I told myself I was being very gentle by giving myself a goal of walking for 40 days straight.
But even walking, as simple as it is, right before winter is about to come? And right before I am working 2 jobs every single day? It was an attempt to give myself some self-care, because the fact is: I really suck at self-care. And I knew if, left to my own devices, I would not step out side and breathe fresh air and walk around the block. So there were some very good intentions in there!
But there were also some perfectionist dreams sneaking in there.
See, a perfectionist is similar to an addict. A perfectionist is very, very good at making her actions SEEM completely admirable, noble, and maybe even gentle. But inside there is a little Gollum creature screaming with delight at the new discovery and plan to do one thing the exact, right perfect way. She looks up, catches her composure. She’s pretty sure no one knows the feeling of complete power and lust she feels about this soon-to-be-accomplishment. She vows to do it exactly right to prove to them – to prove to ALL of them – how good she is.
Three days in to my 40 days of walking, I got sick. And worked a double at my then new job. So I laid a little low. I opted to let myself out of walking because I was sick and absolutely exhausted. Then Hurricane Sandy happened, and well – I stayed inside that day. And the election. And a Nor’ Easter. And then, sick again. And almost well! And then sick. And then really sick. And then just still sneezing to this day.
But these events don’t surprise me, as far as my personal story goes. Because in my own little bubble, I knew deep down that me creating this 40-day plan, gentle as it was, was still me trying to create an outside structure to FORCE me to do something I resist: self-care.
But self-care for me in these 40 days became something else that my body demanded. It just demanded that I rest. It demanded that if I wanted to get well, I better just take it easy. Cancel my plans. Stay home. Sleep. Cuddle with dogs. Watch movies.
How you do anything is how you do everything, right?
I have trouble listening to myself. Trusting my intuition. I think because deep down, I have always feared something a parent must fear. “What if I am not able to give to myself what I need?” If I listen to the little voice inside and it says, “I need a day off!” what if I can’t give it to her? I have a writing deadline and three shifts at the restaurant and no one to cover for me! And bills to pay and a debt pay-off goal I am getting closer to each day!
It seems scarier to hear her, to hear the voice inside, because I am afraid to trust her — that what she wants is best for me. That taking a day off will help me get closer to my goals, or that taking a long break in the middle of a writing day will fill me with more creative juices for later.
This lack of trust might explain why i am working with a food therapist right now, who is helping me learn to listen to my body, to trust its signals for pasta and meat, as well as with veggies and lemon water! (This is scary as well.)
So, this recovering perfectionist is going to try a new goal: to listen to myself daily. To give myself what I need, whether that be rest or exercise, play or study, steak or a green smoothie.
It’s the territory of really living life in the moment! It feels like beginning a new adventure.