black women hand on forehead

Letters From Mack: It’s Okay To Be Tired

Y’all, I’ve been really frustrated for the last several months. My life is a little bit complicated in that my time is very divided. I’m trying to be a good wife and bonus mom, help my husband at church, and run with this vision in its many forms. While working 45-50 hours a week. I’ve always been blessed (and plagued) with big ol’ ideas. But these days, the ideas are bigger than what my mind and body will let me do. My HEART is bigger than I have the capacity to do.

I. AM. SO. TIRED. And I’ll admit I get mad about it sometimes. Mad at life, mad at my job, mad at myself. I start the week with a well-constructed plan. I have to because my time is too limited and too precious to be used unwisely. So, I start each day anew, optimistic about all the things on my to-do list I will accomplish. I spend most of the day trying to quiet the excitement in my mind about all the ideas I’ll bring to light and the investments I’ll make. (I promise, it’s like nonstop hamsters on a wheel, but I digress.) By the time I get the opportunity to do the things that give my life joy and purpose at the end of a day or on the weekend, I’m a walking vegetable. And it aggravates me to no end.

The Treadmill of Lies – I Mean, Life

This week, I’m designing our third Keep the Fire Burning Event. I started working on it last year, but as the date approaches, things are getting real. I’m having a blast finishing the concept of the event, working on the DIYs, and learning new music. The closer it gets the more distracted I am by my own excitement. I usually find myself working down to the wire on seemingly simple things, so I’m trying to break the project into manageable tasks. But my week has been fraught with disappointment about the goals I’ve been unable to meet. It frustrates me to have people cross my mind during the day and literally not have the capacity to connect with them meaningfully later. (Sidebar: Friends and family, don’t EVER think I’m not thinking about you, just because you don’t hear from me.) Or even the meals I’ve missed cooking. Each day, the steam leaves my body and mind before my will does.

I hate letting other people down, and I hate letting myself down. I have caught myself so many times being upset with life, people, and ultimately upset with myself. I’ll be honest, when I am too burned out to do the things that actually bring me joy, I feel robbed.

I realize that I’ve been programmed this way. We are generally programmed to believe that if we aren’t doing something, we are lazy. It’s not okay to say you’re tired. It’s not okay to leave things undone for other people in favor of repairing yourself. I think this is especially true for women of color. Our communities don’t really recognize rest as a valuable activity. Furthermore, our value in the world around us is dictated by how many hours we can work, how many children we can rear, and how much suffering we can endure. Noble though it may be, it’s hard to ignore some of the foolery in that ideology when we see the evidence in the form of damaged, depressed, war-torn human beings.

A New Day, A New Way

I had an epiphany yesterday:

IT IS OKAY TO BE TIRED. I’ll say it again for the person deep down inside me: it’s okay to be tired. And it’s okay to be honest about being tired. I realized that my heart interprets the word “tired” as lazy. And it’s completely unfair. It’s unhealthy for me to penalize myself for the things I cannot change right now, and the effects they have on my wellness. Let’s peel back another layer: it’s unproductive for me to be upset at myself for not successfully being able to change those things, when I know I’m doing all I can. That buck stops here.

What IS healthy is accepting when I’m too tired to go on, and getting some rest. What I can do is continue to work toward eradicating the leaks and leeches in my life that steal my energy to repair myself – and ultimately, the people around me. I will let my anger be productive in that regard. I know that this season in my life is temporary and I accept where I am. Does that mean I’ll quit trying to fulfilling my purpose and my life? NO!! But I am done feeling guilty for listening to my inner self every once in a while. I wish all of you guilt-free restoration in 2020.

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