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The Flex Is in the Nothing

“What did you do today?”

“NOTHING,” is a perfect answer. I have seen motivational memes telling us not to say “nothing,” that we are supposed to say that we rested or that we plan to recharge.

Why? Who are we trying to impress? The people who don’t give themselves permission to do nothing? Or the hater in our own minds who can’t just give us a freakin’ break? The hater that pushes us so hard that we have to get sick just to take a load off?

It’s these action words that we are avoiding. They come with a demand that we be doing something. They come with the judgement that we are not worthy of just being—in our own skin, with our own selves. Who is making these demands on adults?

Many of us are brought up this way. The adults in our homes could not bear to see us do nothing—and as the parent of teens, I get it. However, in this age of world-dumpster-fire, I am all for an occasional day of nothing for young people too, as long as it isn’t killing their eyesight by staring into a phone screen. Growing up seeing the ever-growing envy and demand for the biggest possible screens on which to consume our entertainment, I never would have thought I’d have to force my kids to watch TV instead of consuming nothingness on the smallest screen ever. But anyway…

Let us make space to dream. Visualize. Plan. Make goals. On those action days, that is. But let us allow one another the beauty of the nothing days.

The nothing is rest. The nothing is a recharge. The nothing for me describes my day, even if I spent it watching television, reading a book, looking up new recipes, and scrolling Pinterest. Feeling the need to explain my actions to someone is a stressor, a something. I choose the NOTHING.

“What are you going to do today?”

Take care; some folks will see your nothing and try to give you a something. RESIST. Sometimes, you have to pretend you have some somethings in order to get your nothing on. And, if that has to be a secret between you and yourself, so be it!

The flex, my friends, is in the nothing. Our days are filled with various stressors and somethings that are outside of our control. On the days that we can make a choice to just BE in some delicious NOTHING? Priceless!


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Tahira Chloe Mahdi is an author, screenwriter, independent arts & culture journalist, and community psychologist. Her latest novel This Is Not How It Was Supposed to Go is a wild, explosive adventure into the dynamics of adult children living with their parents, young women’s sexual agency, and close-knit suburban hood communities.

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