I’m a sunset person, exclusively. I think they’re better than sunrises: more accessible, attainable, and wholesome by some kind of virtue of a day going to rest.
My husband, a Certified Morning Person, has historically teased me about not having enough experiences with sunrises to know for sure. But these days, I’m trying to own it: you’re looking at a sleepy gal, who will likely never see the first rays of the sun by choice.
Maybe it shouldn’t be all that profound, but there’s a radical release in being okay with who I am.
A couple weeks ago, I told my therapist about my hellish month, all of my own making: I threw a detailed party where I made all the decorations right in the middle of chaotic work projects, decided to do some home renovations before guests came, hosted my parents for a week, and waited until the very last days to write 10+ magazine articles for my biannual deadline.
This isn’t the first time: nearly every month holds a version of the same cycle, which involves some variation of perfectionism, an inability to work ahead, and then pulling it off at the last minute, no one the wiser. My clients will never know that I started a project the day before I promised it; magazine readers will never see the timestamps from several consecutive all-nighters.
Each time the cycle repeats, it’s followed by a heavy dose of frustration and shame and resentment: at myself, at my bad habits, at my inability to change.
Because I’ve tried to change. Again and again and again and again.
I’ve tried to be the person who wakes up early with a green smoothie and a workout and attacks the day with a fresh attitude.
I’ve tried to work on projects, articles, assignments as soon as I receive them.
I’ve read books and listened to motivational speeches and started therapy and asked for help and tried and tried and tried to change all the things I can’t seem to shake.
I tell myself it’s who I “should be.” It’s never worked.
Even still, I expected my therapist to offer some tips on time management or healthy habits or some way to keep my adhd better in-check. Instead, she surprised me.
“You know…you’re probably never going to change,” she said. “Maybe instead of fighting who you are, you embrace it. How much time and energy have you wasted feeling guilty or frustrated about yourself and creating more stress, instead of simply accepting that it’s how you operate? Especially since it works well for you?”
I have wasted a lot of time. A lot of energy.
Suddenly, I had permission to view my habits as a gift (or in her words, superpower!), rather than a hinderance. It has become clear, with the failed attempts, that my body and brain and system is wired to function this way.
And maybe it’s not wrong.
My therapist suggested that I accept who I am, let go of the expectations I harbor about what I “should” look like. There’s a fine line between evolving into a better version of myself and digging into self-resentment over things I can’t (and maybe don’t really need to) change.
Pictured here: me enjoying a sunset, instead of a sunrise—and not really giving a shit otherwise.