“I don’t know how you do it.”
Someone recently said this to me after I gave a 15-minute rant about being overwhelmed. My day was jam-packed with fires to put out, hard-to-have conversations that I just wanted to avoid, and a juggling act of various personal and professional responsibilities.
I confessed that I wanted to cry and scream sometimes — heck, sometimes I do. And that each new day is another shot at finding balance.
“When life throws you an ever-growing, never-ending to-do list and too many balls to juggle, remember to breathe, play dress-up, and snap selfies. #femmefun”
Last week, I Instagrammed this cheeky caption along with a glammed-up shot. It was my “modern-day motto,” as TransTech’s Angelica Ross commented. (Because who needs lemonade when you have wool wide-rimmed hats, nude lipstick, and false lashes?)
I had been filmed for MTV’s Look Different campaign earlier that day and was feeling beyond buried. But I was also feeling how my makeup artist, Destiny, beat this face. So I had an impromptu photoshoot…in my bathroom (the lighting is kind of everything). Then I got back to editing articles, answering emails, and crafting consultant proposals.
Yesterday, I was craving fry bake and saltfish buljol — a Caribbean dish made with flour and fresh fish that has been salt-cured and dried then cooked with veggies like tomatoes, onions, and cabbage.
After walking my dog and some quick cardio, I made a dash to the grocery for the ingredients I didn’t have at home. What I whipped up (it was my first time making fry bake) would have made my grandmama proud. It was an homage to my Trinidadian roots.
I bring up these two examples to point out the importance of sacred rituals throughout our busy, non-stop days and lives. Sure a selfie or cooking a meal can be trivial or mundane. But they can also be super celebratory and healing.
So, that’s how I’m “doing it” these days. It’s how I’m keeping centered and keeping smiling amid the demands and chaos.
The social media message that spoke to me…
…because I’ll always be a dreamer. Always.
When people ask how I’m doing, I tell ’em…honestly…
I used to always put on a cheerful front no matter how down or frazzled I was feeling. Then that got exhausting and burdensome. Now, when people casually ask how I’m doing, I tell them. That doesn’t mean I spill all of my tea to strangers or to people I know are just being polite (and frankly don’t care about the blowup I had with my bestie or that I ruined my favorite shirt doing laundry). Sometimes my response is simply, “Busy!” or “Glad it’s Friday.” If it’s someone close to me and I feel like opening up, I might say more and share that I’ve been feeling pretty shitty or that I feel freaking awesome. This has not only allowed me to be more vulnerable, it has helped build this amazingly supportive network of friends, family, and community. Folks share with me more candidly if they’ve been in a funk or if they’re having a really great week — allowing me to show up differently for them and myself.
Something that has really worked this week…
I started creating shorter to-do lists with 2-3 big items. Then I block off my day in chunks to tackle these tasks (always sure to schedule lots of mini-breaks). Below this shortened checklist, I write smaller items in order of urgency and get to these quick projects before I shift gears between the big-ticket tasks or during some of (not all) my breaks.