Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why Me

I know the words "why me" are usually uttered in response to a terrible event in one's life. In this particular case, it is in reference to my overriding urge to say "why me" when it comes to taking care of myself.

It is ever so much easier for me to take care of others, particularly my husband and child. I have no trouble shopping for them, planning for them, plotting for them. I have a great deal of trouble doing the same for me. "Why me?" becomes a phrase implying that I am not worthy of my own consideration.

So, when did I forget how to allow myself to take care of myself? More than allow myself, make myself? When I was younger I had no trouble, but that was when I was young, unmarried, without a child. I think it has been a long, slow process. A process that has been so glacial I barely noticed it.

As I lived through my 20s and my 30s I began to value my strength, my sturdiness. I was strong, capable, un-frilly. I worked jobs where getting up 2 hours early to curl my hair and apply make-up made no sense. I got out of the habit, and then failed to see the need.

In my 30s I had my children. With the loss of my first child, so sudden and unexpected a large sliver of myself shattered away. With the arrival of my second child, just 15 months later, I dissolved into him with happiness I didn't know existed.

Ah motherhood.... For so long I was constantly covered with spit up, milk, food bits, at risk for diaper blow outs. I took to a very utilitarian clothing habit. I felt that as long as my child looked put together, cared for, what matter how I looked so long as I was clean and relatively presentable. Again, sturdy and un-frilly was what made sense.

Just as I began to think about changing my ways, I found myself rocked by serious and chronic illness. For well over a year I dealt with weight gain, lack of energy, hair loss, anemia. I felt like I was fading away. Surgery, iron supplements, and medicine has largely resolved my issues, and now it is time to leave it behind me.

Now comes the time to try to mend the error of may ways. It has to stop being "Why me?" and become "Why NOT me?" I have to relearn the art of caring for myself. I have to feel like I deserve to give myself the time to take care of myself. I have to stop feeling like I am wearing a costume when I wear nice clothes, put on make-up, and think about how I look. I need to re-discover what it feels like to feel pretty, and not just sturdy.

Maybe, if I work on my outer self, my inner self will begin to heal too. Why NOT me, indeed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Run down to New Year

Christmas isn't here and I am already thinking of New Year's Resolutions. This time last year I was preparing to go to the hospital in the morning to have half of my thyroid removed. I thought the hardest thing was going to be the immediate physical recovery and that by New Year I would be raring to go. I made resolutions based on that. Boy, was I mistaken.

It turns out that the surgery and physical recovery were the easiest part of it all. The hardest part was the mental slide I found myself on once the stress of the holidays left and I had nothing to think about but life.

I'll be honest, I was gifted during that time by wonderful people, with huge hearts and generous kindness. I will never forget the flavor of the best and most soul nourishing soup, or the joy of sitting with a friend as she patiently helped wrap gifts. I will carry in my heart the perfumed scent of the knitted "neck cozies" my "second mother" sent me to protect my sore and scarred throat.

At the same time, I was deeply wounded by the lack of consideration by people I honestly expected more from. I didn't notice it at the time, but in the ensuing months, I admit to feeling seriously hurt at the lack of outreach, not even a get well card from places I would have thought would have reached out. Worst of all, there was one place I specifically reached out to prior to surgery with very specific requests for help (and this is a place that is designed and organized to help in situations just like this), and nothing was done.

This year, 2011, which I had hoped would be an improvement over 2010, the year in which I lost my faith in my health, has failed me. As is turns out, 2011 was to possess moments and events of great blessing, things I will remember with fondness and gratitude. It also contained some soul-shattering, confidence-busting events as well.

I feel like I have shut down in the past 12 months. I have no interior dialogue that doesn't involve mental ridicule. I feel constrained, but don't know how to change it. I think 2012 is likely to be a year of hard work for me mentally. I am finally beginning to feel ready to face it all and get it behind me.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


A new personal record is about to be attained. It is December 8th and I have yet to turn on the heat in the house. Only now am I feeling the lack and the need.

Tonight, I will curl up in warm jammies, nana socks, my thick robe, and blankets on the couch. The bed is already adorned with flannel sheets and thick blankets. Tomorrow we will have a fire in the fireplace most of the day. I think I can make it to December 10th, maybe 11th.

Yeah, I'm stubborn. Thank goodness my family is right with me on it. So far, nobody has complained they are cold.

In a battle of Mother Nature vs. me, I know Mother Nature is always going to win, I just want to be sure I put up a good fight.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Waking Up

It's been nearly a year since my thyroid surgery. My neck is healed and I am repeatedly told it is barely noticeable, though I still see it very clearly and vividly. I think my meds are pretty good, though maybe not perfectly adjusted. It has been a long and dismal year (let's be honest 2 years) and at long last I am beginning to feel like I am waking up.

For so much of the last 12 - 18 months I slogged through life. I dealt with details, arrangements, schedules, and necessities. I cooked meals, ran errands, paid bills, organized gatherings, dealt with crises. The one thing I did very little of was live and wake. It was like I was a sleepwalker, or someone just one step out of phase with the world around me. I was adrift, and carried along with the tide of daily life.

I have a long way to go, there are still lingering hurts and conflicts to resolve. Even so, each day I feel more like I have an inner life again, like I am thinking again and not just operating.

In this season, in which we are connecting with those we love, whether dead or alive, near or far, I am going to make the effort to come fully back to the life of the living and awake.

I miss me. Wonder if anyone else has noticed?