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For Me, After the Baby, Part Two

It was a year ago that I declared I’d be taking care of myself more.

I’d do more things For Me.

Remember this photo I took at the Y above the treadmill? I’ve been taking care better care of me in fits and spurts since then. Since it’s my birthday, the momentousness of the event made me want to share my progress.

Returning From the Trenches

When you have a baby, there is a sucking vortex that drags you into a gauntlet of physical and emotional challenges much worse than those Japanese obstacle course shows. Seen those? Where they’re jumping onto giant bobbing floats in huge pools of water dressed in costumes and you know there’s no possible way they can gain enough speed to jump and land on them and actually stay on top. But they’re trying so hard because there’s a huge prize. And they will fall and make you cringe every time.

It's alive!!! on Shalavee.com

In Momland, the huge prize is just keeping the baby alive. Aspire to nothing else and you are still an overachiever. You do this at all costs and eventually you have completely forgotten that you are a person who needs sleep or showers or a day off. No one can understand why you are so weepy or jumpy or crazed except other Mothers or people who’ve been on the front line and in the trenches. And people’s pity only helps so much and then you’re alone again.

I am not a victim or a martyr of my circumstances.

Instagram pedicure via For Me Two on Shalavee.com

So many people have stories of coming out of this with a realization that to be the happy present Mommy you want to be, you have to take care of yourself and your basic needs at least. After being in the trenches, a pedicure may seem fluffy and frivolous but it is necessary. Since Fiona was born, I have gotten more of those than ever before. I just treated myself to one this week. But it’s also taking care of your body in the serious ways too.

And in taking care of myself, my alone time needs, my exercise needs, and my mental and physical “indulgences”, I am not a victim or a martyr of my circumstances. I do not ask anyone to take care of me. It is up to me.

Which brings me to the fact that this is the first year that we have had healthcare in a very long time. In fact since we moved to the Shore 14 years ago. Remember, I didn’t even want to have the baby knowing the only way we’d be able to afford it was to be on the government dole? Read about my middle class and medically assisted challenge here. But in the end, I thought I’d better go ahead and try before it was too late. Thanks to the US Government, at the age of 46, I had a baby. I refused the free cheese but took the rest.

me on shalavee

My healthcare and well-being have always been up to me.

Yes, Obamacare forced us to get healthcare. And thanks to my husband for being persistent, we got a monthly discount and we have gone ahead and started taking care of all the little, and big, body problems we have, which are many. This past week alone, I had the first round of allergy shots after having, and paying $40 for all the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and allergist appointments to get to that point. Same day, I had my first Mammogram in 7 years. And then yesterday, I had a filling filled that thankfully I did not feel yet. Dentistry is not covered under healthcare but we have a discount insurance through Aetna.

The message I’m sending myself is that I deserve Self Care.

The more you take care of those body parts, the more you know you are worth it. I spoke about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in this post and the impact all of this will have on your quality of life, creativity, and productivity.

sacroiliac-joint-pain on Shalavee.com

My biggest current pending problem is a horrible pain in what appears to be in the hip bone connected to the backbone, aka the S I joint. The Orthopedist I saw last week said he does hip joints but doesn’t deal with that area. See the guy downstairs. It’s interesting to note that, since I was on steroids for my nose, the hip pain subsided considerably. And in the knowing that it could feel better and I didn’t have to eat the pain and endure, I feel more entitled to taking care of myself and addressing the pain.

I fully expect the next Doctor to tell me that I’m going to need arthroscopic surgery like I needed on my shoulder 15 years ago. Something wonky on my left side has left every joint and passage a little crowded with bones. But the good news? We have our deductible paid for. The point that I’d like stop and make here ? My healthcare and well-being has always been up to me. Even when I didn’t have healthcare, I still went to the doctor’s office for treatment. The fabulous turn is that now, instead of being reactive with these issues, I’m allowed to be proactive. I can do further tests and procedures and head the reoccurring sinus infections off at the pass. And take care of horrible pains in my hip. Fiona on the Courthouse sidewalk in Denton, Md from Fro Me 2 on Shalavee.com

I ran yesterday out on the street. It is the first time in over two years I have been able to do that. I have been either pregnant or baby bound for this long. That is also the reason the pain subsided and has now come back. Happy pregnancy hormone help with pains and loosen joints. And while I am still on the steroid for a little longer, I wanted to taste the freedom of what the running felt like again. And it felt mighty fine.

