The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
“I think you need a break,” my therapist said to me, after a half hour of my language and posture becoming more and more aggressive, my words harshening, growing more rapid as I tried to voice everything inside me.
She was speaking specifically about work, but my entire life has felt to be in free fall for quite some time.
I work a lot. On Tuesday, I pulled in over 14 hours. I finished this week well beyond 40 hours, and I’ve done the same the last several weeks as well. In 2016, I’ve had more weeks over 40 hours than at it.
I’ve let myself become taken for granted, and while most of my team is appreciative of my efforts and hard work, the one person in charge of my salary and raise is not impressed, from what I gather. Despite my hard work and my crosstraining on three separate positions, in addition to my own; my dedication to the quality of my work, which is why I regularly work late and often watch the sun set through the windows of my fifth-floor cube; and my constant requests for more work, leading my supervisor to think long and hard on various projects I can attend to during my downtime, I have been informed that I am “not working hard enough.”
Color me furious.
But that anger has disappated, as I have so many other responsibilities on top of those with work: I am a partner to my boyfriend, a mother to my two dogs, a friend who wishes to maintain my relationships with those close to me, a leader in my own small community, a writer and blogger, a researcher, and oath bound to my gods. There is so much work to be done, yet every day passes and feels shorter than the last. I sleep too late, my body trying to tell me to hold back and take a breath. I have so much to do, yet the hours and minutes pass like so much sand between fingers that have lost the will to grip tight.
I am bone-weary.
As I came to reflect on the focus of my April shadow work, I examined the the card fate had dealt me: Protect–a stone lock enveloped with moss in its cracks, open with vines entwined around the mechanism, a long black feather deep in the keyhole.
I need to take better care of myself, protect myself from that which might rend me. I must find this balance between my outside responsibilities and those I owe myself, for I have allowed myself to sacrifice for other for so long, yet been unwilling to hold out for myself. To help myself, before I help others. And that has begun to break me.
I am tired. I am so very, very tired. And while I have miles to go before I sleep, I can see where I may lay my head down for a while, and it is not yet so far.