Out of Gas

Published on 4 July 2023 at 15:03

I have this nasty habit of leaving my gas tank empty. I can recount many, yes many, instances in my time as a licensed driver running out of gas. I have no fear or anxiety about what will happen when I inevitably run out of gas, because I know exactly what’s going to happen. When, again when not if, I run out of gas I will leave my vehicle and find means to get the gas I need. Instances like a stranger giving me a ride, walking to the nearest station, or knocking on the door of a neighbor have proven very successful and I’ve never not made it home yet. 


Even the laws of my community are in my favor, they state an abandoned car can be left on the side of the road for 72 hours without being towed by the authorities. Plenty of time. So I started leaving a note, “Ran out of gas, be back soon. -Molly”. I’ve never not made it home yet. 


I used to drive a truck, it was so big I had to slide out of it literally breaking the buttons off with the abundance of my rump. My Best Mate and I were on our way home from one of our adventures in my truck, when the light (you know the one) came on. I just needed to make it to the gas station, the closest one was just down the road. But the truck didn’t care how close the station was, it started to sputter and sputter and I was losing all the feeling of "bigness" I normally felt riding in the truck. 


“It’s all downhill” I exclaimed, and I started rocking back and forth to give the truck more motion. My mate knew exactly what to do, and joined me in my attempts. Que the both of us rocking forwards and backwards secure in our seatbelts, building momentum for the truck. Though we are running on fumes, the truck is still creeping forward. Down the hill and with our energy from within, we continue forward. We arrive at the gas station and the truck gives a sigh of relief. And so do we. I still believe we may not have made it unless we were pushing from within. 


I allow this habit to influence how I treat myself and my body. I have been burning my energy down to my last drop. I’m spending more than half of my waking hours at work depleting my energy in the pursuit of money. I have been working so hard and holding myself to unreasonable expectations because that’s what I’ve built as habits and how I’ve taught other people to treat me and what they can expect from me. 


That’s very difficult to admit, I bought into the cultural expectations almost as soon as I learned them. And, more over, I wanted to be the shiniest version of those expectations. So it’s no wonder I continue to deplete my energy down until my body shuts off. Working hard has become a badge of honor, whoever gives up the most gets to wear the badge and say they are the most selfless, the hardest working, and…. A team player. EW. 


I can recognize the hustle culture in myself. I worked to be "The Best". I wanted to be perfect so I could make the most money, keep my husband happy, and have the perfect life. I did it, and you know what… I used up all the fire inside me to get there. I am successful, I have a beautiful home, I hustled my way right into upper middle class. But, I almost didn’t make it home. 


The idea of being the best, working the hardest and never rocking the boat only made me feel miserable and sick. In my mind I was never perfect and the only thing I knew to do was to work harder. So I did, and I got closer to perfect. And the closer I got to perfect the further I got from myself. Until one day, standing in uncomfortable shoes, in a meeting with people who didn’t actually care about my well being. I nearly admitted I wanted to kill myself on a zoom meeting. I didn’t of course, because what a drag. But I'd rather leave this Earth than continue living in the direction of perfection. I like to think of this as the ultimate fight or flight. 


I’m no longer going to be a martyr for hustle culture. I need to give myself rest, nourishment, enlightenment, and fulfillment. Live life more sustainably. Maybe I’ll become a hybrid, at least I’ll be able to count on myself to keep making it home. 


“Nothing in the wild pushes itself to a level where it feels self pity” Martha Beck quoting D.H. Lawrence

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