I’m Exhaustipated

Have any of you seen that meme on social media yet? Apparently, it’s the term that was created to indicate that you’re “too tired to give a shit.”  It gave me a good laugh, and it kind of speaks to how I’ve felt these past several weeks.

Ok, so maybe I don’t completely not give a shit, but I would say I’m giving less of a shit out of sheer exhaustion. I haven’t done much with my book outline, I never picked a logo for a future web home for this blog (and whatever else may come down the pipeline), and I just haven’t felt like blogging.

Blogging for likes and loves and follows and numbers after ending your post with 70 hashtags isn’t healthy, isn’t productive, and honestly … I would challenge that many people DON’T give a shit about posts like that. You blog when you have something to say that is of value to an audience or provides you with some sort of release. Tonight’s post I’m pretty sure will serve both purposes, because I know I’m not at all alone with my exhaustipatedness (ok, that’s not a word … and I’m too tired to give a shit about that, either).

My work and my personal life, though there have certainly been bright spots, have taken a lot out of me for a few months. And as usual, I enter my superhero / warrior / gladiator /caffeinated badass advocate mode complete with my DD beverage of choice, because #cathyrunsondunkin. Suck it up buttercup, just keep swimming and smile while you’re doing it because eventually, you make it after you fake it. My friends, it’s pushing through tough moments that will propel you, and you can then look back and say “hmph, I/we made it through this/that, I’ve/we’ve made it through MUCH worse, and I’ll/we’ll do it all again tomorrow.” I’m speaking from an overloaded nutshell of VAST experience.

So, where do I go from here? Welp, I need to do a few things – and maybe some (many) of you floating in cyberspace will relate and find a teaspoonful of comfort in my musings …

1) As Gary John Bishop says, I simply need to unf*ck myself. Say what?! …

In other words, I need to stay out of my own way and not let self-doubt, anxiety, or negative thoughts hold me back. The only person who can pull me out of any doldrums is the woman looking back at me in the bathroom mirror. And sometimes, you need to tell your inner voice to pipe down. The haunting “am I good enough?” question pops into my head more frequently that I truly care to admit, and I allowed that to destroy me for decades in so many ways.

2) I need to continue to let go of things I cannot (and should not) control. To give a strong recent example …

As I shared on social media and in my previous blog, my son with autism is no longer employed. That was a hard pill to swallow even though I can understand the “how” and the “why.” A silver lining was that he actually was not fired, and thus had the opportunity to put in a resignation instead alongside his job coach. Christian has been so unbelievably proactive that it’s mind blowing. He’s met with his job coach three times and has a fourth appointment next week to take his updated resume to a few employers from a massive list he researched and created. He saw his OVR counselor on Friday. He’s eating better, staying hydrated, and working out with the neighbors almost 5 days a week. He sees his therapist regularly. He saw his psychiatrist and made an informed decision about his current regime. He’s … he’s adulting. And diagnosis or not, that’s tough for me sometimes, just like it is for ANY parent. We want to swoop in and fix things that are hard for our children. Mama Betty wants to swoop in and take away my pain too sometimes, and I’m about to enter … (gulp) my forties this summer. There’s a significant difference between being there to provide love and support and trying to control things that are just not controllable, easily fixable, or that just aren’t mine to control.

3) Self-care, self-care, self-care.

Anyone (even warrior parents) enduring their worst struggles who says to me “self-care is impossible” is instantly met with a “nope! It doesn’t work that way. The mask goes on YOU first or you are no good to one other person.” Now … do I practice what I preach? Sometimes. I’ve certainly made progress, but when stressors creep in, I’m at risk for falling off the wagon. A multitude of struggles since childhood have put me into a 24/7/365 caretaker mode and that is not an easy persona to set aside. It’s all I know. It’s also been my career since 2003.

I help my family. I help my friends. I help other parents. I help my team. I help individuals like my son. I help I help I help … oh … wait a sec while I grab a mirror. Oh, hi there self. You look like shit today, by the way.

Sound familiar? I know that when I take poor care of myself, those around me can tell not too long thereafter.

Self-care is not just “the sexy thing to do in 2018,” folks. It is essential to functioning. Don’t tell me you can’t do it, and you know what? I’ll do the same. Though I had some errand running and cleaning to catch up on, I took an hour to myself this afternoon to walk on a local trail listening to a relaxing Pandora station to catch some rays and self-reflect. This morning, I put my curtains into the washer after vacuuming and then went to have my nails refilled. Some days it’s hard to find two hours. Some days it feels like I can’t find two minutes. I know for many of you reading this, you’ll tell me that you don’t have any options. Maybe your options are limited. But I urge you – truly I beg you – find the time. Do SOMETHING for yourself each day. You need it, and you deserve it.

So all that being said, we’re hanging in there and surviving, folks. It’s what we Tomko’s do, as my relatives would say. We’ve been through so much worse, and we’ve survived all of those bad days and are here to tell about them.

Speaking of worse, I’ve been asked (as I am every year many times) if and when I’ll be sharing the excerpt of “our story” during the month of April. That annual request humbles me to no end. I am forever comforted knowing that by sharing our story, some will find it grounding, others will pull strength, and other people will feel less alone. The answer is a resounding yes. I will be sharing the excerpt of my speech delivered in 2008 (ten years ago … wow) on or around April 19th, which is the anniversary of the horrifying incident that changed our lives forever.

For now, I’m going to bring this post to a close (as I think you get the gist of what I’m saying) so I can … yup, you guessed it, practice some self-care and actually get some much needed rest. There may or may not be a game of Candy Crush or Wordscapes in my future. Don’t judge.

Wishing you all much love, peace, and relaxation 💓

Author: Catherine Hughes

Passionate Advocate. Innovative Storyteller. Engaging Strategist. Author. Editor. Blogger.

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