I once read an article about this first-time mom who delivered her first child, which is totally awesome and everything. She also packed her going-home bag, which is important, obviously, and in it she packed: her pre-pregnancy jeans.
She kind of just expected for things to “go back to normal,” you know? Like, okay, baby is out, let’s get these jeans on again!
Too bad life doesn’t work that way.
I mean, yeah, probably she’ll be able to fit into them again one day, but…the day the baby comes out? Less likely. Nearly impossible.
This is how I feel right now.
It’s been a very long summer. I’ve been working on a series of projects that have been hard and stressful and near-relentless. There was one one-day event that hosted 300 people and 5 sites. There was an application that was TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-THREE PAGES long, which I wrote and designed that is being submitted TO THE POPE, hello, tell my perfectionist-y little brain that that’s something I don’t need to worry about too much (COUGH), plus this really long ten-day event at the church that required so much coordination of choirs/ priests/ bishops/ visiting youth and young adult groups/ ugh.
And here I am, wanting to put the pre-pregnancy pants on. Wondering to myself why the crap they don’t fit/ why things aren’t normal?
It’s because I’m tired. It’s because I’m really, really drained. It’s because I kind of forgot what fuels me, in this breakneck process.
And I’ll be like, “But then I took a weekend off? I’m surprised I don’t feel better?”
As if one workout video is going to make the pre-pregnancy jeans fit once again.
They won’t. I can’t.
Luckily I have a few friends who were good enough to be like, “Why don’t you do the things you love, again? Why don’t you worry only about yourself? Why don’t you make yourself your first priority and stop worrying about the pressures your family and community keep putting on you?”
I had to make a list. I had to think, “What is good for me, again? How do I do this? How do I recover?”
My therapist was like, “Do you remember what you love? I can help, if you forgot.”
And I was like, “Well, I made this one list…” and I read it to her and she was like, “So do those things.”
And I started last week, and rode a train out to Chicago so I could go to my favorite places and try to be a human again.
And I felt that rush of packing and worrying if I forgot anything. And I walked through the city until I was filthy and exhausted. I ate food, met people, talked to friends. On the bus ride home…I wrote a play. Well, first draft, anyway. (A play that will maybe never be directed or produced. Is it weird to make art only for yourself? Is art allowed to be that way? I think so, right? Just, like, me and an audience of my guardian angel.)
And I wanted things to be normal once I got home.
And they’re still not, by golly.
So I’m kind of taking things one day at a time. Trying to be intentional on getting back on track. Trying to be honest about what I need, what’s too much, what needs to be more. I’m trying to be super careful about not overdoing things and what not.
Part of me wants everything to be normal again. But, I also need to remind myself: big things like this sometimes take time. Maybe one day I’ll fit in the proverbial pants again. Maybe I never will. Only time will tell. And here I am, taking that time, trying to figure that out.