Proving It: My Road to Burnout
I have so much fun reminiscing about the time I lived in Chicago. I was newly single after a terrible divorce. I had an incredible job as a pharmaceutical representative and was rocking the nightclub scene. I laugh remembering how crazy and carefree I was as I fell into cabs, out of cabs, on the dance floor, off tables and in and out of love. It was a great time.
However, I never realized the toll my divorce took on me. I kept myself busy and buried myself into my new job, shopping, alcohol and men. I was obsessed with being successful. I felt I had something to prove because one of the last things my ex-husband said to me was, “I am with someone who is more successful than you will ever be!” I had made it my mission to prove to the world I would be successful.
I ended up being very successful. I won many awards as a pharmaceutical representative and then as a medical device representative. I was on the Presidents Club and was on the edge of getting promotions. I felt I had done it. I wanted to call my ex-husband and say, “look you asshole, I am more successful than you ever thought possible!” Looking back that was a lot of energy spent on proving something to my ex-husband. At the time I reached my peak success I was already married to my current husband and my first child was on the way.
I was thrilled to be pregnant but I still felt I had something to prove. I was competing in a mans world and there were standards to meet and exceed. Also, the medical device company I worked for kept moving the goal post on my performance with hopes I would give up and resign because I was pregnant. After my daughter was born I was only allowed 6 weeks maternity leave since I was under the year anniversary of employment. I remember being in surgery with the Cardiologist having my breasts engorged with milk. I didn’t even take the time to pump because in my mind I still thought I have something to prove! As a medical device representative you are competing with a ton of high-powered, type A, aggressive men! God forbid you take the time to pump milk for your child!
I got home and cried. Not only because I was so hormonal but because I felt so lost, resentful and empty. I had this beautiful new baby, a great job and was making good money! I needed help but was afraid to ask. I appeared strong on the outside but I just wanted to be taken care of. I Then it hit me. The years of trying to prove something caught up with me. I wasn’t being real with myself. I was not honoring myself. I wasn’t happy. Physically I was a mess. I was starting to get palpitations, couldn’t sleep, had chronic fatigue, and just wanted to be alone. I thought maybe it was normal. I had thrived off stress for so many years. I was burned out. I was done.
As I write this I ponder. Why do we, as women, feel we have to prove something to the world? Prove we can be just as strong, capable, and smart? Prove we can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan? Prove we can keep a perfectly clean house, take care of the kids and be a porn star in the bedroom? Are we Stepford wives, robots, or men?
The definition of prove is: “To demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument.” Did I ever really need to demonstrate my truth or existence? Do we as women? Let’s get to the core of this. It is in our egoic mind that we have created a narrative that we must prove we are enough? The reality is we are enough just by being born. Born into this female human form. We are nurturing, life-giving, and the nucleus of the household. Unfortunately we tend to live in this place of fear. It is fear that creates the drama, illusion and eventually the burn out in your life. It was the fear that drove me to success but it ended up driving me to the lowest point of my life. I lost my health, relationships, friendships and myself.
It was this awareness of my truth that catapulted my healing. I know “proving it” was a bunch of crap. I now want peace not drama. I want truth not lies. I would love to know your thoughts. Have you felt you needed to prove yourself? How did it serve you? Just be. Just be the wonderful you that you were called to be. Cheers.