Before I put my thoughts together, I want to point out that while I’m the one typing and putting my words out there for all of you, I’m also talking to myself. My self care/love is a work in progress too.
Sometimes it comes easy for me to be vulnerable. Sometimes I choke on the words I want to speak. Sometimes I write and write and write and erase it all. Sometimes I can speak my mind. Sometimes I can tell you exactly what I’m feeling. Sometimes it all gets bottled up and I swallow it, never to speak the feelings in my heart.
I’m not sure which of those this post will be. I figure I’ll know when I get to the end of it. I’m in a place where I’m stuck between things going well, but also stuck in the struggle. I see my life right now, and how much I’ve been able to do, and how much better things are, yet I still want to cry. I see my reflection and see all of the things I cannot do, all the things I wanted to do that I still haven’t done. I’m proud of myself, and angry at myself at the same time. It’s so confusing inside my head.
I’ve been focusing so much on all the things I need to do, and wondering how the hell I’m going to get it all done. I’ve been putting on my brave I feel fine I can do everything face. Sometimes it’s good for me to push through, and be so stubborn that absolutely nothing will keep me from doing what I want to do. Sometimes that’s the only way I can function. As with anything though, too much of that breaks me down harder than anything else does. My need to prove myself constantly keeps me from being able to do what I wanted to.
Living with chronic illness and having little to no control over what your life will be day to day feeds that desire. You feel guilty when you can’t do much, but feel like you have to push yourself when you’re doing better….which can sometimes lead you to not being able to do much. While I don’t believe in living a life with limitations, I am aware that every choice I make may have a repercussion I didn’t plan for.
I can feel all the emotions swirling around, and I’m mad at myself for letting it get this far; taking on more than I can chew because why not? Why not hold the world seemingly on my shoulders alone? Why not dream big? Why not hustle hard and get shit done? Why not grin and bear it? Why not push aside all the things that can keep you from accomplishing all the things you’ve ever wanted? It’s an all or nothing mentality; something I’ve always struggled with. Living in that mindset can really get you places, but not at the expense of your self-care.
That’s where I messed up.
That’s where I ignored all the shit I haven’t dealt with. That’s where I only saw what I haven’t done, instead of seeing all the things I have done. It’s where I see a useless college degree. It’s where I see a grown adult still living at home because I can’t make it on my own. It’s where I see every dream just out of reach because I’m not good enough to catch them. I see friends being able to travel and explore the world. I hold my friend’s babies wondering if I’ll ever be able to have one of my own. I see everyone being hundreds of steps ahead of me, and all I can think is how I’m never going to get there.
When these are the only things I see, I’ve been trying to challenge myself with a new thought; a positive one. My degree may be unused, but it’s not useless. I’ll find a time and place in my life when it’ll be exactly what I need. I still live at home, sure. I’m not lazy or unemployed mooching off my mom. I work hard, I’m employed, and shouldn’t feel guilt because getting some help while surviving was the most important thing I did. I’ll never give up on the dreams I’ve had for years, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go after new ones. Throughout everything, the one thing that will never change will be my desire to make a difference in this world, and the dreams I’ve built around that….the world better watch out. I may not travel to see the whole world, but I’m sure as hell going to make a difference in it.
The hardest feeling to change, the one that cuts me deepest, is wondering whether or not I’ll ever be a mom. I see my friends raising some kick ass little humans, and I know deep down that’s everything I’m meant to do. That said, I know my life is unpredictable, and I need to be okay with the changes I have no control over. I remind myself I’ll be okay, no matter what happens. Being “Aunt Sam” and pouring my love into those kids is everything to me.
As I sit here, I still see all the things I’m not; the things that I wish I could change, and the life I’m not living. I challenge you, along with myself to tell yourself one positive thing a day. It can be anything; from telling yourself how amazing you look in your outfit today, or that you’re strong enough to handle any bullshit life throws your way that day.
Vulnerability is hard. Self-love is hard. Being okay with not being okay is hard. Loving yourself on the bad days is hard. One day at a time is all we can do. As Brene Brown said, “owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.”
So here I am. No makeup. No filter. Wearing my Already Wednesday sweatshirt on Monday. Uncovered dark circles and tired eyes. Feeling my struggles hard today. But you know what? I also see someone who walked through hell and continued to get knocked down; only to get back up to fight another day.
I’ve been using the Health Storylines app positive thoughts diary to write down my good thoughts. You don’t have to write things down, but it’s a good way to go back to remind yourself how amazing you are on the days you’re doubting yourself. You can also use the journal section if you want to write down more than just a thought or two.
If you haven’t yet, download the app or go to https://samanthas.healthstorylines.com/app/#/register and make an account for free!