It’s said that the disabled are the largest stigmatized population of which any person can become a member at any time. This frequently comes to mind when I see people on social media speak with a certain amount of pride about hustling so hard that they haven’t slept more than a few hours in a week. When I see women that I admire scoff at the idea of self-care, I shrink because I’m often reading their words on my phone while lying in bed, engaging in the most intense self-care that I can manage.
Should things be just a little bit different, I’d be right there alongside them. After all, my work ethic and ambition haven’t gone anywhere, despite my dedication to doing nothing for hours per day. It’s my work ethic and ambition that call my “doing nothing” laziness; and laziness, or sloth, is cause in our go-go-go society for shame of the highest order. In “On Productivity Anxiety,” writer Rachel Vorona Cote recounts her need for “ritualistic assurances” of productivity from her husband. “Did I work enough today? Did I seem productive?” are the questions she asks of him before ultimately falling asleep. In a society that holds productivity as unequivocally good, to do less feels like a moral failing.
—from “I’m Chronically Ill and Afraid of Being Lazy,” an essay I wrote for Elle