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.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, yes, I remember feeling pretty... Last year I went through much the same process you describe as I prepared to go back out into the world for my internship. A friend suggested I watch "What Not to Wear" (on TLC), and it actually helped me a lot. I resolved to shop in tiny doses, only buy what fit perfectly and made me feel both comfortable and pretty, and keep telling myself it's okay and even fun to look pretty. I hope you find your way through this process, too -- let your light shine!