I just wanted to be alone.
Just for a few minutes just me with my own thoughts.
Sometimes things are so jumbled. There is so much in my head and heart; so much data to process. Its like a backlog. When I feel that I’m close to capacity, I need to be alone and give myself permission for a short while to just Be and not DO. Much like my phone warning me that being too full of photos will compromise the efficiency until I deal with the full memory.
There is a phrase in the Bible that says, “take every thought into captivity.” I visualize blogging as a way to take thoughts into captivity. It is a very powerful tool for me since I find that once I have expressed a thought it loses much of its anxiety-causing power in my life. This is very important because when I allow my anxiety to build up, my perspective is compromised and I don’t trust my own judgement. My perceived problem may or may not be real at all or may not be as big as it feels. When I don’t take the time to capture it and take a look at it outside of my head, I don’t really know how big or small it is and it just adds to the anxiety monster growing inside me.
I find that even taking a few minutes to hide in my room and do a quick voice memo where I allow myself to talk out how I feel and let my phone record it to text can be a powerful use of technology. In this way I have literally captured my thoughts just as I am thinking them, unfiltered. Then when I read them I can help myself without needing to scare anyone else! Even your spouse or your sister doesn’t need to hear ALL the crazy, right? I do not recommend hitting send to anyone with the exception of back in a loop to your own email, perhaps. (please note: I’m all about going to therapy and talking things out with trusted, safe, discrete friends. The voice memo to yourself is a great way to talk yourself off a ledge and reconnect to your heart and takes no $ or prep work.)
It is very important to look inside your own head and inside your own heart so that you don’t deceive yourself and don’t lose yourself. Don’t deceive yourself into staying the same when it is damaging you to do so. Don’t deceive yourself into resenting what may be a stage of life that you will miss later and that others are jealous of you for now. Don’t lose touch with your true heart, the essential you. I mean, You, yourself, who you were before your significant other or any of your children came into your life.
Who is that person? She has of course changed significantly over recent years. Engaging in new relationships and taking on new roles adds depth and beauty to her character. The same girl is still in there. That same girl who played with dollies and imagined being a mommy so many years ago. The same girl who walked into her seventh grade English class so aware of every one of her faults wondering if anyone would ever think she was good enough. The same girl who came to believe in beauty as currency and is still trying so hard to unlearn that. The same girl who made the choices that got her to be you. That girl still needs to be nurtured as you would love your own child. In your heart, you know it is true. She is the one begging for a time out to capture some thoughts.
Something that we as women forget to do is be our own caretaker. We happily, or at least diligently, take on the role of caring for our significant other and our children and perhaps pets, friends and extended family members. We know that they need care and to feel loved and empowered. Ironically, we often look with disdain at the role of self care giver as a selfish and wasteful use of our precious resources when absolutely nothing –absolutely nothing!- could be further from the actual truth. I myself was certainly not receptive to the idea of self care. It seemed very selfish to me. (Quick Note: I am NOT talking about causing more stress by going into debt with retail therapy. I am talking about getting at what is really in your heart and treating yourself as a priority.)
Most of the time you must be tough and you must be content and you must be thankful because we all really do have so much to be thankful for and we are all are so strong for our families every day. There are times -just sometimes- you cannot. You simply cannot. Not for one more minute can you keep it together until you feel loved and appreciated the way you need to feel loved and appreciated. Here’s the deal: You are the only one who knows what you really need to feel loved and appreciated. Well, you and that girl inside you who reminds you of who you have always been. So listen to your heart and find ways to give yourself what you need. (BTW: your heart does not need to eat a full family sized container of your favorite snack so you can feel sick and ashamed of yourself later. That is self sabotage not self care.)
So when I can feel my peace level is dipping to a significant enough degree that I might do something that I regret, then I do find that it is important to take a few minutes for myself. It must be done with intention. Life will not advertise to you, “hey this is a great time for some self care.” Your days are full of other things. You actually do have to do something parallel to lessen planning to take those moments for yourself. Self time with children who don’t nap when they can sit quietly (ok maybe not too quietly) alone is very elusive but it can be done. (reading books on their beds works for me and play dough does too!) Cultivate quiet time for your sanity and their safety (kidding. not kidding.)
Perhaps other thrive in chaos. I doubt that. Perhaps I’m more fragile than most. I doubt that too. I have no interest in comparing myself to any of you reading this. What I know is that I need time to sit quietly and think by myself. I hereby give you permission to do the same. It is not a luxury. It is not a treat. It is a necessity. I am too important to all the people who depend on me. Whatever I need to do to make self maintenance and sanity happen, I will do it. I love myself and my family enough to make sure that it happens on a regular basis.