The dizziness comes on me like a wave. I’m burning up, and I want nothing more than to rip off my heavily beaded costume and find a cool, dark place to hide. When the show ends, I make it as far as the hallway backstage before collapsing on a chair, willing the world to stop spinning, stop pressing on me, just stop. I pray the dizziness will pass before I vomit on my kind cast mates, who stop to ask me if I’m okay.
And, I am okay.
But, my body has cruelly decided to remind me that I have limits.
I don’t believe in limits. I want to believe that anything is possible. I don’t want to say no even though I know that there are only so many things a person can say yes to.
The last few months I’ve packed my days with show rehearsals, jewelry classes, singing lessons, improv meetups, and blog posts. It felt fantastic to bounce from one activity to another, to look at my calendar and see so many spots filled. Then, it all became overwhelming.
I leave jewelry class early. I put off singing lessons. I stop going to improv. But, the free space I try to create only becomes filled with something else. There is always something else I want to do.
Sleep is elusive as is my appetite. My mind races with thoughts out of control, and I can’t keep up. My to-do list grows while my energy wanes. But, I refuse to admit that I need to slow down. There’s a show to prep for and new friends to make.
FOMO takes over, and I ignore the warning signs my body has been sending me for weeks.
“Slow down,” my aching muscles cry.
“Stop,” screams my overactive brain.
But, I won’t stop. I can’t stop. So, my body makes me.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with vasovagal syncope, which for most people means fainting. My body prefers the slow shutdown. First comes the crushing dizziness, then the inability to stand or walk, and finally, extreme light sensitivity. It can last 15 minutes or a couple of hours. While the episodes don’t happen often, they are frightening when they do.
As sit in the hallway after curtain call willing the episode to pass quickly, I know that I have once again pushed myself too far.
Pinterest loves to tell us that we all have the same 24 hours in a day like Beyonce. We should all be Beyonce, the whimsically designed pins imply.
Put-downs disguised as inspiration flood social media every day and reinforce the fear we are all prone to - the fear of missing out. Click To Tweet
I recently discovered The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino. In this brilliant article, Christine discusses what it’s like to live with Lupus. When I read her article, I felt like I had finally stumbled across someone who understands that our days are not equal. We all may have the same 24 hours, but we were not all given the same number of spoons (energy) to get through the day.
Maybe you’re a high energy person with an unlimited number of spoons, and you really can do it all. But, most people aren’t like that. We berate ourselves for being unproductive while ignoring the fact that life is about making choices and setting priorities.
All I want is everything – to do it all, to be invincible – but life doesn’t work that way.
So, you have to love yourself where you’re at.
That night, a neighbor had to drive me home, and instead of going to a cast party I had been looking forward to, I crawled into bed and slept.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post, you might like Life Comes in Seasons.
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