It's been building for quite some time now. I quit smoking five years ago. And while I know that was the smartest thing I could do, I've never quite figured out how to deal with daily stress since then. I've picked up hobbies that calm and soothe me, but it just doesn't quite take the edge off. I've ignored it, pushed it off as "hormones", tried to just move past it.
The result? My body is shutting down. There is no other way to put it. I've put on a humiliating amount of weight - even though I eat very well most of the time. I have trouble sleeping. I keep a sinus infection. My feet ache constantly - when I get up to walk and don't have shoes on it feels like I'm walking barefoot on sharp gravel. I keep muscle knots in my neck and under my right shoulder blade. I'm not depressed - far from it. I'm blessed and I know it, though I must admit to being VERY down on myself most (if not all!) of the time.
For quite some time now I've lashed out at my poor husband for all of this. Blaming him, I guess, in an attempt to not face the real issue. Me. My insane desire to please everyone in my life - which automatically puts me at odds with myself. The fact that I'm unhappy about my weight. Getting mad at he and my boys for not helping more around the house. Nagging constantly to "get your chores done" and "get to bed".
All of it boils down to a lack of respect on their part, I realize that. Last night, though, I had an epiphany that brought me to the point of starting this blog. My husband and boys SHOULDN'T respect me. Not at this point, anyways. Because I don't respect myself. Somewhere along the line I have slipped into this whole martyr-complex thing and told myself that people would see how self-sacrificing and caring I was and want to help me. How stupid was that? How could I not have seen that by putting off my doctor's and dentist appointments, going without buying new clothes and getting haircuts, forcing myself to still get up and cook dinner when I was sick - just because someone whined about having to do it for me, and a myriad of other things, that I was really showing them that I was meant to be used? That, while I thought I was teaching them how to care for others, I was really teaching them that I wasn't worth caring about?
I know better now. I know that if I want my life to improve, which I do, I have to respect and care for myself FIRST. That by taking the time to make myself happy I'll be making them happier in the long run. The problem is I have no idea how in the heck to accomplish this. I've spent the past decade doing the WRONG things. Turning myself around and doing the RIGHT things now seems impossible.
I'm starting now. I've decided that my first step should be to make a list of the things it that make me feel happy. They may not all be about me, but if they make me happy they're going to be on the list. I'm jotting them down as I think about them, so I'm guessing that will be in the order of importance.
- Having a clean home.
- Feeling like I've provided nutritious and edible meals for my family.
- Finding time to take a shower - even at midnight!
- Quiet - the ability to curl up with a good book and not have to set it aside to deal with anyone interrupting me.
- Feeling good enough to bake cookies during the day, just to surprise my guys with when they get home.
- The feel of the yarn sliding through my fingers as I knit &/or crochet.
- Sitting down at my sewing machine and creating.
- Pulling up weeds in my garden, and seeing my plants reappear each spring.
My goal for this week? To do at least one thing a day that has something to do with this list. Baby steps. I'm not going to try to scrub the entire house is one day, but if I manage to clean a bathroom that is a branch of my journey accomplished, is it not?