“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am. I am. I am” - Sylvia Plath
There is nothing noble in giving everything you have to give, and destroying yourself to do it. That level of self sacrifice is something that I think we glorify and praise and applaud, but it carries with it a certain abandon that represents little care for our own needs, or respect for our own worth.
I saw a tweet about this, earlier in the week - though I can’t for the life of me find it now. The anger and rancour you can feel towards someone when they won’t give everything in the same way that you have, when they won’t give to the point of doing themselves harm, is unfair to them.
When someone has recognised how much they have to give and how much they have within them, and they are able to hold true to that, I believe it should be admired. And if it’s less than you want, and less than you give, I believe it’s time to ask if you’re looking after yourself at all in this equation.
Over the past few days, I’ve been giving myself space to rest. Tucked up in bed, only padding across the living room to make yet another cup of tea with honey and lemon, or to keep a candle burning. I’ve been considering how much I give, and meditating on whether my current sickness has anything to do with how much I’ve invested in so many projects without investing in myself - and whether I’ve even been doing it for any selfless reason at all, or have been attempting to force the world’s hand and make it give back to me out of some sense of guilt for all I’ve done.
I don’t necessarily have an answer to either question. But I believe that I do have a comfort that I may share with you: you are allowed to give only as much as you can afford and no more. Of your body, mind, heart and soul.
You are allowed to give only as much as you can, without giving away your entirety.
You are allowed to care for your own health and wellbeing - and we will all thank you and love you more for doing so.
All my love,
Cook a hearty meal this weekend. The kind of thing that provides comfort and warmth, and keeps for days in case the world becomes too overwhelming. The kind that fills your belly with that particular glow that can only come from food that involves love as a key and foundational ingredient.
Read aloud to yourself. This may seem a little silly - but I’ve always believed there’s comfort in being a little silly. If you read a book allowed to yourself, you’ll focus on the sound and the feel of the words as you say them, and you’ll draw yourself into the story and the rhythm of the book.
Open the window, and start to let the freshness of the outside world return to your home, even if it’s just for a moment. Remember that keeping ourselves safe, warm and tucked away is an excellent pursuit, but we can’t live without the touch of the breeze and new air in our lungs. Don’t board up your home.
Don’t board up your heart.
For Your Spellbook Journal
Where are you giving the most? To whom are you giving the most? And are you giving more than you can? Write about it in your journal. Explore it. Take a moment to question it.
Tell people what you want. Then let them help you.
It’s only when you start to actually articulate what you want that you are really able to define it for yourself. To turn it into a tangible statement of want, rather than a vague concept. And once you have that defined, it’s like having your dreams defined; you’ll be able to work towards achieving and fulfilling them.
The fact is that you are going to get left behind and forgotten if you spend your time being patient and waiting for recognition instead of asking for it. That way lies redundancy and outplacement. The people who are wanting in secret will always be wanting and unfulfilled.