Upclose selfie of Alissa.

To The Woman Who Tries To Do It All

inspiration Aug 31, 2020

If you looked at me closely enough last week, you could’ve probably seen that my smile and eyes told two different stories.

My eyes were burning, heavy, and a little bloodshot but I threw a smile on anyway. Even though I was tired, I was going to be fine. Even though I wanted to crumble to pieces, I was going to be fine. I was going to power through all of the work that needed to be done. I was going to do it with a smile. No one would see me struggling.

That’s the goal, right? Always appear as if you’ve got it all together.

I was holding it together with threads. My smile was fake and my eyes were red. I was averaging about four hours of sleep per night.

Last week, I dreaded bedtime because I knew within hours of closing my eyes, my anxiety would wake me up with raging fury. Like clockwork, I’d wake up at 2 a.m. with a racing heart and sweaty palms. I’d pray for the next few hours to pass quickly so daylight would be here and I wouldn’t have to try to sleep anymore.

In retrospect, I needed a hug. My nervous system was shot. I was exhausted. I needed some time away from the world. I needed to take it easy.

My therapist warned me gently, “If you don’t slow down, you’re going to burn out.”

I suck at slowing down. I don’t have time to burn out. I don’t have time to slow down. My body isn’t cooperating? Well, that’s inconvenient.

Must. Keep. Going.

If we don’t show ourselves compassion, we’ll burn out.

I’m a work in progress, friends. I blog about what I need to learn the most. This past weekend, with my tired eyes and hopeful heart, I went away with my fiance and his family. It was a much-needed, highly anticipated vacation for all of us.

Upon reflection of our relaxing, rejuvenating weekend, here’s the letter that came through me:

To the woman trying to do it all,

I see your smile, but your tired eyes tell me a different story.

I see the way you always show up and follow through, even though you’re aching inside.

Sometimes you aren’t entirely sure how you’re going to make it through the day. You’re exhausted mentally, physically, spiritually… you keep going anyway.

There’s no time to slow down, right? There are people to serve, things to get done, places to be.

I see you running around with your tired, wild eyes. I see your kind heart; your genuine soul.

I see the way you want to do good in the world. I see the way you always hold up your end of the deal. I see how you take care of the people around you. I see the way you want to do it all. I see the way you try.

My heart aches for you.

With your tired eyes, tell me, are you taking care of yourself? Are you giving yourself the same love you give others? When’s the last time you checked in with yourself before saying yes, once again?

And what does your soul feel like? Is she tired, too? When’s the last time you really nourished yourself?

To the woman who tries to do it all, just remember there’s no gold star for pushing yourself to exhaustion. There’s no trophy that goes out to the one who pushes herself so hard that she fails to eat a proper meal and certainly doesn’t sleep well at night. Try as you might, there are no accolades for the one who suffers most.

Why do you need to suffer? What are you trying to prove? Who are you trying to be good enough for?

I hope, from time to time, you can see yourself from my vantage point.

I hope when you see your tired eyes in the mirror, it reminds you to give yourself some love.

I hope you draw a bath, without guilt, because you deserve to relax. I hope you curl up on the couch with your favorite book. I hope you go to bed at 8 p.m. because it feels good. I hope you eat dark chocolate and enjoy an expensive glass of wine. I hope you spend a day doing absolutely nothing. I hope you watch comedies, create art, and go for walks because it feeds your soul.

To the woman who tries to do it all, I hope you can accept that you can’t do it all. You never will. I hope that truth frees you. You will never be able to do it all. I hope it gives you a permission slip to rest, enjoy, and have fun.

I hope you remember to live as if you’re worthy of all of the finest gifts life has to offer. I hope you put your face to the sun and enjoy the warmth on your skin. I hope you listen to the birds sing and marvel at the beauty around you. I hope you feel loved and supported and whole. I hope you look in the mirror and see a woman who’s worthy exactly as she is.

Let me repeat that one. You’re worthy exactly as you are. You don’t need achieve, sacrifice, or do anything to be worthy. You already are.

With love,