Birthing Something New

Birthing Something New

This last weekend, I took time to take care of me. My body told me before I did which is something I do not care to repeat. When I had a bout with panic attacks last spring, I thought I had it all figured out. To some degree, my self-care did get better with the reintroduction of more raw foods, etc. but I let my stress with Hubby’s newer health challenges completely rock my foundation a few months ago. Anything besides going to work, preparing for and being in Alabama at the workshop and going to doctor appointments felt like above and beyond what I could handle.

But I was wrong. I had a moment when panic set in and woke me right out of my sleep. The thing is I told myself that I would be fine and it would pass. I was right. It did. I told myself everything I should to calm myself down. I prayed for peace.  But I also realized, at 2:00am that if I am not doing anything but telling myself the right things, it will never be enough and I could only look forward to more sleep-interrupted nights.

At that very moment, I decided to implement change. I knew when the weekend hit, I wouldn’t compromise myself any longer. I made a therapy appointment, got a massage on Saturday, went to church Sunday morning and Body Positive Yoga class for women on Sunday afternoon. I am going back next weekend, too.

My body screamed at me and the only way to roar back is take care of myself before I stopped showing up for my husband and my own pursuits.

I was wrestling with the idea of incorporating a lot more raw meals at the new year. On Saturday night, I asked myself why I was waiting. So I began Sunday.

There were a couple of surprises. I had a little emotional release during my massage and although yoga was incredible, I felt a bit of panic I prayed through. These surprises showed me how deep seated the need for self-care is and how I’ve been neglecting it.

As I am writing this, I honestly don’t feel 100% like me but I feel closer. And maybe the “me” I don’t feel right now is not what I will end up being anyway.  Maybe these challenges and me addressing them head-on are supposed to birth something new.

I not only like the sound of that, I need the sound of that.

Signals

Signals

Before I took a couple of weeks off, my body told me it was time before I did. I was feeling anxious and tired but didn’t realize the extent of it. I thought this is how it’s supposed to be while you’re juggling a day job and trying to build a career from scratch on the side. I seemed to always be in a rush. Rushing to go to work, rushing to complete a blog post even if I knew in advance what it was going to be about and my mind constantly thinking about what I should be doing to take better care of myself: Lose that weight, try that skin product, watch that video on natural healing, finish reading those books, document more, promote my E-book more frequently, submit to other publications on a regular basis and be a better daughter, sister, friend, cousin, Christian, traveler, volunteer, wife, writer, student…

So when I thought I was just going about my business, the signals my mind was sending to my body shut me down. I was not going to share this but I thought maybe someone somewhere is or was going through the same thing and if I want to be anything on this blog, it is real. I am not writing about this because it’s anybody’s business except for mine but to pretend like I took a short break “just because” didn’t feel authentic. My doctor told me to slow down and that I was having anxiety attacks. It’s a strange thing to be told if you believe that everything is generally “ok” and you’re just “busy.” I am one of those people who tell myself, even in the thick of it, that I have blessings to be grateful for but I was telling myself those things while running.

In the last couple of weeks, I have taken time to go to bed and wake up earlier, journal and pray as soon as I get up and to listen to something inspirational. I lean towards a T.D. Jakes sermon or a little of John Gray. I even joined a morning routine challenge on Facebook which has helped to keep me accountable. I also have gotten back to working out and weighing myself weekly. I decided to go gluten-free (I don’t have an allergy) for 90 days. I wanted to see if it made a difference with brain fog and I don’t know if it’s because of that or a combination of all of these habits, but it has worked.

I can’t tie this up in a nice, neat bow nor do I want to. These past few weeks have made me see things with a new clarity. I still want all of the same things but slowing down to write, pray and move myself  has strengthened my resolve to be more patient about getting them and strangely a confidence has blossomed from it, too.

All I can control is my effort, consistency and the time to take care of myself which will eventually take care of the reaching my goals aspect of my life, too.

Even if my body had to tell me before I was willing to do something about it, I am glad I did. I don’t feel like I’m running breathlessly today and all I can do is be grateful for that and set myself up to feel the same way tomorrow.

Your turn: Has your body ever told you something before you realized it? If so, what did you decide to do about it? I would love to hear your thoughts!

See you on Thursday’s post with a wellness journey update!

 

Birthday Resolutions?

Birthday Resolutions?

Yesterday, my post was a quick note about my birthday. I know some of us treat our birthdays like New Years Day and make resolutions. I think I have been silently doing that most of my life. Sometimes, not so silently.

Even though there are things I declare I want to be free from or actively pursue in my 37th year, I am going to pray for, declare it out loud, write it down, type, quietly ponder about, daydream, meditate, send a message in a bottle Police style the request for patience.

All of the things I want to be free from: extra weight, psoriasis, old psoriasis scars, self-doubt, uncertainty, fibroids, laziness.

All of the things I want to pursue more actively: writing and speaking opportunities, consistent workouts, getting settled in with a church home  I can learn to trust, volunteerism and time with my friends.

All of these things can be accomplished but none of them will happen with any semblance of peace of mind without patience. My spirit, body and mind need to work in one accord to agree that all can be done but nothing will feel right or organic without recognizing it will take time. Not just saying something trite like “Rome wasn’t built in a day or I know I can’t just blink my eyes and it will be all done or God is not a genie.”

