I have a lot of them. I expect a lot from everything and everyone, particularly myself.
Y’all. It’s a pan-freaking-demic. And that doesn’t even cover HALF of it. Aside from being in a helping profession that’s part of the systemic problems I am somehow tasked to help my clients overcome, I just came off of 2 ½ days without power during freezing temperatures this part of the country isn’t built for. Oh, followed by 3 days of no running water. Did I mention the impassable roads because we lack salt and snowplows? I’m not even going to complain about boiling my water because it beats gathering snow and rain barrel water for the toilet. Homesteaders, off-the-grid’ers, people living in cars or on the streets, and others who live tougher lives than I do – I respect you so much.
This is all to say that the bar I had set for myself probably needed some major readjustments…and that was BEFORE the kickstart of things in 2020.
When a friend posted this, I laughed for a solid 10-15 seconds. Like, check yourself in the mirror because this might finally be the moment that you morph into the Joker kind of laughter.
It hit so close to home.
I have been working really hard on something for the past 2 years and I think I will be working on it until the day I die: Not seeing rest and relaxation as being ‘lazy’. When I started to pay attention to it, I realized I was using that word a lot. “That’s lazy!” “Don’t be lazy!” “I’m so lazy!”
As a psychologist, it goes without saying that I firmly believe in the power of words. Think about it:
I am going to rest / relax. Take a break. Take care of myself.
I am going to be lazy. Do nothing. Be a waste of space.
In our common vernacular, they are synonymous. But damn, one of those packs a hell of a punch, particularly when you look at it through a cultural emphasis on capitalistic efficiency and production.
Naturally, I have psychoanalyzed myself on this. While I do believe the cultural context cannot be ignored as a part of how all Americans are pushed to view achievement as the ultimate measure of a person’s value (not to mention our technological world’s insistence on us being available and entertaining to others 24/7), I also recognize my own role in this. See, I have a bad habit of believing that putting in anything less than 100% is dishonest. Reaching one’s full potential is something I truly value, so anything less than giving your all runs counter to my very being. While this makes me a reliably hard worker, it can also make me a TERRIBLE loser and an even worse relaxer.
Never fear, my dear parents! I know COVID has given you major cabin fever, but before you strap on those masks and head outside to take yourself on a long and arduous guilt trip of how you “ruined your child’s life” (you know who you are), I love my work ethic and my passion to always be living and learning that I assume came from you. These are great values that were instilled in me. It has made me a thinker, a problem solver, a creator. But you know what? Your greatest strengths tend to be your greatest weaknesses. What can ya do.
Proof in the Fictional Character Pudding
Just so you know, it is taking all of my willpower not to continue with my comic nerd references to expand on this point. Ah screw it, you knew the risks going into this.
BATMAN! The great analyzer and strategizer who uses his trauma to drive himself to achieve at a level thought humanly impossible – traits that isolate him from the very people who can help him succeed and mend his emotional wounds.
SUPERMAN! Being from Krypton gives him awesome powers when he takes in the sun’s rays – just gotta ignore the pesky green bits of his former planet if he doesn’t want to die.
HARLEY QUINN! I just read the Black Label comic about her desire to understand and heal supervillains – which leads her down a path to her own villainism.
Marvel fans don’t get offended, I love your characters, too. Batman just happens to be my one, true love.
Knowing my tendency to set my expectations high is a big part of why I didn’t want to start this blog. I knew I’d go in whole hog. I didn’t want to feel guilty for not keeping up with it. Perhaps more than that, I didn’t want to start something “for no reason”. But, in the wise words of myself earlier in this blog, ah screw it. This blog is one of the ways I am trying to practice lowering my expectations. (Ugh, even saying that makes me cringe a little.) But I don’t need to post every week. I don’t need to make this blog into something practical or productive. It just needs to be something I want to do. In other words, congratulations on being a guinea pig in my lowering of the bar.