And so today’s moment of happiness despite the news.
I’ve started working with a new massage therapist. His focus on me is split – relaxation and convincing my hips to loosen up and let go of the pain. This means that I spend half the massage wondering why I have to battle my own body, and the other half in total bliss.
Today, the massage therapist also sprung a floodgate.
At the very beginning, as he worked on the back of my head and I faced the ceiling, he said, “How was your holiday weekend?”
My holiday weekend was missing the word holiday. I closed my eyes tightly.
Then later, when I was on my stomach, he pressed down on a spot between my shoulderblades where I tend to carry stress. And the next thing I knew, I was soaking the little doughnut face pillow with tears. Frustration, stress, sadness, self-anger – you name it, it was there.
I took on a project this weekend that I never should have. It was a project that would normally take me, sandwiched into my usual schedule, at least a month to accomplish. I edited a client’s 400-and-change page novel in two days. There was no holiday. And now, my regularly scheduled program is so far behind, I swear I can see the underside of last April.
Why did I do this?
Because I’d seen this project right from its start and I wanted to see it through to the end. Because I love this client and all my clients and students. They’re family. Because I wanted to make damn sure it was done right. Because I have played the part of Superwoman now for at least 21 years, keeping incredible work hours, raising a family, writing my own stories and books (and having them published and doing the required promoting), raising a business, and growing very used to people saying, “I don’t know how you do everything you do,” and wanting to keep that bar up high. Because I had years and years of some influential people in my life telling me I was lazy and I never was, but I harbor a very deep fear that maybe they were right. I have to keep proving them wrong. And…because I have a terrible inability to say No.
So again…why did I do this?
Because I love my students and my clients. Because I want them to love me. Because I love my family. Because I want them to love me. Because I love my readers. Because I want them to love me.
Because I want to be loved by the whole freakin’ world.
And so I picked myself up off the massage table. Apologized for the leakfest. And I went home.
Trying to ease up my schedule some this week, I emailed two students, asking if they could each switch their meeting times. Doing so meant that I wouldn’t be facing reading and critiquing five coaching clients’ work (100 pages total) and critiquing a class’ work (varies each week), starting at 10:00 tonight because that’s how late it is by the time I finish teaching and land at my desk. The first student said yes, of course!, the second told me she couldn’t switch to when I needed her to, but we would figure it out, I wasn’t to worry. When I said I would try to get her done at the usual time, she said she wished I wouldn’t. She said, “I don’t want you to overdo more than you already overdo.”
And I realized something.
My students and clients do love me. My family loves me. My readers love me. I don’t know about the whole world, that might have to be relegated to the lofty dream category, but really, it’s enough to love and be loved back. And I realized that, along with learning to say No, I also have to learn that love isn’t taken away so easily, so thoughtlessly. I am surrounded by really thoughtful people.
So my happy moment today? I learned I can say No and it will be all right. And now…I’ve got to get some work done.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.