I’ve always had a tendency to workaholism. To excess in general. I’ve been through two professional burnouts. People call me passionate, ambitious, dedicated, determined, resilient, hard-working, loyal. It’s all true. I am all those things.
The actual truth is, though: I work hard to prove to myself I am worthy.
Worthy of love, support, attention, respect – you name it. In my corporate career, I chased praises, promotions and raises to feel seen, valued, appreciated. After more than 2 years of constant work on myself and looking at my shadows right in the face (solopreneurship will do that to you), I can honestly say my self-worth is in a way better shape. Yet I still fall into old patterns – we all do.
Just a couple of weeks ago I worked myself to the ground for the launch of my range of herbal teas – it was fab (it really was, I just could have made it a lot easier on myself). I worked and worked and worked, it happened, then boom.
My body was like ‘non’.
I got a cold at first, it went up to my sinuses (classic Amandine) – I knew I was pushing myself, it made sense. Then I woke up that Wednesday and could barely open my eyes. My face had blown up in size.
B. was with me and immediately sensed something was wrong (he doesn’t normally bat an eyelid when I get up for my morning walk). We headed to the doctors – allergy to an unknown thing, possibly and probably the face mask I used for the first time 2 days prior (weird though, right?) – got my prescription, and headed home. My face looked less swollen and I thanked the universe my client cancelled our event that day (I was supposed to take 10 investment bankers clay pigeon shooting that very afternoon, but they cancelled out of the blue as something urgent popped up) and giving me the day off (yep – I was telling myself the UNIVERSE gives me days off – not me, the boss of me, the actual creator of my own reality). I took a long nap. That nap felt so good.
Until I woke up and my face had ballooned again, worse than before.
All I could think about was my business trip – I was flying to London the next morning for a big quarterly meeting with my freelance client. I genuinely didn’t think they would appreciate my current look… Cancelling causes me great anxiety – I absolutely hate the idea of letting people down. Even when my face is a big itchy red balloon. I almost got myself sick with worry until I finally admitted the obvious: I was not going anywhere anytime soon, other than to the doctors’.
Let me get to the point: my health did not improve and my allergic reaction got worse. My face and neck were even more swollen and covered in a red, itchy rash. My whole week was cancelled, and the universe made me take the week off. My body begged me to rest and reflect.
My body said no – and I had to listen.
That week was a blessing. A true gift from the universe and from myself to myself. It was necessary. And I am so grateful it happened.
I was able to sleep, rest, finally start the last season of game of thrones (no spoilers please, I’m on episode 6), and truly chill the fuck out. Turns out, everyone in my life was supportive – as I would be if someone I worked with got a strong allergic reaction. Nobody hates me (nobody I know of anyway lol) and the planet is still turning. The guilt of looking after myself didn’t eat me alive as it may have a few years back. So there is progress and I love seeing myself grow like this. Taking the time to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t, and reminding myself there are easier ways to do this. It is not a race, and I tend to act as if I have a team of 50 behind me. I don’t. Things will take the time they will take. And that’s ok. I’m building systems around me to allow me to keep creating the work I love and spreading the word on what really matters to me without living in fear to miss another mortgage payment and get my house (and my kitty) taken away. I was able to spot an old pattern and make the true decision to correct this. I do wish I spotted it earlier. That I didn’t drive myself to exhaustion in order to learn those precious lessons (again). But that’s the beauty of it all, isn’t it.
This is my journey. And this launch has taught me so much.
Thank you. Thank you, you wise body of mine for saying NO, loud enough. Thank you. You’ve been heard.