No one cares; and that’s actually pretty awesome

No one cares; and why that's actually pretty awesome: autoimmunity, the hustle and self care from http://meatified.com

So here’s the thing with the internet.

Half the time I feel like it’s yelling at me.

Do more. Write more. Blog more. Photograph more. Hustle more. Create more. Post more. Be ALL THE THINGS more.

And so, without realizing quite how much I’m internalizing all those “more” messages, I pop myself right back onto my wee metaphorical hamster wheel and peddle like a mofo. Because heaven forfend I stop for just a minute. I might miss out. People might abandon me if I’m not living up to their expectations. I might suddenly look around and find I’m alone because EVERYONE ELSE IS PEDDLING FASTER.

The great thing about food blogging is there’s such a big, diverse and inspirational community out there. The wet-my-pants part of food blogging is basically the great thing flipped on its head: there’s always someone else out there who can blog more, create recipes faster, be available 24/7 no matter how busy or perfect their life appears on the surface. Step on up, folks, bloggers are here for our weddings, bar mitzvahs, children’s parties, anniversaries, vacations and more!

I mean, when people are still keeping up with their business social media accounts on their wedding days, I’m starting to feel like this whole thing is getting a little bit counter intuitive: how healthy can we “healthy” food bloggers be when we’re apparently drowning in the need to keep up and not stop for one minute?

And while the sane part of me is questioning how healthy it can possible be to be always on and always available… the scared part of me is wondering WHY I CAN’T KEEP UP when everyone else seems so freaking perfect. Because I’m human and apparently we all love a bit of masochistic self-comparison once in a while. Or something.

 

No one cares; and why that's actually pretty awesome: autoimmunity, the hustle and self care from http://meatified.com

But I’d bet my now-sodden-pants that almost everyone feels the need to hamster hustle at some point. Because it’s near impossible not to internalize that messaging of “success comes to those who drive themselves half into the ground” that the internet seems to bombard us with. “Just don’t stop or you might miss out”, it whispers in our ears. Oh, and don’t forget to HASHTAG ALL THE THINGS and look perfect while you’re at it.

And I’d bet you a clean set of undies that we bloggers aren’t alone in that fear of losing momentum and letting the façade slip. When it comes to success, the internet often yells at us that it will come IF WE JUST DO MORE. If we just blog harder. Mom harder. Friend harder. Spouse harder. (I’d add “sex harder”, but I’m not Ash Ambirge.)

And that, my friends, is the biggest recipe for autoimmune implosion EVER. Or just, you know, the general destruction of a healthy self esteem. No biggie.

Stress, anxiety and the ever-constant nagging feeling that we’re just not trying hard enough and just need to HUSTLE HARDER, DAMNIT. It’s the perfect storm. And a purse-sized umbrella isn’t going to cut it.

So I just took about a month off blogging. I didn’t post any new recipes, I didn’t blog, I didn’t put anything on Instagram. Why? Because I found myself feeling guilty – while celebrating my WEDDING ANNIVERSARY – for not posting enough or “keeping up with” blogging. And I realized how negative a voice that was in my head. I mean, I probably shouldn’t be worried that I haven’t posted enough today on my anniversary, right?

Noone cares; and that's actually pretty awesome: autoimmunity, the hustle and self care from http://meatified.com

SO I JUST STOPPED.

I read books and walked barefoot in the grass. I stopped following what other people were doing. I stopped using social media to beat myself up. I stopped worrying about creating because I felt I had to. I wrote self indulgent drivel and bought journals and pretty pens. I enjoyed my garden and lying in the sun and time in the mountains. I took obnoxiously long baths with bubbles and wine and candles and all that girly shit. I spent time with myself and my heart and my soul and I just: listened. I finally, truly had a glimpse of what it meant to care for my self.

Social media-wise, I disappeared.

AND NO ONE CARED.

No one noticed what I didn’t create. They didn’t notice my silence. They didn’t notice I wasn’t present.

