Thoughts on Rest & Intimidating Women

Yesterday was a hard day. I muddled through the morning well enough, no yelling to get the boys out of the house early for my oldest son’s piano lesson before school. I had hoped to then be able to walk my other boy the 5 blocks to kindergarten but I got pulled back to my bed, needing a few minutes rest and then we weren’t ready in time. So like every day, we drove.

My next hope was to walk downtown to my appointment with my counselor, but for that too, I went too slow, ended up sitting on my bedroom floor wasting ten minutes scrolling Facebook and again, wasn’t ready with enough time to walk.

But I didn’t get angry which is progress. I didn’t beat myself up for not being able to stay focused and get out the door on time. I was, however, disappointed. Disappointed that it feels like it’s too hard to be me these days, so hard I can’t even walk my kid 5 blocks to school the one day it’s an option this week.

Counseling was excellent though. Big, huge, insightful connections made. Yes, I do feel the need to adjust myself to make others happy. And I mean everyone, at all times, always. I can see how hard I tried as a young girl to make my parents happy, to never cause a fuss, to be perfect. Maybe even perfect enough that they would be happy.

I thought I had that much power.

As children do.

But my parents’ happiness doesn’t belong to me.

Nor does yours.

My logical brain understands that. My traumatized brain does not.

When I got back from counseling I decided I would let myself rest. This is always my debate: Do I need to rest to care for myself or am I being lazy?

Usually the answer is the former but for most of my life I’ve beat myself up believing the latter. Almost every time I’ve “rested”, I’ve had a tape on repeat in my head telling me I should be doing more, trying harder. I tell myself I should be active or catch up on cleaning or do some damn work. But the PMDD holds me down. Keeps me cuddled and cocooned on the couch.

But what came together at counseling today, the realization that I’ve spent a lifetime adjusting myself to fit the needs of others, has shown me that I am exhausted and rest is exactly what I need. Along with the PMDD, all signs point to Adrenal fatigue too. So yes, I need to rest. I do not need to use my time to be what I think others want me to be, think I should be.

I need only use my time to rest and heal.

Which sometimes often means an afternoon on the couch, a little stoned, watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy.

I think I’ve discovered why I love Meredith enough to rewatch the series too many times. She is wonderfully imperfect. She drinks too much, rarely communicate well, makes an endless number of “mistakes”. Yet she is brilliant, talented, respected. She is a horribly imperfect woman who is powerful, smart and strong.

The imperfect woman. Not often allowed. Rarely celebrated.

Intimidating.

Yes, the imperfect but strong woman may often be described as intimidating.

But my favourite internet meme of 2018 says it all:

“You are not intimidating, they are intimidated. There’s a difference.”

We are shifting, this world of ours, from seeing women as intimidating to realizing rather, that we, the societal “we”, are intimidated. We’ve lived a hundred lifetimes in a world that fears women, that fears them so deeply that they have been pushed out of every leadership position. Out of religion. Out of politics. Out of medicine. Into the home. Into motherhood.

But then still, the power of women as mothers is too scary so we medicalize birth, pull it away from the midwives, promote formula and send women back to work. We push them away from the feminine that is connected and powerful, intimidating.

I believe I am someone who intimidates others and I’ve spent my life thinking it’s my responsibility, my duty as a woman, to not do so. To always acquiesce, to always bend myself for another’s comfort. No wonder I’m tired. No wonder I’m sick of it.

No wonder I like watching an imperfect woman learn to own her fierceness and become someone who most definitely leaves many intimidated, and better for it.

So when I get off my couch, when my rest is done and my hormones are finally balanced again, I plan to love my own imperfect fierceness and leave in my wake a wave of intimidated men.

One Comment

  1. Stephanie Walker

    I love this Par. You go woman! I’d say for most people, most of the time, it is not laziness, but always authentic need for rest. I’d say the few who are having a ‘lazy’ experience and who need to act aren’t actually really lazy (as in some kind of slovenly self-serving lumps), but afraid, or lacking purpose, or ultimately in a state of inertia caused by a lack of self-love. In other words, my experience is that the judgmental ‘lazy’ so condemned in our culture doesn’t even really exist as a real thing. We’re all just ridiculously hard on ourselves and each other.

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