Tag Archives: life

All Work and No Play

11 Oct

… makes me an uninspired, uncreative, dull, dull, dull girl.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad I have a job. Maybe even lucky. But lately, my job has left me completely drained – of energy, of time, of creativity, of inspiration. Every day, I go to office, put in eight hours (sometimes more) of my time, my energy, my talents, my heart, my mind, my LIFE.  And at the end of the day, I feel I am left with nothing but fatigue and frustration.  I have nothing left for God, for my husband, my friends, my family, even myself.

I know that part of the problem is my own perfectionism. It kills me to have to deal with mediocrity. (And that can almost be taken in a literal sense, as my intensely high daily stress level surely is doing nothing good for my health.) But every day, mediocrity is what I deal with. On top of that, the people I am surrounded with don’t seem to even notice it. So, every day, I take it upon myself to “cure” us (by us, I mean the media company I work for) of mediocrity. And I’ve realized that I CANNOT do that anymore. I can’t take it upon myself to “fix” everything. I just can’t.

I need balance. I need ME back. When I leave work, I need to LEAVE work. No more taking work home every weekend. No more stressing out during my vacation time and being unable to RELAX because I’m worried about this project, or that impossible deadline, or this article that I need to finish and to perfect. No more skipping workouts or turning down social invitations because I’m exhausted, because I’ve spent too much of myself on work, work, work. No more. I’m done. Done.

Well, until the next time I lose sight or my priorities and lose myself again. Help keep me accountable, will you?

Oprah: Inside the Lives of America’s Poor

17 Aug

*I saw myself on Oprah yesterday. Well, I saw the self that I try to forget about, the part of me that I hide and pretend never existed even though I don’t think I can ever forget it did. I saw the part of me that few people even know about, the part of me that most people are somewhat shocked to hear about when I do actually tell them. It is the part of me that I am more likely to share with total strangers than with those people whom I consider friends or even acquaintances.

When I left home to go to college, I started over. I made a new life for myself, a life that most would consider “normal,” middle-class. But the fact of the matter is that I grew up poor, always on the brink of and most of the time below the national poverty line, below the Mississippi poverty line. There were times that I didn’t know it because my mom worked so hard to give her children a “normal” life, but there were also times when I knew the reality of it all too well. Times when I was afraid of what might happen to my family, when I worried about where we would live or how we would pay for things. I knew what it felt like to get free lunch at school and to have a classmate see my mom use food stamps in the grocery line, to wear clothes that did not originally belong to me, hand-me-downs from older peers, and to be pointed out as different, as not good enough, as a poor kid, to be called “white trash” by classmates.

I saw myself on Oprah yesterday, but I also saw other children who have worse lives than I ever did, even at the lowest point. I also saw my mom, a single mom who worked three or four jobs, who deprived herself to give to her children, who knew that there were others worse off and didn’t hesitate to help them. Some people looked down on her and judged her, but I know she did the best that she could with what she was given. My mom sacrificed herself to give her children what they needed to break the cycle and live a better life. I know I had it better than so many other kids, but I had it worse than almost all of the kids that I knew.

For many years, I have lived with both shame and guilt. Shame because at a young age I was taught that I wasn’t good enough, that other people were better than me. Shame because our society associates poverty with some sort of moral or mental decay, or just plain laziness. Shame because our society believes that people live like that because they want to or because they deserve it. I feel guilt because sometimes I buy into that erroneous belief. Guilt because I hide a part of myself that has shaped me into the person that I am now. Guilt because I sometimes pretend to be someone that I am not. I also feel guilt for wanting more and for having more for my life. Guilt for moving ahead while others are left behind. Guilt because I sometimes feel like I don’t deserve the life that I have now because I lived the life that I did then.

What makes me special? What makes me different from other children who are caught in the cycle and can’t get out of it? I know I’m not that different. I was blessed with an extended family that helped out when we needed it without seeing us as a “charity case.” I was blessed with school teachers and church leaders who helped give me the skills and the confidence and the hope that I needed in order to break the cycle. I was different, I am different, because I had hope, because I believed that I could rise above it even though everything in my life told me I couldn’t.

I don’t want to hide myself, or parts of myself, anymore. I don’t want to feel shame or guilt anymore. I just want to be. And I want to give others that same hope that is so desperately needed and so rarely seen inside the lives of America’s poor.

*This post was originally published on March 23, 2006 to my old Xanga blog. I am re-posting it here to continue the discussion over on Living Oprah.

** On another note, I would love to be able to import that blog to this one, but I have no idea how. Does anyone know how to do that?

Ducks in a Row

16 Jun

This one from Kris Carr could apply to anybody:

So often we wait for all our ducks to be in a row, our closets to be neat and tidy, and our endless to-do lists to be checked off before we allow ourselves to have fun. We believe that only after we get all our “stuff” done can we take a deep breath and live.

Well, cancer doesn’t wait for order. In fact, it thrives on chaos. Breathe now. Burn the lists and let the dust bunnies roll like tumbleweeds. Narrow your focus to what really matters: you. Cancer is unknown territory. Will life ever be the same? I hate to burst your bubble, but no. Can you still drink wine? Maybe. Dance on tables? Yes. Go on vacation? Absolutely. Be “normal”? Why would you want to be that? ~ Kris Carr, Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips

I struggle with this to-do list problem continually. I feel like I can’t go out, read a book, call a friend, write a poem, do anything until the dishes are clean and the clothes are folded and the mail is sorted and … . All it ever does for me is cause stress and anxiety. Lately, I’ve been making a concentrated effort to shift my focus from all the chores of life to its abundant opportunities. Carpe diem, right? Or is collige virgo rosas more appropriate?

Related:

Anne Thompson and Dr. Death

Things to Do in 2008

On Self-Pity

Today

8 Mar

Today is one of those days that is just blah.  I have been totally unproductive, and I feel a little guilty about it.  I know that sometimes you just need to take a break and do nothing, especially after the kind of week that I had this past week, but I find that I have a really, really hard time doing that.  It’s hard to just rest. 

I’ve had a lot of blah days recently (and a lot of stressful days), and I’m ready for a change.  That’s all.  I yearn for spring.