When I was a little girl in Davao City, I remember this game we played almost everyday. It was called ‘taya’ which means ‘it’. It was our local version of “Tag”. I remember running like the wild wind while my heart beat like a fiesta drum. Beads of sweat would form on the top of my lip and then pour down my red face in the humid heat. No cares, no worries, except needing to run from the ‘taya’ whose sole purpose in life at that very moment was to tag you. Then you were ‘it’. I remember loving and hating this game. For one thing, I didn’t like running much. Two, I hated getting chased by the bigger, faster and rougher boys. Their tags hurt noh! I was one of the slower runners so I’d always get tagged. So I learned to yell “Time out! Time ooooout!” when I was either too tired or just plain annoyed. Time outs were allowed as long as you declared it. Sometimes the taya listened. Sometimes they didn’t. What mattered was I got to stop running. I got to rest. I was able to catch my breath.
A few decades later and a new kind of running is going on. Not the kind where one hits the pavement with her red Nikes but the going and going at this thing called life. Not the endorphin high running but rather a beat-up, don’t-stop-now because there are calls to make, shopping to do, photos to edit, cleaning to finish, school meetings to attend, meals to make, blah-blah-blah…and that all too familiar to-hell-with-all-of-it feeling at the end of the day. No stopping. No time outs. Not allowed. Or so I thought.
When did I begin thinking this way? When did I begin forgetting that time-outs are allowed? I don’t know exactly. But what I know is that at a certain point in my life I just forgot. I bought into the DIY Corp and all of it too. I remember thinking how utterly stupid the word “relax” was when I heard Jack say it to me. It sounded so stupid that I had to stop momentarily and give him the are-you-out-of-your-mind Cruella Deville face and barking —
“What do you mean ‘relax’? What the heck is that? Who has time for that?!?” I snapped at the poor guy who was only trying to help. (Sorry, honey. Lesson learned.)
This twisted amnesia lasted longer than it should have. I went on like this until Life found a brilliant way to give me its brand of time out. Too many sore throats and another run-down, flu-like symptom and I’m coughing again? Life forced me to shut-down and shut-up. Literally. Instead of listen, true to Chiqui-form, I fought at the absurdity of it all. I cursed the gods of health and wellness for abandoning me yet again. Hated and hated some more. It was self-directed. On the outside I put up a brave front. “I am supermom. Hear me roar!” I squeaked instead, my throat too raw and painful for anything else.
I was faced with the toughest illness of them all: falling flat on my face out of love with myself and the whole world. I started hating myself and with that my husband and family, my friends, my whole life. One very smart woman confessed this: It’s when I pamper myself that I feel least selfish, righteous and plain evil.
Whatever it’s called, I’m yelling “time out!”. I choose it for myself. I choose it for my family and friends who deserve a whole, calm and non-evil me.
And all together now…relaaaaaaaax. It’s allowed. 😉
***Thanks and big LOVE go to Sylvie for our Time Out session at Second Cup last night. What a relaxing and fun evening. I am recharged! Let’s get more of that exquisite Butter Tart next time! xox, Chiqui