Addictions run in my family, and I always wondered which rabbit hole I would fall down.
There was obviously the bulimia, which I guess counts as a form of addiction as the sufferer becomes obsessed with the purging cycle, and there were many times – mostly as a teenager and young adult – where people questioned my relationship with alcohol and where it would lead.
But as I’ve grown from a complicated and unstable kid into an adult who semi has her shit together – both physically and mentally, it’s seemed to anyone looking in like I’ve escaped relatively unscathed from inheriting any family traits.
I am pretty happy, pretty content and pretty bloody relieved to feel good in my skin every single day – even if some days it’s only for half an hour.
But I fear that my addiction is a low-level reliance on my work and the online gratification that comes with it.
That the thing that props up my mood isn’t a bottle of wine hidden behind the kettle, but a dedication to the idea of success.
I thrive off surpassing the expectations I set myself and of proving that I am more than anyone ever gave me credit for.
And, if you ask me when I’m feeling my best, when I feel the most exhilarated and alive, I’d say it’s when I feel like I’m killing it.
And I’ve come to fucking hate that phrase. Because in ‘killing it’ to the outside world, you often have to be pushing yourself to your limits, quite literally ‘killing it’. Except ‘it’ isn’t your work or your brand, ‘it’ is you.
I feel my most me when I am motivated and productive and chugging back coffee and close to getting up and chanting ‘WHO RUN THE WORLD? HANNAH GALE’.
Because that is the version of myself I like the most, the version of myself I always wanted to be, and the version of myself I have to thank for a lot of the good things in my life.
That version of myself has brought in a lot of opportunities – she’s not only bought in blogging trips and travels and experiences, but she’s bought in the money that’s allowed me to live they very life I fantasised about as a kid. She’s given me my freedom.
I get to eat out when I want, I get to buy new clothes regularly, but more than that, I get to start a family.
This ‘killing it’ version of Hannah Gale, has enabled me to choose when I have kids without worrying too much about the financial implications of doing so. And for that, I can’t be anything but forever freakin’ grateful.
She is awesome and she is my hero, but I often worry that she is also my downfall.
Because y’see, I can’t enjoy my own company without her. I hate being on my own unless I am on my own as ‘killing it’ Hannah. Being on my own without her makes me feel weak and lazy and undeserving . It makes me feel useless and sluggish and like I am wasting my life. As though one too many days without ‘killing it’ Hannah means I will lose everything I have worked hard to build.
She is constantly whispering in my ear that I should be doing more, working harder, being better. That I am only worth anything when I am chasing success and proving to the world that I am a hard grafter.
When I am busy giving a silent middle finger to anyone and everyone who ever doubted that I was capable.
I am not the ‘work-obsessed’ girl you see in films. I am not Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. I don’t blow out my friends to swan off to work events. I don’t put my career ahead of my people.
But what I do instead is I put my career ahead of me.
I prioritise getting out regular content above making sure that I am OK – or at least I guess I did before I fell pregnant.
I’d often get to that stage in the afternoon where my body was like TAKE A BREAK, TAKE A NAP, LET’S WIND DOWN, LET’S FOCUS ON YOU and I’d cackle in its face and drive out to Starbucks whilst listening to Taylor Swift feeling like one heck of a bad ass bitch.
And I don’t think that’s a healthy mentality to have. I don’t think that a reliance on anything – whether that’s alcohol or drugs or sex or work – is something that we should stand up and applaud.
Because whilst we’d shake our heads and say ‘what a shame’ about someone who relies on cocaine to get through day to day life, we’d happily give a standing ovation and a whistle and a 90-second round of applause to someone who relies on working their butt off to get through the day.
We put working hard on a pedestal, we make it this aspirational, awesome thing. We congratulate people on it.
I won’t lie, on the rare occasions I’m feeling fancy as fuck and get a massage and the masseuse is like ‘you’ve got a lot of tension and knots in your shoulders’ it always makes me want to do a smug hair flick like y’know me, just busy being a hustling hard worker, holding all my stress in my muscles.
And that’s a bloody ridiculous way to look at it, but we’re all guilty of it.
So this post is a shout out to anyone else who sometimes places too much of their self-worth on how hard they work, and to anyone who ever attempts to block out the loneliness in their own heads by chasing the never-ending idea of success.
We need to stop applauding those who place work above themselves or others.
Working hard enough to support yourself is freaking awesome, but there is more to life than figures and money and awards and accolades.
You are enough just as you are.