Over the last few months, I have worked very hard to let go of the idea that doing nothing is a sign of laziness. Some of this translated into craft breaks and some of this translated into canceled plans with friends (who thankfully understand needing a break themselves and didn’t take it personally). For the first time in a long time, I started making a concerted effort to listen to what my body was saying that it needed instead of pushing it just a little further. If I took the dog on a hike and didn’t have the energy to make it to the top, I turned around so that I could enjoy the entire hike rather than force myself to the top in a daze. Admittedly, a lot of this attitude came from needing to cope with the changes that being pregnant brings upon your body. You can either get mad at yourself for not doing something or you can be proud of yourself for doing the best you could in that moment. Rather than spend 9 months beating myself up, I chose to do the latter.
I love a good NPR podcast because they’re both informative and easy to listen to. After beating myself up because I pulled a muscle putting on a pair of pants that prevented me from running a race I was looking forward to in October (yep, weird pregnancy thing), I found myself curled up with the dog listening to “You aren’t lazy. You just need to slow down.” by Life Kit. Though they were discussing work, Price seemed to be speaking directly to me. You’re not lazy for taking time off running, your body gave you a sign that you need to do things differently and you’re listening.
Ok, they didn’t literally say that at all, but they did discuss how we’ve been trained to ignore our body’s symbols in the interest of increasing productivity. Combine that with having just beat myself up for having bodily limitations, I decided to take what Price was saying to heart and added their book to my to-read list. This brings us to our book club today.
Laziness does not exist challenged some of the things I grew up hearing, for example, “they homeless because they’re lazy”. Now, I knew going into the book that there are many reasons that someone may be homeless and some of these reasons have nothing to do with whether or not this person is able to find work. I also went into this book knowing that if you are homeless, it becomes harder to do a lot of things, including look for work. What I had never really thought about was how much work many things I take for granted are: going to the bathroom, being able to leave my things safely somewhere, and locating an internet connection. Some of those are made harder to find just due to the stigma of being homeless!
It was also useful to read stories about people with different types of anxiety, ADHD, depression, or other mental health issues, as well as how marginalized people, in general, are quickly labeled as lazy. These individuals are often taught by society that their differences don’t matter and are given less freedom and autonomy as a result of appearing “lazy”. Having heard stories from my dad’s childhood, he was marked as a “trouble maker” early on and placed in lower-level classes. It wasn’t until he scored high on his SATs that someone finally thought about placing him in an honors course where he excelled with fewer distractions and more stimulating material. This circles back to the idea of just because someone does something differently or it takes someone longer to do something doesn’t mean they’re incapable of doing it or that they’re doing it wrong.
This was an interesting read that I’ve started recommending to friends who look like they could use a lesson in listening to their bodies.
April brings us back to fiction as I reach for one of my favorite books: Stardust by Neil Gaiman. If you’re interested in listening to the story instead of reading it, I highly recommend the BBC radio adaptation. I love portal literature that takes me away to unexplored lands and am ready to enjoy the comfort that comes with re-reading a story and visiting with characters you’ve already come to love.
In the sleepy English countryside of decades past, there is a town that has stood on a jut of granite for six hundred years. And immediately to the east stands a high stone wall, for which the village is named. Here in the town of Wall, Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester. One crisp October night, as they watch, a star falls from the sky, and Victoria promises to marry Tristran if he’ll retrieve that star and bring it back for her. It is this promise that sends Tristran through the only gap in the wall, across the meadow, and into the most unforgettable adventure of his life.