Which was the very thing I was terrified would happen. Oh, look: I’m invisible! No one cares, no one needs me, everything I feared while laying in bed at 3 am about being unimportant and a failure just came to pass.

AND IT WAS AWESOME.

At this point, you’re wondering if I’ve had too much to drink on a Wednesday afternoon, right?

But the truth is, stopping and being totally unnoticed in any way was absofuckinglutely liberating.

There's more to self care than #treatyoself from http://meatified.com

BECAUSE PEOPLE HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO THAN NOTICE WHAT I LACK

The fact is: people notice what I DO. They notice what I create, what I share and what I give to the world. And if they’re not looking at what I’m not doing (yay double negatives)… that means I’m free to do whatever I want. Whatever brings me joy. Whatever speaks to my soul. Or my stomach. I mean, I am a food blogger after all.

Which means that I can happily throatpunch that BE MORE, WORK HARDER, EVERYONE’S BETTER THAN YOU voice.

And instead focus on being me. Self care pauses and all.

I learned that true self care was the iron clad hurricane shelter to the perfect storm of autoimmunity and negativity, stress and self doubt. Self care isn’t just painting your nails, buying some flowers or a case of #treatyoself.

It’s sitting with your soul. It’s stepping into your own voice. It’s letting yourself hear those whispers of truth that maybe you weren’t ready to listen to before. It’s taking the time to know yourself truly.

True self care is sitting with your soul; it's stepping into your own voice from http://meatified.com

I learned that I don’t want to keep up, or hustle harder. I want to live vibrantly, healthily and happily in the face of my autoimmune disease. I want this space to turn into more of a community than a recipe index. I want us all to realize that we’re more than our social media presence.

And that sometimes, no one caring can be a truly liberating gift.

Although I’m easing back into my more creative endeavors starting September, I don’t want to lose sight of the lessons I’ve learned in the last month or so of listening to and taking care of myself. I’ll be taking part in the September Self Care program which starts September 5th and is just perfectly timed for me! Enrollment ends Sunday 4th September at 12pm PST.  You can follow along on Instagram whether or not you’re doing the program yourself: just watch out for posts using #septemberselfcare if you’re interested!

No one cares; and why that's actually pretty awesome: autoimmunity, the hustle and self care from http://meatified.com

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25 comments

  1. I absofuckinglutely agree Rachael!! This message is so so important so thank you for sharing your real experience and insight. And so glad to have you in this program coming up.

    1. Thank you so much, Kari! I definitely find it nervewracking to write more personal posts like these, but it felt good to get this all out there! And I’m super excited for September Self Care – the timing of it just feels like a little gift at just the right time <3

  2. Well said!!!
    Thank you for everything that you do, post and create it has helped me heal and become the “old” me but a new and better version 🙂

    1. Wow. Thank you for stopping by and leaving me such kind words. I’m so happy to have been able to help you even a little on your way. Words like these renew my faith and purpose in what I’m doing here, so I appreciate you taking the time to share them with me – sometimes blogging can be a little lonely! 🙂

  3. I totally noticed you were gone! And hoped that you were enjoying your time away. You were missed. You have a wonderful voice and you being you is the best part. I find your musings inspiring and/or thought provoking and your food is always delicious. I’m thankful for everything you’ve shared so far and anything you might share in the future. #bemoreyou
    I get it though. I stopped posting my dinners a few weeks ago on IG as I just didn’t want to make it pretty or have to conform to some sort of #hashtaggable box. It’s been a nice reprieve. ;-D

    1. Thanks so much, Shelley! I often feel rather anxious sharing anything non-food, so I’m always happy (and somewhat relieved) to hear if something I’ve shared is helpful! I definitely learned that a break from IG is a good thing and I think I’ll be doing that semi regularly from now on: social media can definitely be a double edged sword. Big hugs to you! 🙂

  4. Can I second the absofuckinglutely!?! WORD: “Self care isn’t just painting your nails, buying some flowers or a case of #treatyoself. It’s sitting with your soul. It’s stepping into your own voice. It’s letting yourself hear those whispers of truth that maybe you weren’t ready to listen to before. It’s taking the time to know yourself truly.” Amen, Rachel, amen.

