Sometimes life will politely ask us to slow down. Sometimes it won't.
I woke up sweating. I’m not gonna lie. It's been some rough couple days.
Or maybe weeks?
Months. Most definitely. These have been some scratchy, rough months.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s also been some good times. It is summer in Vancouver and the city and people have been in a vibrant state of mind that comes to the surface only when the sun’s out and the warm air is around.
It has been quite hard. And I’m not here alone. That’s been the common denominator for all of us lately. A country just got erased from the map yesterday, there’s been a world-wide disease that brought the entire world to a stop, there’s been riots and big events taking place that have rippled glimpses of revolutionary change and turbulence with all those who live, breathe, think, and have a smartphone.
I moved places all by myself (of course with the help of friends, but mainly on my own), I broke someone’s heart, some other special someone broke mine, and there I was. Keeping to add more things in my plate regardless of the incapacity to add more salsa because of how full the plate already was. But stubbornly, I continued adding big chunks of unhealthy stuff AND more salsa. I kept taking on more projects, helping friends here and there, giving away my time, going on hikes and plans that came out of the blue because I was too eager to live life.
My plate was already so full. It was so full with the basic priorities: the move, school, and my wellbeing. However, due to how unable I was to put a stop to all those other things that brought me joy and enjoyment, I was never able to finish all my businesses related to those aforementioned top priorities. I was never able to go into the next thing or task because I always felt like there was an unfinished piece of shrimp or tomato in the whole plate that first needed to get done with.
Dessert never came.
I hope this poor metaphoric explanation of how my life felt in regards to food (because yes, I’m Peruvian, all we do is talk food :) has been an illustrative image to describe some of the most challenging months I’ve lived to this day in my lifetime.
Oh 2020. Shameless roulette of unpleasant lessons to embrace.
This amount of things to do reached a tipping point that consumed me in a physical, emotional and energetic way. The busyness, anxiety and overwhelm had been so intense that even my closest friend voiced something that really struck me: that I had changed. That the free spirited, care-free, high vibrational person that I was and have always been, was suddenly not living in my body anymore.
I became so overwhelmed with life, that whenever I stopped even for just a couple seconds to admire something beautiful: a sunset, a good feeling in a yoga pose, or a delicious sip of cold water in the middle of a busy day, I kept asking the universe to send me a very obvious sign. A sign of what was I needing to do to be better. To feel better. Because, hands down, I was not doing well.
And so, eventually, life sent a very clear message.
Raw, physical pain came uninvited two days ago when, after much hustle, lack of centredness & connection with myself, and way too many things to still get done, my body sent the crystal clear notification I had been asking for...
Most body-aware people tend to be highly attuned to those signals that serve as an alarm that something is wrong. Acne, break-outs, anxious thoughts, lack of organization, weight loss or weight gain, you name it.
I was getting all those red flags, and even though those signals were making me clearly realize that something was up. That something within me was not okay, my very, very stubborn self would keep saying (TOXIC POSITIVITY ALERT)
“Vannia, chill. It's okay”
“This too shall pass”
"This will be over soon"
"Tomorrow will be better"
With all those (sometimes) sick affirmations, I chose to ignore those alarming signals, be lazy about them, and dig them under the rug because I was too busy taking care of other things in my life that had to be taken care of first.
But when you dig stuff under the rug, you eventually trip over it. Then deadlines got a higher priority than my wellbeing.
And this is were I got it all wrong. I stopped honouring my own self care and love. The desperation for wanting to get things done, and hear me out: NOT HALF WAY DONE...But PERFECTLY DONE, came back to bite me in the ass. And here's a confession: I am a recovering perfectionist. Which, many out there might think is a good thing. But trust me, if you ever consider mentioning this in a work interview, STOP. JUST DON’T. Perfectionism is an ILL. And we can talk more about that some other time.
For the mindless, tornado-like Vannia, perfection was all I could strive for. By forgetting how sick and consuming this ideal actually is... funny and obviously enough, I never got to reach it, because THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS PERFECTION.
I kept fighting for this concept of unreal fulfillment that never came to materialize because it DOES NOT exist. And guess what happened when I kept fighting for this idea that didn’t exist?
Sometimes life politely asks you to slow down. And (when you don’t listen to your body) sometimes it doesn’t.
And so I fell off the stairs.Thankfully, I did not get any bones broken, but an obvious ankle damage that would get me off my feet for at least two weeks. Life finally screamed directly at my face to slow the F down.
And so I am listening now, way more clearly.
I am starting to realize that a stronger sense of boundaries, a mature enough mentality to accept that we are human, that we can’t do it all at the same time, and that we have limitations, IS OKAY!!!
This unfortunate happening has brought me back to a space of admiring my own limitations with a sense of humbled hope. It has made me realize that, yes. I DID need my friends' help, that I really wished my mom was here to help me with all this mess, that all those tears of overwhelm and desperation in between phone calls should have been the red flags that I NEEDED to take a step back.
Now, I can more maturely realize that if I want to do it all, I will. Because, at the end of the day, we are the ones who set our own limitations.
But first, PLAN AHEAD.
When we become an adult, “winging it”, as you can see with this story, can come at a very high price: loosing yourself in the process.
Life will not stop. Life will continue to be busy and deadlines will continue to bounce, but at least now I have a doctor’s note and stronger sense of boundaries.
May we all honour ourselves, find peace, balance and a stronger sense of boundaries to respect and prioritize our wellness in the face of the turbulent world we live in.
And don't forget to have some dessert today ;)