I have long needed to divorce myself from the lies, the side deals I strike with myself that sever me from the reality of the hard work, the rejection, the tears, the shrugging off of the “I don’t feel like it right nows.” I have always been able to daydream the results, almost making me feel like I am there without fully embracing the process. I skip over it in my mind except to conjure up a hackneyed 80’s montage of my sweat, hours planted in front of the computer screen and praying in a sea of fictitious people who I will one day call my church family.

I want 37 to be about falling in love with the process even in the moments when I am suspicious it hates me or just taking too long “to get ready.”

I am toasting to all of the hard work that went into 36 and what I will bring to 37 even if patience requires I don’t see the fruit until 38.

That Good Sweat

That Good Sweat

Since I wrote about it and I promised I would do it and I talked about it out loud where other people outside of myself could hear it, I went. I don’t mean to sound reluctant. It was just fear..fear of not being in good enough shape, not catching on fast enough, not being able to keep up.

So like I said, I went. I attended my first Afro-Caribbean dance class just as I declared I would in my last post. And it was exhilarating! I probably looked like a scared toddler creeping up to the door but there was no reason to fear. The instructor was kind, immediately asked if it was my first time and welcomed me with open arms.

For an hour, we danced and I felt that good sweat! If you have ever been so engaged in an activity, you don’t even realize you are drenched until it’s time to take a break, then you know of what I speak. I missed letting my body speak the words that have been muted for so long. I loved seeing my joyful, vibrant, moving reflection in the studio mirrors.  I didn’t even think about my psoriasis scars on my arms, not even once.

There was comfort being in a group of people of all sizes, shapes, colors, ages and skill level smiling and popping their bodies and bare feet to the beat. We danced in lines, mimicking our instructor’s movements and enjoyed the eclectic variety of music played. I was on a high doing African-inspired movements to the classic “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J.

I guess there is no need to ask if I am coming back.

There will be no languishing in the dark, underneath the covers this Saturday.

Just dancing in the light.

 

May I Have This Dance?

May I Have This Dance?

This weekend I will be trying my first dance class in years. It will be an Afro-Caribbean dance class. As a little girl, I took ballet and tap for a year. I loved to workout to dance videos and fell in love with Neena and Veena, the Bellydance twins’, work especially. A few years ago, I even took a bellydance class. For reasons I cannot remember now, I stopped. I still continued doing Zumba and going on walks now and again. But I haven’t committed to a class in years and I finally feel like I’m ready. Hesitant but ready. Doubtful but ready.

But as I have said before if I am claiming to be on this wellness journey, then I want to throw everything at my disposal at it. In a previous post, I talked about how my husband and I are leaving for California in mid-January. I want to see and feel a visible difference in myself by then. I want to take those runs, move every inch of this body with more ease and erase the doubts that have taken up residence within me.

What have you given up that you would like to try again?

Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge Day 2

Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge Day 2

All I can say is that I am glad that I am writing about this challenge or I would have stayed snuggled up under the covers this morning. Not a single drop of sunshine would have seen these cheeks before I had to go to work if it were not for that.

But I am doing this challenge and committing to writing about it so I threw those covers back and got going. I thought I would be sore but maybe my will to “feel the pain and do it anyway” masked whatever would have sidelined me. I am so glad I got out there. It comes as no surprise that there were no regrets about not just exercising but keeping my word to myself.

It was a little bit of bliss. My energy was elevated. I love when my mind shuts down and I allow whatever I am listening to wash over me. I also find that’s when realizations come to me. Yesterday, while I was working out to Afrifitness the words “Water-Workout-Write” came to mind. I knew I was going to be doing this challenge and out of nowhere W’s started appearing while I was dancing.

Today, it was Les Brown’s words floating in my ears that brought forth words I had started to let slip from an unfinished post a few weeks back. I was writing about roads not taken. He was speaking about how inaction in and of itself was a choice made.  Roads not taken in my life are not full of regret but I would be a liar if I claimed I never wondered how different my life would have looked if I had not moved to Tidewater post-undergrad or chose not to buy a home and travel more instead.

But I don’t dwell in what ifs because so many blessings came through those choices.

Doing this challenge means wonder will not occupy space in me. No inaction.

Just motion.

Watch out for my Day 3 post tomorrow!

The Dust

The Dust

I wrote about knowing what I need to do and committing to myself last week. I had to take a hard look at myself at week’s end and ask if I lived up to the commitment with everything I have in me. The answer was No. And then I asked myself what do I do with that? I can be as self-aware as I’d like but without execution it just fades in and out, coming to the surface until I tuck it back underneath again.

With my look back, I took action. The last couple of days, I embraced nourishing myself the right way consistently, with whole foods and imbibing green smoothies and taking myself outside and letting the sun brush my skin. I have no crystal ball nor do I want one but I am hoping I am leading myself towards a total healing with bountiful energy. The exhaustion of worrying about psoriasis and all the many scars it leaves, visible to the eye or not, redness and raised bumps that ravage the brown on my face and arms and feeling ill at ease will be long forgotten memories in time. I am counting on it because I am not just closing my eyes and wishing.

I do not live in a fairy tale.

The dust I sprinkle on this beautiful mess is sweat and stillness and emerald-colored concoctions and prayer and oh so much love and forgiveness for this body.