I uttered those words to myself during a yoga class last night as instructed. I must spend a lot of time apologizing for the space I take up because I choked up every time I freed the sentence from my mouth. I must have been apologizing internally while shifting on the couch or the bed or scooting past someone on a trail or a sidewalk without even realizing it. Or every time I said or wrote or posted something that had the possibility of upsetting or making another feel discomfort. I like to think of myself as someone who wasn’t apologizing or shrinking but I am not that good of a liar.
And I shouldn’t be.
I don’t want to get good at lying or suppressing the truth to myself. It all begins with me. It all begins with how I choose to talk to myself.
How I choose to take up space.
In class last night, we spread our arms wide. I moved my outstretched arms and open palms left to right in my darkened guest room. I forgot about all the other people in virtual community with me on the screen and felt the wind from my back and forth motions.
I set my intention to be free for 45 minutes.
Even when my arms trembled from strain. Even when my breasts and belly blocked my view of the screen. Even when grace did not find me.
I missed my Miracle Morning session today. Some version of me woke up at 4:45am, shut off the alarm and passed right out.
I made a promise to myself that if I missed a day of anything (even bloglikecrazy), that I wouldn’t treat it as if the world has suddenly come crashing down on me. I am going to keep that promise and focus on what I feel grateful for today.
Being able to sleep a full night. That is not always possible for me but especially not the last couple of days. Between anxiety, general restlessness and the state of the world, I tend to let my thoughts run me ragged until consciousness gives way for a few hours. Even with prayer. Even with deep breathing. Even with counting as if I have a residency on Sesame Street. Last night was peaceful and my journey to sleep was swift.
My self-care writing session with my co-workers yesterday. Saying yes to vulnerability and the willingness to express how they combat loneliness were acts of bravery. I was facilitating but it was still one of those experiences where you say to yourself: “I got to be in the room for this.”
Receiving a picture of my precocious and beautiful niece, masked up and ready for socially distant kindergarten. I am sending all of the “Auntie loves you. Auntie is proud of you” vibes I can.
Maybe there should be more but that is all I want to recognize today.
I was recently asked what I was doing to take care of myself.
I paused and realized I didn’t have a good answer. I am unable to take the writing class I want at this time. The additional work I have taken on is worth it however, I have not yet struck a balance yet. Balancing work, home life, exercise and adequate rest. So I am making time right now to write, with eyes half closed, Sixers game in the background, contemplating reworking the poem I wrote yesterday.
I may have slowed down but not to a stop. I am also not discouraged. Maybe letting go of the pressure to post so often has been the self-care I need. I think there was a part of me that would have felt forgotten and all of my hard work would have somehow washed away if I took the break that I needed.
But that is just clinging to fear which serves no one, least of all me.
I am going to trust myself. Trust the writer I know I am and the audience who will find me.
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.
I wrote a post months ago about having to say no in order to say yes to myself. Well, I am doing it again. I have been working extra hard lately and tonight, I will nourish myself and rest. I also thought about something special to share. I have made many vegan dishes–mostly cooked but several raw vegan. I had many favorites like African peanut stew, Raw No Bake Brownies, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, Sweet Potato Enchilada Bake, Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo and Raw Taco with Cashew Sour Cream.
I look back and think how proud I am that I pushed myself to find and cook these recipes. I didn’t just rely on salads (but I have made plenty of those!). I can’t believe it took this long to become more creative with my cooking but mostly I am grateful that I used this as a way to take better control of my health.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings as I start to prepare more raw meals and watch food play a much bigger role in my healing.
I will be back to blogging in two weeks–March 19th! I need to take time for self-care, time for me. I will miss writing here but I am grateful for being able to take the time I need to focus on me. Be well!
Just a quick update. I am actually listening to my husband and slowing down today. If I don’t really rest, I won’t be able to recover and finally send this cough on its way. I attempted to do one workout and was coughing most of the way through and realized that this was madness. Why would I think slowing down to take care of myself is failing my challenge in any way? My intention was to keep my commitments and to do that, I have to be at my best and practicing self-care is a major part of that. So, I’m keeping it short, drinking my water, taking my medicine and winding down for the rest of the night. And I will be submitting that essay tomorrow!