I’m sorry. There I was, a few days ago, saying that I use this blog as an open & honest format to help others in similar circumstances realize that they aren’t the only one… but I haven’t been being honest about what I’ve been going through lately. Mostly it’s because I haven’t had too much time on my hands, but instead of writing about my bed bug stresses I could have very well been sharing some of the thoughts stirring around in my mind & the feelings fluttering around in my stomach. Again, I’m sorry.
These last two nights I’ve found myself walking home slooooowly, despite the chilly winter air and snow-covered streets. Why? I just felt at peace in the moment…like I was able to check in with myself for the first time in a while. I could have walked those streets forever, especially tonight. After a rejuvenating run & spin class, I felt like enjoying the company of my endorphin-high self for a while longer before I got back to my apartment and contemplated what had to be done before bed.
After responding to a few emails, I opted to reflect on what’s been going on with me lately and not worry about neither what I could be doing nor who I should be helping. And then a thought came over me, or rather, I recalled something that I read a few days ago, by someone that I’ve really begun to admire. I’ve been reluctant to share this, but my gut feeling tells me that he’d be okay with it especially knowing that it will most likely impact someone(s) as much as it did me. These wise words of his brought clarity to my run-down body, heart, and soul and I hope it has the same effect on you:
When was the last time you did something for yourself? I’m not promoting selfishness but look, sometimes you gotta do what’s best for you. When you live your life solely for others, you begin to lose sight of who you are. In a way, you replace a tiny part of yourself with those around you until you are no longer you. But when you take that time for yourself, you solidify that part of you that is uniquely you.
Can I admit to you that I hate taking care of myself? I do. I really, really do. One of the most challenging things about moving to Chicago two years ago was being forced to look after myself. But in coming to Chicago and not knowing more than a handful of people, I didn’t have a choice. Sure I tried to still take care of the friends I left in Columbus as well as the others scattered around in the post-college world, but it wasn’t as easy and time wasn’t as plentiful as it used to be. But while it proved to be difficult in the beginning, time has helped me understand the notion that to take care of others, you have to first take care of yourself.
This past year has been incredible but also quite exhausting. We laugh when discussing how I’m always traveling (mostly back to Ohio via the lovely Megabus) and how many bridal showers, Bachelorette parties, and weddings I’ve attended. And while I could sit here and defend all of (travel) choices and say that I feel most like “me” when doing all this stuff- when helping others- I think it’s best to recognize that I need to start refocusing on myself again. Or maybe let someone look after me for awhile. Now in putting that crazy idea out on the table, I’ll bluntly state that I am horrible at letting others do anything for me. You can call me ‘guarded’, say I have trust issues, or that I’m afraid of being betrayed (again). Whatever the case may be, I think I need to make that the challenge of 2011. While it’s important to take care of yourself, I think it’s equally important to allow others look after you too…others that want to be there for you.
Okay, so that’s what I’ll do. I’ll do my best to let the walls and shields tumble down to allow others in. To let others give me the strength when I’m feeling weak, or at least hold my hand when walking down the street on a cold winter night with my thoughts.
I used to think that the way to be strong, was to be tough. I used to think that to be independent, was to not need anyone. But she’s taught me that the more vulnerable you and the softer you are, and the more you allow more people into your life and into your heart, the happier you are and the more valuable you are to other people.
Portia de Rossi on Ellen Degeneres