And all I got was this liberated self.
Last year, I moved to Los Angeles from Sydney, Australia, to start a job. Two weeks later, I got blood poisoning. Once streetwise and unfuckwithable, here, I found myself getting Lyfts before dark and jumping with fright at the sound of Independence Day fireworks. Every cloud seemed to spell “Surrender Dorothy.” I thought I was bigger, bolder than that. That I’d ride into my new office like Guy Pierce on the roof of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. Instead, I was more like Muriel, in that I felt terrible. “Why am I so tired?” I asked. “Why is this so hard?”
Change is hard. But hard work is a virtue, but loneliness is crushing. But America is the land of opportunity, right? These are all things I knew to be true, but they didn’t make me feel better. What did make me feel better (although I don’t recommend you try it) was collapsing and going to the hospital with blood poisoning. Sure, at the time, it sucked. I was in a critical condition. It could have taken me out. But later, after a ton of needle jabs, everything made sense.
Forcibly slowed down, I realized I was grateful for the downtime as well as relieved to have something to blame my timidity on. Mostly, I was just relieved. When you’re used to racing through life, you can forget to check your own pulse. Please check it. I’m not a doctor, but I can tell you that bad blood—the kind that exists between your ambitions and your self-care—is a very real thing.
“Sangue morto” (meaning “dead blood”) is my multi-lingual, Egyptian mom’s word for “lazy.” Something I never wanted to be. But blazing through life with all eyes on the prize and none on your body’s health? That’s not “sangue vivero”—it’s sangue stupido. Look after yourselves this week. I’ll be doing the same.
Originally published as a newsletter for Girlboss.