I went all the way to Africa just for my body to quit on me.
That isn’t the whole truth. If I were telling the whole truth, I’d have to admit that I am more accessory than victim.
But I tell stories for a living, sometimes even to myself.
There are details; excruciating pain, a random Senegalese emergency clinic, sketchy consent to a doctor who didn’t speak the same language to a mildly invasive but thoroughly humiliating procedure. But those don’t matter.
What matters is I went all the way to Africa to finally get the message about how hard I’ve been pushing myself. How long I have been maxed out. How many ways I have shortchanged myself, put myself on the backburner because busy, because tired, because there was something else to do, some other way to be distracted.
And so, my body made the decision for me.
Not even two weeks before, I’d been back on my own continent, in a city still not my own catching up with SBG the rapid-fire way you do when you don’t get to spend as much time as you want with one of your most favorite people in the world.
“I realize that I can’t- like I am actually starting to be physically incapable- of working at or over capacity for sustained periods of time-“
“I mean, I been tryna tell you that you are not just a pretty robot.”
“I know, but it seems like such a necessity at times-“
“Does it though?”
But I thought I could push it for 3 more weeks. I thought I could come off a 10-day trip, spend 6 days prepping for another 3-week trip, and once I came home, I could rest. I’d sleep in and eat well and do yoga or whatever the fuck. I just needed 3 weeks.
Instead my body quit on me.
I didn’t even think about my own culpability until I was sprawled on a metal bed, trying not to cry, trying to care about being in such a compromising position with strangers and in too much pain to care.
The appointment. The fucking doctor’s appointment I’d pushed. Then pushed again. Then canceled altogether. Because, busy.
You woulda caught this. You did this to you. You ruined your trip.
I try not to think about it, so naturally, it’s all I think about.
I have to go home. Alone. Like I shoulder so many things. So I have hours and hours to think about not thinking about it. About the way living full throttle has burst my life wide open while also rubbing me raw at the seams. About how going has left me gone.
The sherbet sunrise slices through the dark sky that drapes over the Brussels airport. I think about how grateful I am to be here, how many things about my life dictated that I never should have been here.
You wouldn’t have experienced this if you hadn’t done what you’ve done.
Yeah, but now you aren’t really getting this full experience because you fucking ruined it.
And here is where I am. In Belgium, yes, but in purgatory too. The pride of looking at the Parthenon of this life I’ve built. The guilt about what it cost me to erect.
If I were telling the whole truth, I’d say that stopping, braking, breaking, feels like losing. That instead of some lesson, it feels like a failure, an indictment of some weakness I am just not good enough to overcome. That just as I have lost things to the build, if I hadn’t done all the things I’ve done, I’d have drowned in an ocean of what could have beens. If I were honest, I’d say I knew the reckoning was coming months ago, maybe a year ago. But like everything, it had to be rescheduled.
I know I need quiet. I know I need rest and nourishment and touch and laughter and softness. I know I need slow and care.
But it also feels like giving up.
And I don’t always know where to go to get it.
And I know I should be able to build it for myself rather than rely on someone else to bring it to me.
But that just feels like another thing to do.
So, I move. I juggle and manage and put out fires and work a little harder, a little longer, a little better than I thought I could. I watch all the pieces click into place even as it feels like I am falling apart. I’ve worked so hard that rest feels like a loss of momentum, even as I’m floundering.
I went all the way to Africa for my body to quit on me.
Mostly because I’d already quit on me too.