You Look Like a Tube of Toothpaste

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you’re here, you probably need to hear this: you look like an empty tube of toothpaste.

You know the one I’m talking about, right? The one that’s dangerously close to empty for a week now and yesterday morning you roll it just a liiiiiiitle bit tighter so you can hopefully squeeze out juuuuust enough to successfully rid your mouth of that morning-breath-plus-coffee film, all the while thinking “I’ve gotta remember to get toothpaste on the way home from work tonight because I think it might actually be empty now” and then you pray to the toothpaste gods for just a little more to come out when you’re doing the roll n’ squeeze routine again that evening before bed.

I see you. Running your life, your families lives, your home, your department, your company…doing all the things for all the people who depend on you.

I see you, mama, packing lunches, making doctors appointments, playing referee to your little ones, and shuttling them to and from every conceivable after school activity.

I see you, partner, paying bills and balancing budgets, getting groceries, cleaning the house, doing laundry, making vet appointments, and planning date nights to keep the spark alive.

I see you, professional, inboxing to zero, picking up the slack, tracking all the nitty gritty details, or casting the big-picture vision, choosing a professional tone of voice for that email instead of saying what you’d really like to.

I see you – empty, running on fumes, exhausted. You’re snippy, irritable, sensitive, and on-edge even though those things couldn’t be further from the essence of who you really are. You don’t let yourself notice the empty, running on fumes, exhausted feelings I can see though. Instead, you briefly chastise yourself for being such a b and then double down on your determination to be kinder to your partner, more patient with your kids, and more understanding of the people you work with and for.  

And I know. It’s scary to notice the empty, running on fumes, exhausted feelings because if you noticed them, you might look in the mirror and see what I see, a dangerously low tube of toothpaste. Let me be the one to say out-loud what you know deep inside somewhere:

You can’t keep doing this – something gotta give.

It’s a darkly ironic circular problem – you’re too exhausted to give any space or energy to addressing your exhaustion – so let me help by telling you in plain English –  you need to ask for help. Make the call, prioritize yourself 1x/week in your schedule and your budget, and ask for help…because keeping it together isn’t the same as being okay, and you deserve to be okay. You CAN be okay.

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