‘Rest’ (The Other Mr. Whitfield)

With fluctuating self-esteem, resting can be like confectionary. Recharging is like sugar, making you warm inside, calm about the future and its plans and in the moments of meditation. Then with all rises comes crashes. You become fidgety. Conscious that people might think you’ve given up trying or can’t do as much as you used to if you lie down for too long.

Then you emerge to continue doing in the eye of that crash. Bliss is becoming active in the turn of a high mood, where you can avoid the sensation of motoring for its own sake, because to be inactive would be worthless.

Then resting began to become a necessity, as did the incessant consumption of sugar to keep my eyes open. The hiatus became less warm and greyer; my sight became less clear and speckled with the hint of red veins.

More often than not it takes hitting the bottom to extend our legs properly when we stand. I thought I was doing that to start with, but I’ve learnt that each time those hypothetical legs are growing a little tauter each time. At least now I’ve realised that identity is not the sum of your actions, but how you execute such actions. It means I’m not better by doing more, but better by diving in deep when I do.

Still people worry about me. It still appears I do too much, and to a degree that is still true. When I plan things now I try more to think more of how each thing I do will strengthen the relationship between I and the recipient; slightly different to figuring out how much to please someone.

This doesn’t seem much of a biographical muse. It’s an unpicking of a poisonous philosophy. There’s an unsteady relationship between what we do, what we are and how that is seen, and how those perspectives are inflected. The latter has been my curse, through years of misinterpretation. Even now I’m fearing the appearance of this as narcissistic and trying to figure out its practical purpose to you, the reader.

Which I guess is this: treat resting as a carbohydrate. Whatever you consume of it, let it burn long. Resting is not a sugar; if you become addicted to it and need more of it to sustain yourself, then in my experience, it seems it’s not rest at all.

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