I was lucky, while at the CURE Childhood Cancer weekend, to attend some amazing breakout sessions. They offered a session on sibling grief, I found this very informative and learned a lot, the leader of the session not only spoke from experience she had facts to back up. She was AWESOME and informative. How often are we in a room full of others doing the same job- getting our kids through while getting ourselves through as well. I walked into the session on Self Care, embarrassingly enough, a little cocky and feeling like I do this well. I thought, just maybe, I could use a reminder. Fast Forward… sitting in a room full of people who get it and feel it all… working through the same worksheet. I think most of us sat in a room together realizing that we thought we did a good job taking care of our own self… but when we laid it out we weren’t doing all the parts of taking care of our bodies, minds, souls, health… all of that jazz.
I sat in a room where some only lacked high scores in one area… and lacked across the board. I realized that I am VERY… what’s that word Laurel???? Frenetic. I am good ad doing a mediocre job of caring for the parts of me that need to move and live and grow. I need to find center. I take care of everyone… well a lot of people, I need to take care of me. I flew a ton this past week… I heard attendants tell me over and over to take out the packet and look at the emergency procedures… and ALWAYS put your oxygen mask on first. I get the logic in that, why do I put myself last in life? I give and give, and what is left is too little for me to do much with other than sleep.
I worked a lot of self-awareness and myself these past weeks… in order to share and be stronger I need to get STRONGER. So… I thought a lot about how I have handled Madeline. I thought about how bust my life is, if my life is busy to not feel Madeline… do I put things away that I need to deal with? Am I feeling the grief of this loss… I was scared I would come up with an outcome of me not taking care of this part of her death and grief. I was instead more aware that this heaviness isn’t her. I could not sleep the night before last… I thought about all of this. I woke up to a very clear connection- a connection of this weight I have gained as a literal piece of all the grief and anger I have carried this year. I woke up with this feeling that I need to chip this mad off of me, that this weight is truly on my body… 40#’s of anger and mad and hurting. I need to chip that off my body and soul. I felt mad at me, but then I thought about it more. I have been through a lot. I can say that about my girls… but in me I am hard on myself. I need to be kind and push. I know how strong I am. I know I can chip and chisel and hammer this mad off me… so I can run and move and live lighter.
Self care is so important. I thought about how I tell so many to be kind to themselves… to take care of yourself… eat well, laugh, cry, work out, go to doctors… live well. I am terrible at filling my own needs… not even my fancy needs… just basic. I made it my job to do better on that assessment next time. I am trying. I think it is better if I can commit to this. I am going to eat and cook and make dinner with our little family and make it feel good again- not just the healthy food but the smaller table. I am going to work out and get my run in… runs help clean my brain and body. I miss that cleaning, that brain washing conversation and practice of healthy and good breathing. I need to think and be still more. I am terrible at this one. I need to find my center and build it stronger… and make the path to it easier. I need my normal self to jump to a more centered and less ‘everywhere’ me. I make good decisions, I am a great mom and I love my life… but I need to maintain a healthy pillar in the middle, not the random ropes that hold up my tent.
So… this week I worked on this. I worked in the ways I knew, as opposed to a new way. I made it to the gym. I loved up on some homemade eggplant parm… and it made me feel loved and comfortable. I cleaned my house and put out flowers and loved my space. I wrote more than I have this past month. I worked out every single day, even if it didn’t fit. I talked and went to counselling and helped me to be stronger and more sure. I tried to be still, all by myself and think. I let my Sir cook and snuggle. I slept a ton this week and last. I am trying. I hope the next assessment I look and see progress and I am not mad at me before thinking I could do better, but knowing I am doing what I can.
I think the sessions this past weekend reminded me to keep working and chugging. Those breakout sessions reminded me to assess my health, connections, exhaustion and relationships. They reminded me to keep working and building and loving.
I did well today… at least my body knows so. I worked out and caught up with friends… I got a pedicure, ate lunch with a friend and came home to take a nice bath. I am moving on to a movie night and some still time in my own house, on my own couch. I am trying to figure all these parts out and be better about the taking care of me, putting my oxygen mask on first. I think it is a big step to see the lacking areas for me… the parts that need more of me to care of me. It was a big step to really assess and be honest with myself. I think it is only fair to offer myself a shot at balance and fit and content… at caring for me and loving me. I kept wondering what I was forgetting while I did things for me… then realized that I need to just do this. I need to get to the end of today and care about me… and put some emails off (if I put your email off it isn’t personal). I need to do this important work, chip this heavy off of me and live and move and breathe sans all that heavy baggage of the soap opera parts of my life look like. Screw the soap opera, I am me… screw the ones who chose chaos and drama and mean. Screw the mad I carry… I don’t want it anymore. I am turning it in. I am getting rid of all the baggage of this past year so I can enjoy more, love me more and be healthier.
I need to refocus and refind my balance. I need to find that middle ground I worked so hard for before, the part that isn’t all riddled with rollercoasters. I took last weekend’s breakout sessions as a reminder, maybe even a challenge. I want to chip and chisel this mad off… to find the Erin that is underneath all of it. I am sick of hurting and feeling angry about what people have done and continue to do to me. I am sick of opening myself to manipulation and guilt. I hand it all back. I don’t want it, I don’t deserve it. I am a grown woman. I am me. I am the very best me I can be… and I am going to work this heavy, icky burden off. I think the epiphany I had the other day that these extra 40#’s are literally the mad I carry. I need to stop working on these 40#’s and instead work on the whole me… in doing that I will be chipping them away- bit of mad by bit of mad. Erin is more than mad, she is stronger than that… I know this as a truth in me.
So… today I woke up and enjoyed a short run with my favorite guy (minus my dad) and then get my butt kicked in a Y Fit class… seriously that guy George brought me back to that feeling of mixing cardio and weights… challenging me to finish. I highly recommend it. Now home to do some work, then go avoid work and eat Indian Food with some awesome ladies. Balance people, balance will get me back to the Erin I miss. Be ready, she is back. I am not going to let myself slump and fail, I only have me to beat yesterday’s me and last week’s me… I need to get that self-care aspect back. I see it now.
Welcome back Erin, to the world of letting go and giving it up to God. He can carry my mad. He’s got this… He reminded me. In his oh-so-clear-way… of bringing cocky Erin back to grounded Erin, the Erin who thought she was doing well at self-care and self-love… and reminding her that she has not got this. She needs to keep working… He is good like that.