 month old kid. (What kind of monster leaves their baby?)
2. Also, I don’t deserve it.
3. Also, life is hard, so this trip doesn’t make sense.
4. Also, my family might die while I’m away from them.
5. Also, how dare I imagine being so carefree?
6. Also, I’m selfish.
These are the thoughts keeping me up, staring at the ceiling at night.
So I go to my therapist to talk about it and she gets me to do something really weird.
She takes 6 scarves and for each dark thought I have, and one at a time, she drapes the fears over my shoulders and head.
Soon, I can’t see from underneath the fabric, it’s hard to breathe. My chest constricts.
She asks me what my body wants to do.
I drop to the ground and roll up in a tiny ball.
“It’s too much work” I say. “I shouldn’t go.”
“And now what?” she says.
“It sucks under here, my face is sweating.”
I stick out a leg to catch some air “the fabric stinks. I’m bored.”
I sit up and 3 of the scarves fall off my head onto my shoulders. That’s much better. The weight is less and I can take a deeper breath.
“Fuck this, I want to get on that plane” I say.
“Okay” she says “why?”
“Because it takes discipline to let yourself feel good. It’s a fucking full time job keeping your head above water. It’s easy to stay at home and know that I don’t deserve pleasure- it’s much harder to stand up and fight for it.”
I pull a scarf off.
“I know this is totally obnoxious and I’m lucky to be having this problem- but I will not disregard my longing- with shame. Every single motherfucker on the planet deserves to feel good and if I actually get to, I will not waste my time indulging guilt…”
She tries to interject but I keep going.
“…And if I was talking to a friend, I would tell her “Remembering joy is your job. Lightening up takes rigor and don’t forget, you are fighting for a lot.”
Another scarf falls off.
“I’m going to work this week, the deadline is called “chilling out” and it’s a motherfucking full time contract.”
And another one drops. I can see through the gauze now.
“Motherfucker, to do what I love and be a mom is radical feminist act.”
Now I stand up.
“Because life is hard and it’s also so, so easy.”
And the monologue comes to a climax.
“It’s important, crucial actually, that once a year, although it’s not good timing and I could save the money to fill a cavity, and my family needs me- to get the fuck out of town.
It’s really stressful being generous with yourself isn’t it? It feels impossible sometimes. It’s so anti-culture I’d call the act- revolutionary.
I’m writing this from the plane.
Don’t hate me. Join me.