I’m doing it again. I can feel it coming.
We all have a push point and we all have a breaking point. The art of knowing when to push and when to pull back so we don’t break is a fine line only learnt through personal experience and error. We can be told by every loved on and influential guru online to “take something off your plate”, but when you have self-motivation and hunger and goals …unfortunately, it often falls on deaf ears until the threshold’s been crossed.
Last year, things were hard.
Work was slow. Covid anxiety was real. A lack of childcare and familial support was exhausting. Our unexpected cross country move was stressful as hell. It was tough. I was trying so hard and seeing little return and I burnt myself out in the process. By the time the holidays rolled around, I was mentally and emotionally spent. This year, I’ve finally started to see my hustle and persistence to push forward pay off. Work has picked up. Vaccinations and declining numbers have eased our isolation and anxieties. My husband and I found a groove for full-time parenting and working. We’re settled into our new home and are so grateful for it. Yet, here I am again – feeling that burnout creeping up.
Why? Because when things are good, instead of allowing myself the mental freedom to enjoy it, I let fear of losing it all take over.
This has been a pattern for as long as I can remember. I think it came with the territory as an actor. You see, as an actor you actually spend much of your career “jobless” whilst auditioning. These periods would leave me in a constant state of panic that I would never book another job again. Fortunately for me, I did. If you persevere and stick with it, you always do. That’s the name of the game, really. The long hours, early starts and all the other challenges that come with the job are nothing compared to the mental toll taken from the perseverance required to achieve success in that field.
Then, when I booked a new acting job, I’d have a brief high of relief. I did it! Another paycheck is coming! Another credit is added to my resume! I’m still here! But, it was always short lived. Very soon to be followed by …okay great, but what do I have lined up next? This job only shoots for X amount of time and then what? Back to auditioning. Back to being jobless. What if this is the last job I ever book? How long do I have left before I’m back at square one? I can’t tell you how many times I looked into going back to school or applying for minimum wage jobs in between acting gigs, because I feared I wasn’t qualified for anything else. The older I got, the scarier that reality became and with a family to support, I couldn’t manage the pressure that thought process burdened me with.
As a content creator and entrepreneur, that familiar pressure is certainly not gone, but now I feel more in control of the outcome based on what I put into the job! Unfortunately, this means I very much equate a more successful outcome with more input. This means I am constantly working or thinking about what I should or could be doing for work. I care for my daughter full-time alongside my husband, so I typically start working at 5am and clock off around 9pm. With a new baby on the way, I know this isn’t sustainable and something’s gotta give before I break…
but I’m petrified of losing the goodness that I finally see starting to come to fruition from all of my hard work.
Ultimately, there’s no clean conclusion to this post. No perils of wisdom to share. No easy breezy solution I’ve stumbled upon just yet. I simply wanted to share, because if you’re grinding away I see you and I applaud you and i want rest for you, too. In the powerful words of Kris Jenner,
You’re doing great, sweetie!
LOL, but seriously, you are. Whether you’re pushing forward or slowing down, just know it will be okay.
YOU ARE OKAY.
Shenae Grimes-Beech is an actor and YouTuber with a highly engaged community of like-minded women who are here to stand up for what they believe in and lean into discomfort, especially when it means doing the right thing.