Hey! Sitchoassdowndere.

I debated using this title. Because this post is going to be about me as much as it is about you.

Just so you can judge if this will be worth your time, here’s where I’m going with this.

(Oh, I know you’re already judging me. Luvvie warned me of all the signs, even from a baby.)

  1. I have a few, shall we say, coping mechanisms for getting yourself beyond blocking emotions to take care of yourself
  2. The reason that I know what I’m talking about is because I’m a spoonie, so,
  3. I want to share some of my remedies with you in a way that lets you know I’m not just talking out of my ass.

So here we go.

Oh and real quick? It’s pertinent that you know I’m of recent Yoruba ancestry.

Therefore a judgy, mouthy bitch lives inside my head.

I’m told this is true of many nationalities. But let’s not fight, please.

I was raised in a culture where women are expected to do Everything.

When we’re not doing everything, the other women in our family are doing everything because we’re dead and who is going to pound all the yam for after the funeral service?

Not only are you

  • doing housework/chores, (Stateside. Back home can be rough but at least you can easily afford house help.)
  • rearing of your children,
  • rearing of  your actual siblings
  • or helping to rear your siblings’ children?

You will now also be

  • a student
  • a worker
  • a business owner.

What? You can’t do all of those things at the same time and work another job? You lazy fool.

Sorry. That was her, the aforementioned judgemental bitch who I’m trying to evict.

She thinks she has squatting rights. She gone learn today!

I can’t blame this bitch on my mother, aunties or grandmother though. Or even the men in our society and their expectations.

Sure, I see the women in the generation before mine in grad school, doing all the housework and child rearing and cooking and also have at least one and a half jobs or work overtime in a main business plus some side hustle.

I see all the men… letting them.

Except my father and favorite Uncles.

Dad cooked growing up, spent real time with us- none of this “babysitting” your own children nonsense. We went to museums. Weekly library trips.

(A library is like the useful part of the internet but on paper  and books in a building.)

Fave uncles never treated me like I wasn’t a man and therefore fully human. Therefore I can change a tire, check my oil, drive in the snow, use all the tools in the box & know their names.

Which basically means I work even MORE. But not their fault. And I digress.

The point is, those elders actually taught me to do better.

It was a straight-up, do-like-I-say not-like-I-do situation.

My mother, after she was done teaching me how to run a household through chores?

Would tell me “don’t give yourself too much work” when I would try to cook, then also clean the kitchen beyond the mess I made.

One of my aunts pulled me aside and told me that the instant she started being the breadwinner, she quickly hired people to clean house.

And suggested I do the same immediately.

No, it was me. Seeing superwomen and wanting to be them. Doing how they do to have what they had.

So when I first became a spoonie, I hid it. This invisible disability wasn’t going to beat me. It was just pain. I could push through.

I’ll tell you the 2000 word version of THAT another day, but for now suffice it to say this very important thing: every single thing I did to push myself, even slightly, turned a mild disability into a list of cascading illnesses that cause each other

So. I now belong to a new church. It is the church of….

Sit. Choo. Ass. DOWN.

Let the church say amen?

I’m not saying sit all day- that’s proven to be unhealthy.

I’m saying, take a physical, metaphysical, or emotional break from time to time.

Even if you think you’re fine? You won’t know you’re not fine until it’s too late. So take a load off now.

Meaning – if you haven’t sat yo ass down and did nothing for five minutes in the last hour? Sit cho ass down.

Haven’t gone on vacation or taken a break and can afford to do so?

Sit yo ass down in a car, plane or train. If you can’t completely stop working, at least work somewhere else.

And you’re not gonna listen yet. Or you can’t. And it’s okay.

Why you won’t sitcho ass down.

I get it.

You live in America, regardless of what immigrant in your past or forced servitude of an ancestor finds you here.

There’s something in us, in the culture that demands we be busy. On top of whatever recent soundtrack of anti-laziness that was drilled into our heads by our parents and family elders.

It’s almost as if we believe that if we stop moving we’ll die. And in the case of sitting in chairs too much during the day, well, that’s probably true.

But in terms of giving your body a rest?

We have to start to reason with ourselves. I had been having a real time of this recently.

Some tips for sitting yo ass down.

First you have to get your mentals together.

Whether that means affirmations, posting reminders to yourself, having mantras, or having family and friends remind you.

Especially if you are a spoonie, you need to put some self-care safety nets in place.

And for people who know how to relax, this seems obvious. I’ve never been one of those people. I’ve always been a workaholic when it comes to mental activity.

Scrubbing floors and taking out the trash was never something I took pride in before I got sick.

(Except when I worked for my parents when they had cleaning services. But even that was about having figured out the most efficient way to get cleaning done.)

Sit me down in front of a computer though?

I’ll still be there when you come back, hours later. (Maybe on a standing break, in recent years. But I won’t have left my post.)

I’ll have written at least 2000 words on a good day.

And tried to teach myself something new. Done some marketing. Created something. Filmed a collection of screenshot videos teaching people how to do something.

So when first chronic illnesses, then cancer, demanded that I stop? I ignored the cry. I pushed harder.

These were not good ideas.

But I’m finally learning that recharging isn’t doing nothing.

I am America, and you can too.

This is the second thing you need to do in order to learn to take it easy sometimes; realize that it may look like you’re doing nothing, but you’re not.

You’re healing.

You’re recharging.

You’re making your uptime more efficient by having downtime.

The last thing to learn?

How to build it into your schedule.

This is what I struggle with most. It’s less discipline than having the cycle of not sleeping, then trying to be productive on no sleep.

Then making so many mistakes due to the lack of sleep that I would have been better off if I’d stayed in bed all day.

Once you become conscious of that cycle? You do everything you can to stop repeating it. I’ve learned that as soon as I realize I’m trying to run on empty?

Fill everything up.

Eat 3 healthy meals. Sleep a full night. Take all meds and vitamins on time. (Not an easy thing when your meds are so expensive that you have to stretch them out.)

Repeat until you feel your version of normal for a full day. THEN go back to regular work.

The patience is the hardest part. It may take two or three times to get this done.

But versus a year I once spent trying to gather enough energy to do a product creation project that normally would take me a day?

It was a hard lesson learned. But so worth it.

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