Three More Days

Last week I had three magical days off in a row. I don't think I've had more than two days off in a row since I started this new job. After four months of nonstop, this was so different I almost didn't know how to do it. 


On my first day off: I recharged. I did yoga, cleaned, and then got back into bed. Watched A Series of Unfortunate Events, drank tea. The boy came over, and we watched Westworld, then took a dang nap. I plotted two more days of rest.

On my second day off: I figured out which of my chakras is blocked. (Sacral. Obviously.) Did yoga, meditated, got hot chocolate from Peaks, and watched more A Series of Unfortunate Events. Finished a book I've been reading since September, then finished a short story that has been sitting half-finished on my hard drive for two weeks. 

On my third day off: I began it once again with yoga. Then, a walk through the art park and a trip to the store, accompanied by a podcast featuring Brene Brown, who in just one hour helped me realize some huge things about myself and my relationships. When I got home, I had an email about work. Which, all through my shower, totally wigged me out. I should just do that, I told myself, tension headache already forming. I started to feel myself getting back into that mindset of "getting things done" and I hated it. I tried to fight it off. I sat down in bed, and told myself I would only work on this thing for an hour at most, and then I would move on. In that hour, I made huge edits, found the perfect music, and was able to honestly say in my email reply that things were going well with the project. Then, I actually did as I promised myself I would-- I moved on. I watched more Netflix, and then settled in to read. At which point- another headache, which plagued me for the rest of the day. 

The moral of the story is: whenever possible, rearrange your schedule in your favor. Ahead of my three days, I desperately scrolled through Pinterest, trying to figure out what I would “do” with my time. By the end of night one, I thought to myself, “What in the world am I going to do with two more days off?” But the thing is, we need it. We need that time, that empty space, to fill with creativity. Otherwise it’s like trying to fill a shot glass with creativity. I think creativity is a lot like a gas, or a cat. It will fill the space you give it. If you are only able to give it a little bit of space, it will be small. But if you’re able to give it a whole room, it will be vast. 


I think it was absolutely vital for me to learn how to have a successful day off. I can't tell you how many times Eli has innocently and sweetly entered my apartment on a Wednesday or Sunday, only for me to snap at him after he's done LITERALLY NOTHING WRONG, while sweating and holding a vacuum in one hand, yoga mat in the other, Netflix playing in the background. Since I started working full time I've been so desperately trying to do all of my down time in those single days off, that I've failed completely, and only stressed myself out more. I needed these three days to learn that-- I accomplished all of the relaxing on day one. And again on day two, with a little more creative productivity thrown in. And again on day three. I needed three days off with literally nothing planned to learn how to relax again. 

So I think part of the reason why I feel so good right now is because I had time to simply be at home. Nowhere to be, nothing to do, except feel safe and relaxed and comfortable in my (still relatively new) space, and make it even more of a home. Even doing something as small as just finding a box to put my crystals in, to make them feel special. This made my room feel like a zen space, and I've felt it's power because I've been able to spend time feeling zen in there. As I said to my therapist about yoga this week, "it doesn't matter if you 'know yoga will help' if you don't actually do it! It can't help you if you don't do it!" Making the commitment to yoga and making the commitment to being chill and doing absolutely nothing on those three days transformed my apartment from something that "could be chill if I had time" to something that "is chill because I spent three days being lazy as heck in it." 



I feel better at the end of this three day retreat than I did when I began. I relaxed, I read, I weeded the books and ideas and pressures from my life that I no longer have space or time for. I got organized, and planned the things I've been avoiding in an effort to make them less negative. And I got clear. Maybe not on what I want to do with my entire life. Because,  f*ck. That's a big thing to figure out in three days, and the kind of bullshit only I would expect that from myself. But I do know what I want to do with this year. I want to tell my truth. I want to write it, film it, document it in drawings and pictures and letters and Instagram captions and short stories and blog posts. I want to write through and write out the shit that is hardest for me to say. Because one thing I have learned from my family in the past twenty years of ups and downs and emotional bullshit is-- it does way more harm than good to hide it. To not say it. So I'm going to be honest. I'm going to speak the f*cking truth, my f*cking truth-- the things that make me cry and make me feel ashamed and make me feel happy and scared. Because that is the only way I am going to remain grounded and human and real, and not a shell of a person who is host only to depression and anxiety. I want to be host to creativity and love and life and abundance. Not that other shit. 

And that is a tall order, I know. But I'm going to do it one piece at a time. The other day, I was working on a short story, and it was so hard for me to write the final sentences of the story that would actually make it good. Because it made me feel vulnerable to write those words, and vulnerable to even think them. But once I went there, even though thinking them inflicted tiny cuts on my heart, the second I wrote them they started to heal. 

My third day off, on my morning walk at the art park, I listened to an episode of Krista Tippet's podcast On Being, featuring Brene Brown. She talked about vulnerability, because that is her jam. I've only scratched the surface of what I think vulnerability's importance is in my life, but I have a suspicion that it holds the key to everything. I think when I dare not go there, when I dare not be vulnerable, when I dare not look at the things I know will hurt me, I hurt myself more. I think my creativity is tied to my vulnerability. So when I hid from my vulnerability, I hid from my creativity. Maybe I needed to hide for a minute to see that that was the case. To see what I was hiding from.

But I think I'm done hiding now.

-Fran