I’ve just had a very challenging weekend that delivered a lot of scope for learning experience to a lot of people. What anyone else learned from it, I don’t even have the energy to try and speculate. I hit this morning so tired and lacking in brain power that the options are not blog, or blog about what’s going on. I usually don’t do this, because I like time to process experiences more thoroughly and put them into a wider context. Today, that’s beyond me.
Sleep deprivation makes me really ill. I knew it was something I had a problem with, and for years now I’ve been managing my time and choices to minimise it. Staying over for events and doing late evening events can really knock me about, but if I sleep extra beforehand I can weather it. Wake me up repeatedly through the night and stress me out so I can’t sleep and the consequences for my body, and my mental wellbeing are huge.
If a person is in trouble – if someone is dying, or suicidal, or a house has burned down, sure, call me in the middle of the night. I’ll take the backlash when something is that urgent. The person who had a safe place to be and chose not to be there, and phoned me repeatedly through the night expecting my help and then wondered why I wasn’t very helpful… maybe needs to learn that not all of us are at our best in those conditions. So I’m still paying for that.
I’m not ashamed of the choices I made. I’m not an infinite resource, and I have finally learned that someone wanting something from me does not actually put me in a place of having to deliver. What I give is my choice and the terms on which I give are my choice, and ‘no’ is always an answer I am entitled to. I am not obliged to be anyone else’s fairy godmother. I am not obliged to trash my own health and wellbeing because someone else would find it useful. Anyone who thinks I am not entitled to say no to them, is, I have decided, someone I really don’t want in my life.
I’ve been obliged to think a lot about how we justify our actions. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not comfortable with people who do problematic or antisocial things (or worse) in the heat of the moment and then think that it having been done thoughtlessly and off the cuff somehow makes that ok. I will accept it as an explanation, but not as an excuse. It is a line of logic too often used to justify violence and assault, and if we collectively think it’s ok at less dramatic levels, it’s harder to challenge it when the excuse is in the mouth of a rapist. If you cannot control your words or actions that is not an excuse, it’s a failing.
I have learned that I do not have to be nice to people. I can be ok with myself in face of other people thinking I’m not as nice as I ‘should’ be. In the past I’ve been incredibly susceptible to that kind of emotional pressure, I am glad to learn that I am no longer as easy to guilt trip into doing things that are not at all in my interests. I’m getting flack for standing my ground. Well, I say standing. I spent most of yesterday sitting or lying down because my body is in a mess, but I have sat my ground. I’ve not voluntarily taken further damage for someone else’s convenience. I am appreciating the friends who have not asked me to suffer for their sake over the last few days, and I am identifying as not-friends the people who feel entitled to use me, or to berate me for not co-operating with being used.
While generally I am pro-learning, I’m hoping for a very quiet, un-educational week in which I can get my body working again and my head into a better state.