A couple of Tuesdays ago, I was feeling particularly tired. Like really tired. It was one of those days when, had I been back in banking, I probably would have made 7 or so trips to the cafe to get coffees and those chocolate covered rice cake things to keep me going.
It was a bleurgh day. For full transparency, I was PMT-ing and was feeling like all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and go to sleep and eat carbs. You know, those days. For all you men out there — I’m sure there is an equivalent for you, but imagine like a bad hangover day. Like that.
So I was feeling bleurgh and I was sat at my laptop bleurghing. Sat there like a lemon pretending to work. I mean I don’t even have a boss anymore and I was still sat there pretending to work. I’m not sure who I was pretending to… but pretending I was. Scroll scroll scroll. Tab open. Tab close. Check emails. Close emails. Open Canva. Close Canva.
About an hour passed until I caught myself. Lucy. You do not have a boss. You do not have contracted working hours. It is a glorious day outside. What are you doing?!
This one goes back to my good old ‘identity’ which I’ve talked about before. I identify with being a hard worker. Being a hard worker makes me feel like a good worthy human being who is giving back to society and is doing good things and has permission to breathe. You know. I’m a hard worker. I’m not one of those lazy people.
BUT I WANTED TO BE A LAZY PERSON.
On this particular Tuesday, all my body wanted was to be a lazy person. I wanted to go and lie in the park in the sun and read my book. I wanted to rest on the grass and chill the f out. But my bloody brain stopped me because it told me if I didn’t work I was useless and nobody would love me (I realise this sounds far fetched but the deeper you go with this self awareness work, basically everything comes down to if I do x people will love me, if I do y, they won’t).
Added to this bs story from my brain, is the incredible societal pressure to always be on form. Like always. Which, in itself is madness. Who is always on form? I mean, the reality of a woman’s body is that we are very purposefully designed to not always be on form. We have a cleverly designed 1.5 ish week period where we are not on form, where we need to rest more, where we don’t feel creative or outgoing or any of that stuff. We are designed to rest and chill in that period so we can then go and be ultra creative and all the great things the rest of the time.
Men are the same, they have their own rhythm of energy which is NOT the same all the time. It ebbs and flows in a different (less monthly) way.
But despite these biological truths, we still live by the rules of the working week. The horrendous presenteeism which is prolific all over the place. The fear that if we don’t subscribe to the model, something horrendous will happen. I mean, I’m pretty in touch with my body and like the bend the old rules of life, but I still fell foul to the age old rule of ‘IT IS TUESDAY YOU MUST BE WORKING OTHERWISE YOU ARE A BURDEN ON SOCIETY’.
I fell for it, but then gave myself a little talking to and went and lay in the park, like I really wanted to. I lay in the park and read and snoozed in the sun. I went to bed early. I woke up the next morning feeling better. And you know what, today, it is Sunday. Today it is Sunday but I am feeling productive and like I want to work so here I am working probably getting more done in a 3 hour period than I would have if I’d spent all of Tuesday poring over my laptop.
I recognise that I have the freedom to do this because I work for myself but as we come out of the work from home COVID times and back into office intensity, maybe it’s an opportunity to rethink how we show up and what we expect from everyone around us because if we’re all honest, our working world is all a little bit messed up isn’t it? Imagine how much healthier, happier, more productive, more everything we would be if we actually allowed people to LISTEN TO THEMSELVES and work when they felt like they felt inspired to. My guess is we’d all be in a much better place.
Everything felt infused with irritation. I was doing all the things for everyone else that I thought I should be doing. I was doing all the acts of service. I was, technically, loving those people. And yet. It felt like every act I did, rather than being infused with love, was infused with a shards of glass shooting out of every plate I stacked.
It was a Thursday back in February 2018. The rain hadn’t stopped for months and London was right in the depths of what felt like the longest winter we’d ever had. The dark, damp days had started to getting to me so I’d taken refuge in a hot yoga class to warm up. The scent of palo santo blended with the sweat of 50 people pervaded the room. It was bonus day at work. They’d told us it had been a bad year and not to expect much. I peaked into the envelope, hopeful, as soon as they slid it across the table: £130k. But there I lay, in savasana, with hot, salty tears streaming down my face: I’d never felt emptier.
I always thought it was down to my mildly intense anxious attachment stuff playing out... that and just low key hating dating apps. But then as I started to date a little bit more than I usually do... I was faced with some of the real reasons I'd been avoiding it for so long... and here they are..
It’s been 2.5 years since I hop, skipped and jumped out of the trading floor and into self employed life. In all honesty, I never thought I’d have the courage to do it - I used to wake up in the middle of the night at times in a cold sweat, equally panicked about the prospect of leaving as I was about the prospect of never fully claiming my life.