The other stuff.
These past few weeks have been a lesson in making space for the other stuff in my life. The non-work stuff; the things that support my creative practice but that aren’t my creative practice. Being the kind of human that I am, I only realized this at the end of a yoga class last week when I found myself involuntarily sobbing. I had been neglecting some important facets of my life and had reached the point where overflow was inevitable.
While knew that I was tired—navigating the tension and healthy stress of what I’m working on is a constant dance—I didn’t realize how much this other stuff needed to be taken care of. The day before that teary asana practice, I cancelled an appointment with a potential therapist after some very disorganized communication. Suddenly, all the things I had anticipated offloading had to be put back inside me to be worked through some other time.
It was painful to repack everything. And it was painful to recognize the way I had been neglecting these parts of myself. My reason/excuse is always necessity. Making money always feels more urgent than looking after the softer parts of myself. The parts that might not be essential to survival but that are necessary to wellbeing. I tell myself I don’t have the time or the money to prioritize that work. In truth, I can’t afford not to do it.
Chani Nicholas posted something recently that said, “Healing costs. Time. Energy. Ego. Relationships. Money. When you are ready for a shift, put everything on the table. Change isn't cheap, but holding out on yourself costs more than you can give.” And while I often grapple with what self-care looks like outside of capitalism, I know that she’s right. What’s more, generational trauma means that this healing is bigger than any one individual.
After yoga, I came home, showered, took a nap, got some work done, and then called a friend who I knew would understand what I was trying to process. We talked for hours about creating a balance of professional rigour and essential downtime/rest/self-care/creative replenishment. We bemoaned the violent and overly masculine ways of creating that still dominates our culture. We explored possible alternatives.
The other stuff matters. The life stuff. The processing of trauma stuff. Of course it does. And sometimes I forget. I push it to the side because I’m so focused on my creative work. Maybe balance doesn’t mean things are always weighted perfectly on both sides of the scales. However, maybe that always in flux imbalance doesn’t need to be so extreme. So I’m going to make a bit more space for the other stuff and see if that’s the case.
What’s the other stuff you need to make space for?