    This resonated so deeply with me. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for taking the month off. Thank you for coming back to share it. Thank you for the kick in the butt to plan my vacation I’ve been putting off because I thought I would “fall behind.” I needed to hear this message from you today. All of those Alan Watts books I’ve been reading evidently didn’t hit home like this post did.

    1. Thank you so much, Lauren. I was definitely a little nervous about sharing this post, since I don’t usually stray too far from the recipes usually, but I felt really strongly about this one. I’m so glad that you found it helpful — and even more glad that you’re going to go ahead with planning a vacation. Screw falling behind! Big hugs to you, lady!

  5. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but I noticed your silence. I didn’t begrudge you for it tho. Whatevs. Life. Figured you had something better going on. I only notice the good ones anyway…quality over quantity! I’m gonna go start on some ribs, cider greens, and German potato salad from Nourish for today’s eats. Toodles!

    1. Well, I’ll totally admit that it’s pretty lovely to be missed, so thank you! But I’ve learned not to take it personally when everyone else is just busy living their lives, too 🙂 And I’m totally with you on quality over quantity, in pretty much every area of life. We’re making ribs today, too! Hope you have plenty of leftovers to enjoy today — that no-cook day after a big weekend cookout is always my favorite thing.

  6. Thank you for not being here… and then telling us all about it. It was liberating for me too. With all the technology out there, I often long for the good old days. I really need to take a step back and focus inward, rejuvenate and ground. Thanks for the okay to do just that.

    1. Oh, gosh, I so hear you. I think what I’ve learned from this is that I’m going to take regular little breaks from social media to focus on just what you said: rejuvenating and re-grounding. There are so many great aspects that come from our potential to be connected through technology, but connecting back with ourselves seems to be just as important, if not more so. Big hugs to you!

  7. Wow. Just what I needed this morning.
    I’m not a blogger but I’m a very ill Hashi’s girl right now finding it hard to rest, like the walking dead; unsure if it’s my own feelings or society’s expectations driving me, maybe both. Probably several factors. Well, society can get the hell lost! Because no one cares anyway, right?! I’ll do my best this week to just self nourish.
    And Rach, I’ve been cooking from Meatified the last couple weeks as I transition to AIP, and your German Potato Salad is a revelation beyond expressing – potato salad is a big tradition in my euro family, so thank you for making AIP not just easier but delightful!
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Sometimes it’s really hard to give ourselves permission to rest, isn’t it? I know I felt terribly guilty a few months back when I got sick and couldn’t blog and so on… and I had to give myself a wee self talk about how it was absolutely ok to rest and heal and just.. be. I’m very much a perfectionist and set very unrealistic standards for myself, so it’s really good for me to wind down, take a step back and realize… the only person holding me to those crazy ideals is probably myself! And we certainly deserve to take care of ourselves, however much the culture around us seems to idealize the opposite. Eff that noise!

      So happy to hear that you’re enjoying Nourish! Honestly, it does give me a little giggle every time somebody loves that potato salad, because my husband was pretty key in me getting that one right (he lived in Germany for quite some time) and every time I tell him someone loves it, he gets the biggest grin on his face 🙂 So thank you for sharing that with us both!

      1. Rach, it’s like you are in my HEAD!
        I too have that perfectionist trait so I will keep your words in mind; I’m a single mum so it’s good to get another perspective to help reel me back to reality!

        Thanks to your husband for his role in the potato salad genius ?
        I’m also loving the green curry paste, brekkie meatloaf, purple slaw and Swedish meatballs; I think they will all become staples in my house. And trying more recipes soon!

