I feel the need to address the elephant in the proverbial room- I have been less than steady with writing. I started this blog with all of the fire in my belly and courage that I could muster. I was consistent. I was publicly working through my demons and personal insights. And then I ran out of spoons. I ran out of introspection. I ran out of courage, I think.
As I sit here, my fingertips resting on the keyboard, I am still paralyzed. I have no idea what I want to say. What theme will course through this post. I know I need to begin taking steps- even if small ones- but I am unsure which direction to go. My feet are full of lead- too heavy to pick up. The task feels overwhelming.
I have been toying with this post for two weeks now. Examining the words in my mind, pretending I was compiling it’s framework. Really, I was waiting for an excuse. Blood work. A concrete reason- with no responsibility -for how I am feeling. A scapegoat, really. I was going to write all about the spoon theory and how my lack of writing just really hasn’t been my fault- the evil is this self-destructive body of mine.
Well, I got said blood work. I trekked my way downtown and endured my crotchety, rude endocrinologist. I told him my body felt off. I told him I was sure my thyroid levels were off. All the signs were there. Symptoms that feel like old friends- albeit unwelcome. He made assumptions and made me feel like I was on trial. Not the most fun morning, but a necessary evil to get the information I needed.
I did not get the answers I wanted. The answer I was sure was coming. Instead my results said my thyroid is fine. My medication is doing it’s job.
I haven’t felt that defeated in a long time.
So out of touch with my own body. With my own mind. The tailspin I found myself in had no easy way out. No simple answer that lacked responsibility on my part. Because if it was my body’s fault, I didn’t have to feel guilty. I didn’t have to feel broken. I didn’t have to feel like a lost cause. I didn’t have to feel like a prisoner to my aching joints and anxious mind.
I didn’t get the easy answer I was searching for. Instead, I got more questions. More self judgement. Shame.
Here’s the deal- I have an autoimmune disease. It makes me feel crummy. It can stop my life in its tracks. It can distort my mind. It can bring me to my knees and make me a shell of the woman I want to be. And over the last couple of months, it became my excuse. My excuse to ignore the hard work- the scary introspection. The easy way out. The reality is, I haven’t been taking care of myself. Physically or emotionally.
I haven’t been eating– I have been finding the excuse of exhaustion to forgo dinner. The lack of time in the mornings to make the protein shakes that previously nourished me. Maybe, deep down I didn’t find myself worth the time- the effort. And this very possibly has created a vitamin deficiency. Diet impacts the body more acutely when an autoimmune disorder is present.
I stopped running. The lack of sustenance- combined with a realization that my body doesn’t handle heat well- made it feel impossible. An insurmountable mountain that made me feel worse, not better. A source of self contempt instead of triumph.
I stopped taking care of myself altogether.
That’s tough to say out loud. It’s tough to admit that I shut down- that I shut out people that want to stand by my side, even when my side can’t get out of bed. I became the bad guy- the villain that resided in the shadows of my consciousness. A domino effect.
That sounds really dramatic- like I am still trapped in the spiral of self loathing. But it isn’t. There is a freedom in taking responsibility- without allowing the crushing pain of judgement. To examine a fact of my behavior without allowing my brain to render a verdict. To recognize the truth of a matter solely for the mission of learning from it.
Maybe my feet aren’t cemented to the ground like I thought when my fingers first began striking the keys. Maybe I am taking steps- though they feel small. I have to remind myself over and over that they are enough. That small steps add up to larger spaces traversed.
The road to a healthy me is a lot longer than I anticipated. I became complacent- arrogant in my progress. Please don’t misinterpret that- a pride in hard work is good. It’s healthy. But I became so ensconced in feeling empowered, that I stopped the work. I allowed myself to bury my head in the sand and revert to old habits. I subconsciously allowed myself to stop working. To blame others for my shortcomings. To allow fear to take the helm.
So I guess, where I sit is a scary and vulnerable place. I’m not as far into the “better, healthier me” as I thought. It is taking all of my fortitude to resist the natural inclination to chastise myself for that. That’s the easier thing to do. Forgiveness is hard. Forgiving myself for the unhealthy parts of my brain is difficult for me. I worry that if I forgive myself for stumbling, I won’t change. I won’t grow. Maybe I’ll just forget instead.
I have come to recognize that I have to take care of myself to care about those beautiful individuals that fill my life the way I want to.
And that means eating. Making time for myself- be it running, reading, or stuffing my face with popcorn and watching cheesy television shows. Allowing myself to miss someone while also giving them the freedom to be busy. It means saying no to plans when I have run out of spoons. It means not judging myself when I have run out of spoons (seriously, read about the spoon theory). And today, it means putting my leaden foot onto the ground- taking another small step. Forgiving myself for not being perfect. Forgiving myself for faltering. Allowing myself to feel pride- pride for the strength it takes to look within. To admit when you are wrong. Admit when you are afraid and move forward anyway.
Today, I am going to choose to love myself for exactly who I am in this moment. I am going to accept myself for the beautifully imperfect woman I have evolved into. And I am going to stop wishing I am something else. Stop wishing to be further down the road. Because I am exactly where I need to be.