What if I gave myself time?
What if I said that I deserved it? That the me time I give myself now makes the us and the you and the we time better, stronger, dare I say it, happier?
When I first started teaching, my department head told me that I shouldn’t be involved in theater. I shouldn’t be doing other things that took my attention away from my job. I should be at school working, grading, prepping every day until 5 or later. Anything else could come when I was a veteran teacher. I looked at her like she was crazy. Acting in plays made me tired…yes. But acting in plays made me ME. It energized me. It allowed me to come into class the next day, excited to teach and eager to act. All of my senses were activated by the fullness of my life. My brain and heart worked in tandem. I was at my best.
I don’t act anymore (well not on stage. We all play our roles all the time don’t we?). I have small children, and any extra time belongs to them. So where is the me in my day these days?
It is in the teaching, of course. I could never be less than myself with the teenagers who fill my classroom. They would see right through it and rebel. So I am silly, and tangential, and forceful with my expectations, and loud. I am always loud.
It is in the mothering of course. I am laughter, and concern and joyful at their growth. I am silliness and tickles and hugs.
But sometimes I am tired. Sometimes with all of the being me for other people, I forget to be me for myself. Instead of the run that I know will fill me up with energy, and confidence, and spirit, sometimes I just collapse (oftener than not) on the sofa in front of the television and stare. I am paralysis, frustration, and stress. I have given too much away and left myself with…emptiness.
So, what if I gave myself time? What if I said that two days a week, or three (gasp), I would give myself an hour and a half. I would not grade. I would not plan. I would not clean or launder. I would read. I would run. I would write. I would spend some time remembering who I am apart from my job, and my mothering.
Wouldn’t everything be stronger for it?