Something snapped today.
I have known for a while that I might break. I’ve been wound too tight for too long without much opportunity for relief. And I know what you’re thinking: sexual relief *giggle*. And while I will get to that in a minute, I mean some actual soul-level relief.
I work in a highly stressful job. Stressful and immensely rewarding. Intuitively it seems like it should balance out, but it really doesn’t. There is a price to be paid for being positive and hopeful and optimistic in the face of overwhelming disparity, trauma, and hardship. And I have been paying that price for much longer than I’ve had this job.
It won’t surprise you that I care about caring. I care about virtually everyone I meet. A kid walking down the hallway who trips over his shoelaces–I care about him. An old friend from HS who is having marriage problems–I care about her. A celebrity’s family after a tragic accident or loss–I care about them. I don’t know these people, but I expend heart energy for them. My personal avatar should be a Care Bear.
Like I said, it comes at a price. A price that’s paid in missed lunches, 14 hour days, answering 1 am emails from clients about to commit suicide. A price that’s paid with 3 hours of sleep, books unread, bills forgotten. (And let me tell you, Discover Card doesn’t accept your caring as payment, I’ve tried.) I don’t see my kids as often as I would like. I overthink Sex–not really enjoying my body or play to the extent I would like. I don’t write the book I need to write. I am afraid of my voicemail and rationalize going in on a Sunday evening.
I knew I was headed to burnout–no time for a massage, belly dance class, yoga or a date. No time for pedicures, classes or concerts. Turning down dinners with friends, flaking on dates, my house a complete wreck.
But I’m stubborn, so stubborn. I had a fistful of faith and arrogance the size of a modest mountain. I never thought it would happen–i am fucking invincible.
Something snapped today.
Maybe it was the client I will always regret disappointing or the one whose arms were flying all around as he spoke. Maybe it was multiple calls from supervisors. Oh maybe it was the clutter in the office–reminders of how much responsibility is on my shoulders. By the time I finished this 14 hour day, I wouldn’t have called it my worst day.
And it snapped.
I could feel it in my chest. The chest pains that went away so many years ago came back worse than I’ve ever experienced it. Like a crack being torn apart in my ribcage, I couldn’t breathe. My normal techniques not working. The panic took hold and the hyperventilating started.
Husband held me, rubbed my back and calmed me down. That moment of not just vulnerability, but one of humiliating truth–today was the day that burnout had set in.
I thought back to my trip to Pennsylvania, a birthday gift for myself. Meeting up with two of my favorite men: one who has devoted himself to me – his Goddess, the other who cherishes me as his Princess. Words can’t yet describe the healing that occurred during that trip, but I felt myself return. I started enjoying my body as precious and sacred. I started seeking dominance and submission again–or rather the acts of worship and surrender. I felt tall and beautiful and sacred again.
But no matter how much confidence I recovered, it wasn’t going to make my job easier. It wouldn’t stop my clients from worrying nor stop me from absorbing that worry. It wouldn’t stop the trauma flowing in and out of my door, but it would bog it down in my own guilt. No matter what I gained from that trip, it wasn’t going to change a toxic relationship I have with my work.
I had glimpsed myself as the woman I want to be during that trip: loved, desired, beautiful, independent, bright, kind and devastatingly sensuous and sultry. Once you see that mirror, you can’t ever unsee it. If anything the trip started shining a light on all the flaws of how I’ve been living my life the past 8 years: caged and contained, calculating and cold.
I love my work. I love my job. I love my bosses. They aren’t the problem.
The problem is–deservingness. I’m going to be talking about it all year. See–I don’t eat during the day because i didn’t do enough to earn it. I don’t go to sleep on time because I have to wring out every last drop of productivity to prove myself. I don’t speak up about my needs because I haven’t earned the right to ask. I don’t expect people to want to date me because my body, my face, my accomplishments haven’t earned me that recognition.
What the fuck, Janet?
No wonder I am burned out.
As I sit here recovering from this worst day ever, I can’t commit to doing anything about it except going to a game night with Husband’s best friend and their family. And Thursday I’ll see Blush and do a ritual with my witchy girls. Friday is 420 friendly yoga and maybe a soak at the hot springs. And maybe somewhere in there, I’ll play and write and orgasm. But I won’t plan–the recovery needs to include some delicious instances of impulsivity, passion and above all, some fucking release.
The tension has snapped, the bottom has fallen out and all I can really do now is slow down and take baby steps toward a more peaceful existence and a less toxic relationship with deservingness.