I began my year of “seeking to embrace” by taking the wise advice of a dear blogging friend, and took the first couple of weeks of this journey to just pay attention to myself. To stand still long enough to look in the mirror at my actions and words and really see how I treat myself, was difficult because I don’t like mirrors.
Before I started this period of looking in the mirror, I already knew that I didn’t always say the nicest things to myself and I’ve been known to give myself the finger upon seeing myself in the mirror on occasion. Nonetheless, these past couple of weeks have been eye opening for me. While I would never treat anyone else with such disrespect and meanness, it seems it comes naturally to treat myself in these ways.
I found that I beat the shit out of myself for the littlest of things. Not to mention for the big stuff and everything in between. My self talk of calling myself retarded, stupid, fat, ugly, worthless, mindless, a failure, and a host of other vulgar and less then kind words that I won’t repeat here, are things I would be hard pressed to call even an enemy,let alone a stranger.
I found that I don’t pay attention to things my body is telling me. Such as how much I am hurting or that an activity as simple as washing dishes is irritating my neck and making the pain worse. I don’t use the bathroom when I need to and found that I hold it a lot. I don’t eat when I am hungry or drink when I am thirsty. I don’t stop and rest when I am tired or exhausted.
I don’t cry when I feel like crying. I don’t think about things that I should, in order to stay in denial. I found that I feel a sense of shame and am usually clueless as to why. I discount when I am angry, sad or frustrated. Often times I feel like an inconvenience.
I rarely speak up for myself when I need or want to. I rarely ask for help when I need to. I found that I keep pushing through task after task when I shouldn’t. I don’t do much for myself beyond showering, combing my hair, putting on a little lotion and getting dressed because I cannot stand looking at myself in the mirror.
I found that I have perfected the art of ignoring the signs my body, mind, or soul are giving to me, instead of listening to them. I found that saying I love myself is more than just saying those 3 words and I’ve fallen quite short in showing this through actions towards myself. I found that I am even more of a bigger obstacle in my own way, then I previously thought.
I am ashamed. Admitting this to you, my friends, is embarrassing, but in order to keep moving forward with my seeking to embrace, I must leave myself accountable. The last thing I want to do is stay stuck “here” and beat myself up because of what I’ve realized in this long look in the mirror.
I recognize that I have over come many obstacles in my life and I have come a very long ways on my journey of healing. In fact, I never dreamed I would be where I am right now. This makes me wonder about all the possibilities for my future. If I could over come all of those things, I can surely over come this.
I can embrace myself. I can.
Seeking to embrace myself is like entering a foreign country. I don’t know it’s language. I am looking at the road maps laid out before me and I am learning how to read the signs.
After a couple weeks of looking in the mirror, I am working on stopping myself whenever I catch myself expressing negative words towards myself. I am replacing them with more positive words. I am repeating affirmations to myself upon waking, and through out the day and as I go to sleep at night. I am visualizing embracing myself as I am right now. I still may not be spending a lot of time in front of the mirror but I am choosing to no longer give myself the finger when I look at myself.
I am spending more time in quiet prayer and reflective listening.
Each week, I am setting 3 goals for myself to focus on. This week it has been drinking more water, which is a habit I seem to have lost over this past year, saying affirmations daily and walking for 30 minutes each day.
During those weeks of reflecting I realized that I am constantly giving out and taking in very little. When I am at home I am in a constant mode of caregiving. When I go to work I am caregiving. Caregiving comes natural to me so it is hard for me to draw the line.
I am giving myself “me” time by not doing any type of work during the little’s 2 hour quiet time, on the 3 days I am home during the week. Instead, I am allowing myself to write, read, rest or watch “The Talk” show. I am then walking for 30 minutes on the treadmill and then taking a shower in peace and quiet. I am giving myself this time and choosing to not feel guilty.
I choose to stand in front of the mirror and see the good. I know there are good things about myself and I seek to know them. I know there are things I have done or do right. I know that I enjoy giving and that my heart bursts with love for others. I choose to believe that standing in front of the mirror will not always be this painful.
I started back at physical therapy for my neck and skull this past week. It is an intense therapy and there is only one therapist that does this kind of therapy within 100 miles of me, so I am driving an hour each way to see her and I am suppose to go twice a week. It’s been explained to me that every cell of our bodies remember everything that has happened to them even if we don’t mentally remember. This therapy brings out strong emotions and causes my PTSD symptoms to flair so after one of my sessions each week I go see a counselor that specializes in PTSD. I know both of these are tools to help me move forward so as painful as they are, I choose to embrace them.
Between the snow, cold and pain I have been isolated and not leaving my home except for my 2 days of work and now recently the therapy. Even though it is below 0 today with a –30 wind chill, I will go to my kinship support group tonight and surround myself with people that understand what it means to raise your grandchildren. I will embrace this time away from all the “togetherness” we’ve been experiencing at our home.
I stand here in front of you and my mirror and I admit that I am feeling scared, ashamed and a little lost but I am finding my way. I am seeking to embrace this journey every baby step of the way.
Until next time my dear friends, hugs & love, Lori
PS Thank you to all of you that have given me affirmations and words of wisdom and support during this journey of seeking.