I have once again started another job this week, and have once again found myself in a situation where some part of my being is over-utilized past it’s ability.
This time, it’s my physicality.
Though I knew this job would be intensely laborious, I pressed onward into it with the conviction that I would eventually build satisfactory muscle to tough through the heat, the lifting, the pushing, and the moving.
I have been thrown into the deep end of hard manual labor, with hardly a moment for my body to acclimate, grow, or recover. (And have been made to feel weak and a waste of wage in the meantime for it.)
I get it. I understand. A business is a business and money makes it go round.
I knew what was expected of me and have fallen short. I have tried all week to “mind-over-matter” the situation and force my body to complete tasks that are too difficult, heavy, and hot for my physical self to bear. And I have both literally and figuratively collapsed from the literal and figurative pressure.
I have been trying to analyze why this downfall is hitting me so hard in the emotional sphere, when it only has to visibly do with my physical world and contact-
But I know better than to assume the two can ever be separated from the other. In both action and reaction, my mind has always tried to overpower and overwork my body past it’s capabilities and limitations.
The new additional variable to this dynamic is a job that asks my mind to succeed in these overthrows of my strength. A job that says, “do not hurt yourself” and then, “I need you to be able to do more.”
And the ableist sentiments I have always observed from the outside of manual labor have now surfaced with a personal sprig of shame. I find myself lamenting over my shortcomings of physical strength and ability. Embarrassed at my weakness of bone and blood that cannot keep up with the ambition of my work ethic.
I find my mind traveling back to The Accident with fresh annoyance and blame; wishing that I had recovered quicker, and blaming myself for not having had the resolve to hit the gym sooner or more vigorously.
I think back to when I had the body that I could use now, that would help me now, and I feel regret and anger.
But then I pull back, and I recognize the mental strength in even being able to process and analyze these emotions to begin with. I look back at past physical obstacles and how I was incapable of seeing the parallels in my mental and physical health. I observe others around me who berate themselves in the same way, but are unable to find the roots of their rotting sense of worth.
And I am grateful that for me, growing muscle will never be as painful as growing a sense of self-awareness. And at least that work is already done.
It’s time to train the body for (financial) survival. The mind is already there.