What I give

Our lives are full of giving and taking, but today I have an urge to write about the former.

What is it that you give? To others but more importantly, to yourself.

The past month has been trying, to say the least. I am balancing school, my passions and am trying to stay stable during the isolation. It’s also been a year since I’ve been home and I have no idea when I’m heading back. When will I even feel safe enough to do so? School is all different. It’s just sitting at my desk all day clicking one Zoom meeting link after the other. Then I video call home and its another screen. And when I attend my weekly Toastmasters (public speaking) clubs, its just more screen time.

Over the past few weeks, it’s been consistently below -10 outside and it’s made me not want to go for walks. Midterm season is here and there’s lesser and lesser time to read and introspect. I feel that, slowly, these months are taking away all the good/comfortable things that help me cope.

I am still trying my best to give to others. To give them my attention when they call or text, or to help when I can. Be it listening to what’s going on with them or to offer whatever support I am capable of in that moment. I am trying but it feels like I can’t give like I used to. Or it just takes more and more strength to stay the way I was.

That’s where I turn to what I give myself. And it’s what’s keeping me afloat. Maybe the only thing keeping me going.

It’s the smallest things, to be honest. Listening to podcasts for 3 hours straight. Adding an hour or two of sleep during the day between classes. Sometimes leaving an 80 minute lecture when there’s 10 minutes left but I feel done with it. Reading the Mockingjay when I should be studying. Listening to the same three songs over and over again.

Beyond these physical changes, I’m constantly reminding myself that this is a rough time for a lot of people, so it’s alright to feel this way. It’s alright to not conquer every moment. That the goal is to get through all this and come out on the other side still standing.

As of right now, things that make me feel better in the moment, are important.

The question is “What do I need to give myself right now?”

And whatever the answer is – rest, silence, a conversation with someone, a trip to the grocery to just pick up snacks – I move towards it. While this may sound like it, it isn’t a lifestyle of avoiding hard or unpleasant things like studying. Rather, they help me find the strength I need to deal with the difficult and challenging aspects of everyday.

I’m trying to show up for myself. To listen inwards.