The Power in the Pause
This essay is about getting off the hamster wheel and breaking the mold.
As you begin, please put on this song.
As a 21 year old, I spent my time researching doctors, going to doctors, talking to health insurance, piecing together different doctor opinions; I tried over 10 different kinds of strict diets, probably close to 100 different kinds of medicines and supplements and therapies; and tried what felt like every kind of holistic approach (saunas, acupuncture, energy work, etc). At one point I traveled to Switzerland and would get daily IV’s, shots, and in different therapies from 8am - 4pm. During this time, my friends were in their ripe time of senior year of college. I would wake up to Snapchats and Instagram posts of dressing up for parties before I headed to doctor's appointment. I never complained - because - that is not in my nature and I knew there was nothing anyone could do about it except for me continuing to try and heal.
This past year when I have been experiencing the thing I was so, so desperate to get - I have felt this pressure to do more. It felt like I was in this prisoner of poor health for years; and now - I want to do whatever the f*^% I want to do, when I want to do. I have put a lot of pressure on myself to figure out the next thing: earning a full-time income from a creative business.
Oftentimes it feels easier to trudge forward with what society deems as acceptable and what seems presentable to the outside world. When I look back on the kind of pressure I put on myself to "keep going" and to always look like I was doing okay to the world around me when I was dealing with illness, my heart softens for her. Here are some reminders if you are going through it:
You cannot overestimate the amount of energy it takes to heal from recovering from an illness, a trauma, a transition, grief, and many other life experiences. It’s not a linear process, and oftentimes we think it “should be easier” than it really is. I can’t even put into words the energy it takes - I know that healing takes up 95% of your headspace - it’s all you can ever think about and work towards - and you lose sight and touch with the things that you would *like* to be able to spend your time and energy on. An added adversity to the healing process is that it’s invisible to the world around you, and oftentimes, many people can’t understand unless they have gone through something similar themselves. With that combination of things, it’s easy to question yourself, feel “too soft,” and feel let down in not being able to do what you want to be able to do.
Oftentimes we see someone else going through a hard time and we say, “omg! Take a break!” But when it comes to ourselves, we don’t always have the same grace.
- It's okay to not know where you are going to be 6 months from now. It's okay to not be able to describe what you are doing to the world around you. It's okay to take a break.
Taking a break, breaking the mold, and doing something for yourself is scary because it can feel like admitting to the outside world that you’re not okay; that something is “wrong.” But, to me, when I see people pause in their life; break the mold of what they think they should be doing; get off the hamster wheel of life; whether that is one week, one month, or one year - my heart explodes for them. I I feel a deep admiration and love for them (even if I don’t know them that well), because I know the bold self-love that it requires to do.
Use seemingly uncomfortable emotions as guides to what your body is asking for; Please don’t ignore the emotions and things that are screaming for your attention. Your feelings and symptoms are real.
You don’t have to go through trauma in order to give yourself grace in a pause, a re-route, or to make a change in your life.
You do not have to “stop everything” in order to make life easier for yourself; you don’t have to uproot your entire life in order to feel more peace; there are ways to make it easier for yourself right now, right here.
Begin in bold, small ways...
- Catch your breath and find power in the pause.