Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Get Out of My Way!

“I am the only person in my life who consistently gets in my way.”

This thought has been flowing through my brain since yesterday.

I had a particularly hard day yesterday, and sitting in my car with tears running down my cheeks after a tough experience at the gym, these words came into my head and have been playing over and over and over since.  And being who I am, I have been trying to figure out what the hell to do with the thought.  

I was at the gym working with my trainer, and we are working on strengthening a shoulder injury I got through some unknown  means, and things were hard, and I was feeling weak and sorry for myself, and I suddenly felt all this emotion welling up through my soul.   It was visceral.   It was big.   And it caught me completely off guard.   I felt empty.

It hit like the surf in the ocean, coming in waves, and it was all I could do not to succumb.    I felt my throat tighten, and my heart race, and the corners of my vision began to darken and I could feel tears and frustration and anger and sadness, and I stopped.   Inside I felt like an emotional explosion had happened and I was going to have a panic attack.   I looked at my trainer and said “I’m done.” 

And I wasn’t done because I had worked too hard and felt like I was going to pass out.   I was done because emotionally I couldn’t do it anymore.   So I shut myself in the office, and talked to my trainer about what was going on, and what hard a time I was having, and how I worried about this, and that, and them, and how I worry all the time, and how OVERWHELMED I am, and how shitty it all felt.   

And he didn’t shame me.   And he didn’t look embarrassed or confused.   He listened.   And I talked.   And when I was done, he said to me that I am putting myself at the bottom of my list.   And I left with this thought….

“I am the only person in my life who consistently gets in my way.” 

And I have spent the better part of 24 hours thinking about what this means.

And here is what I have come up with….

My priority is not me.   And until I realize that I deserve to be a priority to myself, I will continue to be overwhelmed with these feelings.   I have value, and until I recognize my own value, I will continue to overwhelm myself with self doubt, hate, and shame.  

I am not programmed to be selfish.  I think most women aren’t.   But I’m pretty sure when this self preservation gene was handed out, I missed the memo.   I don’t hold myself in a place of prominence, and when I start to, I allow other things to easily nudge me out until I am no longer on the list at all.

When I lower myself to the bottom of the barrel, I give up on the things that make me better.   That fulfill me personally.   That make me a whole human being.  And I am left feeling like I did yesterday.   
I cannot continue to put myself dead last, because by doing this, I am telling myself that my needs and desires are inconsequential and trivial and that I don’t deserve to want them.   Therefore, I am not worthy or having them.   Therefore I am not worth it.  

This is not the truth I want for myself.

In so many aspects of my life, I have shut down my own needs by putting myself last.   In being a wife and mother, I think this is easy to do, but it’s time I carve out a little piece of my world for me to do the work I need to do to complete myself.   I think I deserve it.   Don’t I?

So I am going to attempt to become a champion for myself.   I am going to exercise my God given right to say “NO” when I am overwhelmed with things to do, and I am going to give myself the permission I need to do a few things for myself without feeling guilty.   I am going to try each day to look at myself as I would someone else, and hold myself in a place of compassion and caring.    I will try to tell myself it’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes.  I am going to try to move gently from the place where I see myself as an enemy not to be trusted, instead to seeing myself as a stronghold for myself.   Where I can feel safe and worthy and whole.   

And then, maybe when the world starts to feel chaotic and scary, and I feel like I have a million things to worry about, I can rely on myself for strength.

I deserve to be on my list of priorities dammit.   So I guess after nearly 44 years, it’s time to get the hell out of my own way.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Awesome Lives. My Kid is Proof.

My son came up to me and told me that he was fat.  

For real.

My son.

And when I asked him where he got that idea he said that his "friends" told him that he had fat on his legs and that his muscles weren't hard.   For real.   He's 10.  

AND he has mitochondrial disease.   AND he was born with all over hypotonia.   AND he had a tethered spinal cord.  

For real.   His body has overcome all of this......And all he wants is to be skinny.

When he was a baby the doctors told me that he might never walk.   They didn't know if his muscles could handle carrying the weight of his body.  There were days we weren't sure how long he'd even be with us.

He starts soccer practice this week.   This boy who may have never walked, or even lived.   So I want to scream at these kids,  "HIS LEGS ARE FREAKING MIRACLES!   AND HE WILL NEVER HAVE HARD MUSCLES, BUT THE FACT THAT HE'S PLAYING SOCCER IS AMAZING! THE FACT THAT HE'S ALIVE AND THRIVING IS AMAZING!  THE FACT THAT HE'S HAPPY AND HEALTHY IS THE BIGGEST WIN HERE!"  But of course I can't.   So I'm here.  

I have had this thought before, and I've written it before, but I feel compelled to say it again.   So here goes.

If we as parents don't teach our children that body type doesn't mean a thing when it comes to being a good person, we are failing.   We teach them that they can't judge people based on color, or handicap, or religion.   We teach our children that sexual orientation is nothing more than who you fall in love with and isn't a reason to judge people.   We teach our children that kindness is IMPORTANT, and that being a good and gracious human being is one of the best gifts you can give the world.

But we still treat weight like a dirty little secret.    Fat is bad.   Unrealistic skinny is good.  

We have to change this.   Health is important.   Body type is not.  Period.  

So let's teach kids to see the awesome INSIDE people instead of the exterior that houses it.  Just a thought.