It's International Women's Day! Today we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
I am feel like I am a very high achiever today because I showered, turned in my work in a timely fashion, made dinner and only yelled like a raving lunatic at one child. I did socialize via text message! I also spent money and made money which is definitely some sort of economic achievement. I spoke broken French (culture!) to my 15 year old, who rolled her eyes and then I had to very poltically take a big breath, shake off her distain and move on while smiling.
I definitely deserve a celebration!
All inreverence aside, I sometimes feel like hyperventilating when I think of all the expectations placed upon women to be wives, mothers, workers, community members, friends, volunteers and change-makers. It is like someone is placing bricks on my chest labeled with all the expectations--and this someone is super great at stacking bricks in a way that they don't fall, so the weight gets heavier and heavier without ceasing. It seems that maybe there was a point in which I could have stood up and tossed off some of the bricks.
That ship has sailed, friends. I am now fully in it and under it, as the case may be.
It is overwhelming.
Overwhelm is a continuing theme in my therapy sessions. Apparently in my intake session I said a varition of "overwhelm" several times. I think my file has my name with "overwhelm" in paratheneses. I know I can do very hard things and really, do just about anything. I thrive in chaos. But, then I also falter when I don't have a chance to take a breath or when the chaos is somehow pulling me away from the things that are important. Then, I lose my way. I have breakdowns in professional settings. I cannot string words together. I lose my charm and my wonderful gift of storytelling (aka bullshitting, selling snake oil to a snake, etc). This is a situation that has happened a couple times this year--and it is only early March.
The overwhlem is a real thing--and I bet if you are a woman reading this you feel overwhelmed, too. So as much as I love to celebrate a rockstar, kick-ass woman who juggles it all; I am also a bit exhuasted by this achievement based world we live in.
Like maybe it is enough of an achievement to just be alive and trying to do your best. I always tell my children when they are competing at sports or trying out for a theater production that the act of showing up and doing is enough. Wins and lead roles are bonuses. The true achievement is simply trying to be better or even just to be a part of something.
Maybe, I can remove the overwhelm, brick by brick.
I know I am enough whether or not I ever write a book. And I am enough even if I am terrible at the dishwasher and laundry. And I am enough, even though my teenage daughters find me to be irritating. I am enough, even if I am not as (insert any word here) someone else.
And I am enough just because I am.
So, while today is a wodnerful pause to honor the big, amazing achievements of women, it is also even more important to honor the achievements in each of our lives, simply because of the women we are. The mothers and the workers and the wives and the friends and the volunteers and the Netflix binge watchers. We need to find the equity inside ourselves to remember how enough we are.