if i’ve learned anything from this blogging thing, it’s that the blogosphere is filled with some really amazing writers. some are witty, some are pithy, some are sarcastic, and a few even downright inappropriate. but at the core of them all is an unbridled honesty; a transparency i can appreciate no matter the subject matter. and maybe that’s the beauty of the internet (and the ugly of it, too), it is completely accessible to everyone (well maybe not everyone, but most with at least a power cord!). it is a cyber playground on which to unleash your innermost thoughts and opinions; to share your biggest triumphs and to seek empathy amidst your biggest trials. it is inspiring and comforting and entertaining all the same. and perhaps what i glean most is the fact that so often (and thankfully so), i can happen upon the most perfectly composed entry in the exact time it’s needed most; as if the author reached into my insides and splattered them across the page (that sounds way more graphic than i intended). and i’ll admit, there is a twinge of jealousy that occurs when i find such a passage, for the fact that i myself wish i had penned it first. but instead, i attempt to allow these stranger’s words inspire me, to digest them in hopes of feeding both my soul and my mind.
sometimes i’m not quite sure how i encounter some of the stories i do. a link from a link from a site that i frequent is usually the passageway, i think. but regardless of the journey from a to b, i’m always grateful for my fortuitous arrival. a couple of weeks ago, i stumbled upon a journal entry of sorts, from an author unknown to me. but her story was no less touching regardless of her unfamiliarity.
I deleted my Twitter account. For reasons I don’t understand and am not really concerned with, it was causing more stress than any social media platform ought to, especially one on which 35 people were following me and probably only 5 of those read any of my Tweets (thanks, you five!). Finally, I deleted it, and when I did, I felt a disproportionate weight lift off of my chest. About the weight of a laptop.
I’m learning now to let go of things and people that don’t feel good, learning to respect that worried knot in the pit of my stomach or the anxious nausea that rises up. It’s all so terribly wise and accepting and serene. So terribly unlike me. But it feels good, in a painful, tearing kind of way.
It’s hard work, this equilibrium business. Hard, quiet work and there’s never any tangible rewards, except those moments when you realize that you’re utterly O.K. There isn’t any room for people who disturb that delicate peace, who make you flustered or distressed or just plain sad. You get out of situations that make you uncomfortable. You leave the bar before you feel woozy. You pull away from people who leave you feeling small.
It sounds selfish. It is. But you take care of yourself, because it’s no one elses’ job, and because then, no one else has to. You can make other people feel good once your own insides are sorted out. When you’re at peace with yourself and your place in the world, you are easier to be around. Calmer, more composed. Friendly and encouraging and without bitterness or envy or irritation.
My mom used to make grilled cheese sandwiches on rare occasions, when we really, really asked nicely. Ritualistic: Cheddar cheese and Dijon mustard with the little brown flecks in it and lots of butter to make the outsides golden brown and crispy. She always served them with pickles on the side. So when I need to feel home, I go to the grocery store and get bread and cheese and the Grey Poupon in the glass jar with the brown flecks and I make myself a grilled cheese sandwich, perfectly golden brown on the outsides, and maybe pour myself a glass of white wine. I bought it because the description said it was a “friendly” wine that finished with a “taste of the sea.” I eat in my own room that I pay for with my own paychecks and fill with my own things, and I sigh contentedly. Because I think the other part is that taking care of yourself means that you can make a home wherever you are. You set your own table and hang your own curtains and fill your own bookshelves and put yourself to bed at night with a story and a song and an “I love you.”
You forgive yourself for last week and tell yourself you can do anything this week, and you’re right. Parent yourself. Be chest-burstingly proud of who you are. You should probably take a nap if you’re tired. Sweetheart, if that boy’s being mean to you, stay away from him. You look really nice today.
home sweet | camaraderie | june 25, 2012
i like to think i take care of myself. i shower on the regular (er, most of the time), i eat well and try to make it to pure barre at least four times a week. i try to limit the number of times a day i use negative self talk and pray every morning before venturing off to work. i treat myself (treat yo self!) to the occasional manicure and pedicure (because it’s fun and because my piggies could really use it, too) and i try desperately to get at least five hours of sleep per night (i know, i know, but did i mention i can function on very little?). i keep up with friends and talk to my momma daily, take time to laugh (even if it’s only at myself) and make sure my bills are paid on time. i choose to dress myself in clothes that make me feel good, if that includes an over-sized flower, too, then so be it, i’m a sucker for a good accessory. sometimes i cry, most often in front of my boyfriend (whoopsies), but i justify it with the fact that the eyes need draining every now and then (right?). i get scared (more often than i’d like to admit) but then i tell myself that worrying only leads to wrinkles and i’m trying to hold off on that whole botox bandwagon as long as i can. on a tuesday, i take the coast instead of the freeway, the humble street corners and smell of the ocean air soothe my soul. i take my vitamins twice a day and am really working on my water intake. i try to remember to take pictures when something momentous occurs and maybe more so when something mundane occurs, too. my memory won’t last me forever (a good long while, i hope at least) but pictures will help to bring back the moment long after it has past.
i try to forgive myself for last week and tell myself i can do anything this week. and i’m right. i parent myself. i am (overall) chest-burstingly proud of who i am. i should probably take a nap if i’m tired (confession: i oftentimes take naps from about 8:30 p.m.-9 p.m. at night. i’m learning to be a night owl, just one who must take naps in preparation). i tell myself, “sweetheart, if that boy’s being mean to you, stay away from him (i wish i had told myself a time or five in my previous relationships).”
i whisper “you look really nice today” when i catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
most days i believe it, too.
i try to go easy [on myself].
but that’s easier said than done. i am a perfectionist at my core but even perfectionists need to let their hair down every now and again; to be able to flaunt their flaws for the world to see and to still be okay; to tend to their own needs despite desiring nothing more than to please every other person in the room prior.
i am a work in progress, of that i know full well. i’m still going to help you put your oxygen mask on first before tending to my own when life’s proverbial turbulence causes a drop in cabin pressure. i can’t help it, it’s part of what makes me me. it’s also the part that makes me truly believe i’ll make an excellent mother someday, too. but i realize more and more (and some pretty great people have also reminded me so) that i will never be able to offer the best of me to others until i can offer the best of me to myself. that as selfish as it may sound and as selfish as even i interpret it to be, i owe it to myself to look out for number one every once in a while. to speak up when i’m hungry (news flash: that’s all day, every day), or angry, or scared, or ashamed. to smile when something makes me unabashedly happy and to cry when something makes me sad. to no longer be fearful of my emotions, but rather, to use them as the vehicles for expression that God intended them to be. i am a living, breathing, thriving, ever evolving (in the internal sense, not the “we came from gorillas” sense), creation of God, and it’s about time i start treating myself as such.
p.s. that whole story about grilled cheese is eerily similar to my own childhood. to this day, i challenge you to find a better grilled cheese sandwich than my father’s signature “grilled cheese with pickles so thin you can see through them.”