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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

When Do Superheroes Sleep?

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I'm tired. It's not often that I utter those words and very rarely that I write them … anywhere. Doing so would cause me to face the fact that I'm not a superhero standing super erect, fists on hips, cape flailing in the breeze. To be honest, it's that persona that keeps me from saying it. Instead, I nod my head and bite my lip and take on every-single-request presented to me.

Ah, yes, take you to the store, absolutely! Stay up late to help you meet your deadline, certainly! Get up early and start breakfast, sure! Another meeting, another kid's sporting event, another class, another favor... by all means!

Did I mention I'm a mom? Of seven. And that four of those loud, always fighting, whining, complaining, noise-making, messy-room-having, chore-ignoring offspring still live in the house with us—with my husband and his middle-aged, wore-down and frankly, super tired wife.

At forty I was empowered. The world was mine. I knew what I wanted and was ready to go get it. I was free from the insecurities of my twenties and the self-searching of my thirties. I was fearless, driven. I ventured into old dreams and I started to live them. I determined it was surely time to stop trying to figure it all out and jump in with both feet.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. In my forties I started writing books. In less than 10 years I wrote upwards of twelve. In college I wanted to write a play. In my forties I wrote six! I started teaching art classes, I started a school, I began to mentor pre-teens, I dove deep into a barrage of volunteer opportunities.

And even though, for most people, that looks like more than enough to keep anyone busy, I was still doing favors for anyone who asked. I thought I could do it all and still be who I needed to be for myself. I was wrong. My end table was hosting a stack of to-be-read books, my craft room was full of meaning-to-get-to projects, my gym clothes... well, we just won't go there. I always had so many other things to do.

I'm a mom. I'm a wife. I'm a friend. Through my new prescription glasses (oh the joys of 40), that all looked like responsibility and loyalty. I scoffed when the doctor suggested I get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Self-care was laughable. I was too busy caring for everyone else in my life and still making time to live a handful of my own dreams.

On the sunset of my forties the "S" on my chest started to fade and the tights started getting a little tight and as 50 appeared in my daily planner between the high school winter dance and the middle school band concert I began to realize I was exhausted. I had lived nearly half of my life caring for the needs of other people who surely, should be able to take care of themselves.

So, friend, hubby, kiddos, I’m giving myself permission to say no, I am starting to see myself differently. Inundated with what I thought I had to be for all of the people that I thought needed me to be I didn’t realize that you will figure it out. You will make a way. You will do it without me. I don't have to solve every problem or figure out how to make ends meet. Sometimes the people in my life must save themselves. Even superheroes get tired.

So excuse me, if you will, as I take off my cape and fold it neatly to use as a pillow. And please, don’t wake me, I’m tired.

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1 comment:

  1. So good, so true, so well said. Love the permission to fold up the cape!!