        Take care and thanks for being a great AIP resource ❤️

        1. So happy to help you out and that you’re enjoying the recipes, that totally makes my day! Perfectionism is pretty much the worst, because nothing ever feels good enough, so I constantly have to tell myself that doing something AT ALL is an achievement. ESPECIALLY with autoimmune disease. Because that isn’t tough enough without us beating ourselves up mentally, too *eyeroll* Keep on being your badass self, lady! <3

  8. I’ve myself have given up my hamster wheel and am amazed at how much more I get accomplished. AND I always think it’s great when my favorite blogs tell me they’re going on vacation. I’m certainly not a machine and people who pretend to be are either not telling the truth or have multiple TEAMS to keep up the illusion, and it is an illusion. Stay real and stay healthy.

    1. Yay for abandoning the hamster wheel! *fistbump*

      I’m actually a pretty shy, keep-to-myself type, but I’ve been trying lately to share a bit more of the personal / open stuff because I think it’s SO important that I don’t contribute to that “everything is perfect” culture of social media. Especially as an autoimmune blogger! It seems dishonest in some way. That said, this was a really easy post to write because I really felt it.. but a terrifying one to post, because I’m never quite sure how anything non-food / recipe is going to be received, you know? So I’m really thrilled to hear that it resonated with you and I want to say thank you for making me feel like this is a safe space to be a little more open and transparent 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for this post, the best and just what I needed! I tend to be competitive in nature, and a driver, yet this is contrary to having, and living with, auto-immune disease, and not just one but several. Whan I am pushing, and driving, my health and my relationships suffer. I am trying to get my own blog up and going, wondering if I can pull it off, while working 2 jobs already. This is what I need to remember to keep my head on straight. Thank you for sharing and for leading the way!

    1. So glad you found it helpful! Sorry for the slow reply, but it seems I’m not quite done with my digital breather just yet 😉 I’m not particularly competitive, but a ridiculous perfectionist so I totally identify with what you say about that being contrary to living with autoimmune disease. I think both tendencies add extra weight and pressure to our lives without perhaps meaning to, and it’s a real relief to realize that those habits or traits aren’t serving us the way that the world seems to tell us they will. Big hugs to you 🙂

  10. First, thank you for your blog and wonderful recipes. You can be missed without being judged. None of us would be here if we weren’t sick. I am almost 70 years old and have been sick all my life, with not much help from conventional medicine. I am so grateful for people like you who are so generous with your time, knowledge and talent. My advice to you is to slow down, enjoy life, be secure in yourself and know that you are loved and appreciated by people you don’t even know.

  11. Courtney Carver of bemorewithless addresses this very thing. She has a group on fb (if you want to go there!), The Busy Boycott Challenge, that supports chill time for all of us who feel guilty getting off that hamster wheel. Not a blogger, I am owner/baker of a micro bakery ( a very big small business!), selling my product at our local farmer’s market. It’s a 26 week marathon and I push myself too hard, usually crashing mid market. Not good for anyone, me my, family, my customers. It’s so sad that I feel I need to rationalize doing a bit less for my own sake. I’m a work in progress. So happy that you are taking action, making changes in your own life. Food blogs that post periodically show me that the authors must be trying to maintain some balance between work and home. Do what you need to do, I’m with you!

    1. Thanks so much, Valerie! I think I have a really hard reconciling myself to the fact that I simply cannot push myself as hard as I either want to, or feel I should. So I’ve been working really hard on separating those two things lately: unpacking the difference between what I really WANT to do vs what I feel I “should” do. That way, when I am choosing to expend what is sometimes really limited energy, I can make sure it’s on things that make me happy rather than things that drag me into a mire of negative self comparison, which is so, so pointless. I feel very much like you do, when you speak about rationalizing doing less — I’ve been working on switching from that mindset of “me time” being something somehow frivolous or something of least priority, but it’s definitely hard. Maybe I should write some more posts along that vein, since writing this one really did help me get a load off my mind and kind of give myself permission to own those feelings. Ack! I’ve written a novel here! I hope you, too, can find some time for yourself. Big hugs to you!

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