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My "never enough" monster


More To Love teaches plus size women how to learn body-acceptance and end dieting for good. 

My "never enough" monster

Rachel Estapa

It's Halloween and time to let my inner demon out to play. 

I’ve been pretty quiet on the MTL front lately. This past year has been incredible for my work with body-acceptance and helping women learn the “how” of body-love and I’m really proud and excited for the work, new friends and community which has expanded this year. And that includes you!

But I’m also tired! It seems to happen to me this time of year in the fall – I become more introspective, melancholy, I reminisce and hunker down. I don’t have the same level of zest and energy that I do throughout most of the year.

While you see my work here on More To Love, it’s not my full-time job. I have a traditional 9-5 position at Harvard University and for the past few months there, have been doing a lot of additional work on top of my already robust position. The office I work in is extremely face-paced and my job alone keeps me going non-stop for the full day.

But it doesn't stop at 5 (not like anyone's really does anyway...) My typical  weekday day looks like this:

Get up around 6am, meditate, write, read something inspiring, work on More To Love, get into the shower at 7:30am and into the office for 8:30am. Leave the office at 4:30pm and depending on the night, either go to yoga class/gym for 2 hours OR conduct private coaching calls. Then make dinner. Prep meals for next day. Then work on More To Love for another few hours, spend time with my husband, then head to bed around 11pm. 

Somewhere in there, I've also got to find the time to prep for More To Love Classes, write new blog posts, be active on social, keep in touch with friends and family, make sure the house doesn't burn all while staying upbeat and good about how I treat myself. Personal time has to be scheduled in because otherwise, it wont happen -- I'll find a way to fill it up. 

A few years ago I made a committed that whatever I put my energy towards HAD to be worth it to me, so there isn't anything I do that feels like a chore. That said, the line between work and downtime is really blurred. I’ve always prided myself on being able to juggle many things at once, but as I’ve grown older, noticed this propensity to be BUSY isn’t helping me.  

Lately, I've found myself feeling apathetic to things I normally care about. I thought for a while "am I depressed?" but my lethargy mainly stems from simply running out of fuel. I'm spent for the 2014 year - but OH NO...a paradox arises: To me, the idea of “doing nothing” sends chills down my spine.

I never learned how to let it all go and chill without purpose. Stick me on a paradise vacation island with everything at my feet and i'd STILL find some venture to create and work on.

My propensity to over-do-it seems to have been instilled in me since I was really young. I'm a Millennial which means I've got an approval complex and an over-inflated sense of esteem (what, like I don't know?) I can’t remember a time where I wasn't doing SOMETHING outside the expected day. Sports, choir, clubs, school plays, academic teams. And then even out of college, I was extremely involved with political and civic groups, events and writing.

In my spare time, I still had to be productive, so for fun, would organize discussion groups or singing groups to local nursing homes.  I’d learn a new recipe, explore around town, write literally HUNDREDS of articles (that will never see the light of day) or read books upon books, usually within the topic of personal growth or spirituality. "Cool."

Then when I got laid off in of 2008, the world of coaching opened up to me and I threw myself into the double-engulfing universe of personal AND business development.

"WOW you mean I can forever and ever work on my self-actualization? How privileged of me!" believe me -- I think it's terrible that I consider this a problem to begin with, but I'm not going to feel bad for what's true for me - I want to move beyond it because there's good work to be done! 

I can confidently say I've not wasted a moment of time given to me, but I’m not so sure that’s been a great thing on my overall well-being.

And I can hear you now...“But you've achieved so much!”

Yes, I have. And you’d think it would be easy to chill. But it’s not – it’s like a drug: I’m addicted to being productive.

I'm not a perfectionist (thankfully) nor am I caught-up in getting things done quickly. For me, it's more about making the most of the time I'm given. 

All roads lead back to the root, the core. And I know deep down, the same energy that kept me fueled to lose weight is the same energy that keeps me fueled to be active. Sometimes it’s a great burn, other times, I cannot stop it.

So why do I feel the need to always be DOING something? I’m afraid I’ll be forgotten otherwise. If I don’t do, I won’t be.

And that “won’t be” piece…that’s the kicker, because I still carry around a picture of what my perfect life should look like by now. And the larger the gap from real life vs ideal life, the more feverish I feel. The more I strive for MORE DOING…and the less I appreciate what I've done and have here. 

It seems it always boils down to opinion of perception. And I consider myself someone on the self-aware path, and even in all my years of work in this realm, I still get tricked up by the silliness of not being enough.

Instead of it being about body size, it morphed into being about productivity. I'm not enough! Like a giant universal score-card, I value aspects of myself against it. Sometimes I'm in the WINNER category...sometimes I get scared I'm in the LOSER rank. 

We've all got that thorn within us which fuels our ego-driven habits. Mine is a propensity to fix what I think is broken…and here it is, appearing again in my life.

But this time --- I've got a new plan and it's called: I'm doing jack-shit about it. 

So yeah, I've been quiet! I've been MIA! I took an extended vacation from my day-job! I've slept in until 12:30pm MANY days this week! I'm STILL in my PJs as I type at 7pm!

I don’t want to keep feeding the monster which never lets me lie still and be enough. The monster which whispers you better keep ahead or else you’ll be left behind.

Well, SCREW YOU because I've earned this rest...and damn it, Imma get what I want. 

I’ve purposefully shut off my phone, email, Facebook because I need to sit with this and face it. I need to work through it and discover I’m not going to be left on the side of the road if I rest or sit something out.

The world isn't something I’m either a part of or absent from. It's reaaalllly hard and part of letting it be hard was writing about it because I've never written about it before. 

So no, this isn't an uplifting post - it's a real and honest one about what I'm experiencing today. And it feels pretty good to say nah, I'm not going to do anything about it.