My job is to guide others, to offer advice where needed, to help people be their authentic self. But this time I needed what others need from me.
I’m always open and honest with you, so I’ll start by saying I’ve been having a tough time recently. I seem to be good at putting on a face, even to myself. When things fall to sh*t, I deal with it on my own and tell everyone that I’ll be fine. It’s worked for as long as I can remember. Well, until last week…
I broke. Completely lost my sh*t with the kids. Felt like the worst mum in the world. But I was done.
The word I have been using is ‘exhausted’. I was tired of how my life was. I was tired of being everything to everyone. I just needed to be me again. Not a mum, not a therapist, not a spiritual guide, Toni. I needed to be Toni.
It happened at the worst possible time as I had a 2 day workshop being held over the weekend; Self-Sabotage. A weekend where 4 beautiful souls needed my undivided attention and lots of energy from me. I’m sure you can guess that that ended up being a struggle. As always, I pushed myself and they got no less than they would have any other time, but it was hard. The workshop ended up being as much for me as it was for them. I learned a lot about what was going on with me, a lot about why I had finally crashed.
For around 5 years now my husband has worked away, every week, Monday to Friday, sometimes away for 12 days at a time and back for 3. That’s the way our life has been and to be honest it hasn’t always been as bad as it has recently. We decided back in 2019 that we would try for another baby and once the baby was born, Ryan would come back to Scotland to work. He didn’t want to miss out on another one of our kids growing up. Due to the pandemic and some other situations in our life it sadly wasn't possible for him to come home in 2020 when Taye was born. Fast forward now to 2022 and he’s still not working here.
As most of you will know, my career has done a complete 360 in the past year and so many doors have opened. Doors that I could not miss going through. The opportunities that have come my way have been incredible and I will be forever grateful for where I am at right now, but with it has come a lot more working hours and a lot more of my energy has been needed. The work that I now do requires my energy on every level possible. Clients require access to me regularly and you all know I ain’t the best at setting boundaries and saying no, especially when it comes to helping people. So, I’ve been running myself into the ground. I get lots of help and support from both our parents and my Gran every week, but it does feel like I’m a single parent. A single parent who works full time (probably way more than full time), that doesn’t really get a break unless she is going to work. I class work as a ‘break’, but since my meltdown it has been pointed out to me that work is definitely not a break, as at my work I am needed just as much, if not more, than I am at home.
I honestly hadn’t realised just how much of myself I was giving to others. Or maybe I had, but it made me feel good knowing that I was needed. Either way, I have crumbled, the tower has fallen.
The next part was the scariest. After a weekend of my own Self-Sabotage workshop and listening to friends giving me advice, I realised that I had another issue. I didn’t feel like the people closest to me where there for me through my difficult moments, not just this one, but some other tough moments over the past while. I didn’t feel seen or heard and my problems didn’t seem as important as theirs. A couple of years ago I would have just shrugged this off and continued with life, but through the deep, inner work I have been doing on myself over the past year I knew I had to break this cycle. I had lost too many people in my life from not speaking my truth. So I voiced it. I sent a voice note and let them know how I felt.
Now, this was 100% my own sh*t, I knew that this was an unmet need not being met by the people around me, because I had been blocking it. I have a deep rooted need to be heard, yet all I have done throughout my life is be silent and listen to others speak their truth. I love being the friend that everyone comes too and I love my job listening to and guiding people, but I also get majorly triggered when no one asks me if I’m okay. And that’s something that up until this week I had never said out loud.
I had a raw, authentic, open conversation with some of the people I love most. They heard me. They saw me. They embraced me. They took responsibility for how they had made me feel. Even though it was my own sh*t, it showed them that they hadn’t been showing up for me, the way I do for them.
I didn’t feel important to them, but I also didn’t believe I was important myself. It wasn’t them I ‘needed’ anything from. It was me. I can continue to give to others, but only if I also give to myself. I am making myself my number one priority, just as I advise you all to do. Hopefully Ryan will be back working in Scotland soon and I will have the time to start giving to myself again.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last week, even the clients who have messaged because they sensed something was wrong. Thank you. I am eternally grateful.
Speaking my truth has not only helped me, it has shown us all something. And that is growth.