Maybe you now know more than you want to know but I’d tell you about all of this to your face when we got together. Now that’s out-of-the-way. My point is that going into my 48th year, I want to be telling myself that I’m worth the effort, I can do whatever I put my mind to, and I am a mighty talented super swell gal. I can feel the wisdom trying to balance me out as long as I quiet the other noise in my head. Taking care of me is my present to myself and my loved ones. It’s For Me and for everyone who cares about me too.

Crossing the Transition Bridge

I wonder how it is possible that people all over the world can really know themselves and their talents well enough to do work that satisfies them. And also ask for the right payment. I wonder how people are making such an impact knowing their gifts and sharing them to help the world, themselves, and so many others at the same time. Because I struggle every day to get just the right angle, the right understanding of what it is I’m here to do.

selfie from below on Shalavee.com

I stepped back recently and reminded myself that when I need perspective on my gifts, I need to go to the kudos file I have and remember all the really kick butt awesome things people, often strangers even, have said to me that have made such a difference to my esteem.

I'm an artist selfie from Shalavee.com

Andrea was the one who told me that I really am a good enough a writer to be published in magazines. Mr. Jerry, a former magazine guy had already told me this. Linda at the drugstore said that my hair always looks good. Amanda said my writing is just as good as anything on Huff Post. Over our dinner at the brew pub, Jill sweetly gushed in telling me what a good writer I was. My Christmas tree for the church last year garnered such enthusiastic responses from people I admired and don’t usually hear from. I have felt pretty good about myself this year on several occasions.

Mark and I driving over the bridge on Shalavee.com

I forget who I am. As soon as I’ve felt the compliment goodness for a day, it begins to fade and I forget who I am and what it is I give to the world. If your internal image doesn’t fit the outside world’s, nothing sticks in there. There is an exchange of energy that I’m paying attention to now. I’ve gotta build up the bottom of the pit so stuff like compliments and esteem stay in it.

It's not you but who you think you're not fromtruthinmotherhoodblog via Shalavee.com

What purpose does it serve to have a self-esteem sieve? No risks and no change means no failure I suppose. But eventually it’s too painful to stay. A transition bridge is there for me to cross and it’s a hard one. As if I’m crossing it in the dark built on foundations of faith I’ve never had before. But I”m taking it one step at a time and adding the cross boards from the compliments of the lovely people given to me daily. The nails keeping it together are made from gratitude. Keep it coming Universe, keep it coming.

Aspirations

I was a skeptic too you know. What did these whippersnappers know. We didn’t need “social media” to be social. We have always used the telephone to communicate dammit.

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And I can tell you, I’m still a little queasy about internet interrelations. What, you thought I was a pro at this? Because I’m here doing it? Bah, I keep thinking I’m the nerd on the schoolyard that everyone’s nice to. That they’re tolerating my comments on their sites but they’d wish I’d get the hint and stop already.

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 I am better than I’d ever thought possible but my hope is to get over my shyness sooner than later.

I’m three me’s. There’s me then, me now, and the me that I want to be.

I wrote the following some time ago in a mini thought journal.

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Who I am  Vs.    Who I want to be

Just Writer   Vs.    writer, crafter, designer,

published and recognized by me for these

Talking    Vs  Listened to

Creative Only on Demand   Vs.   Creative on a regular basis

Contemplative Vs. Conversations

Dabbler  Vs.  Doer

Uncertain/Reticent Vs.  Certain / Sure

Trying  Vs. Doing

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As long as you choose to change nothing, nothing changes. People were scared of the telephone too.

And I have no business reading anyone’s mind.

Either I am annoying and eventually I’ll figure it out. Or I’m not and I’ll rise above.

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If you read my blog, you are helping me onward and I thank you!

The Personal Equation

Twenty years ago, I remember giving a guy friend some advice. He lived at home with his Mom and they had a rip- roaring dysfunctional volatile relationship. I suspect this was the same thing she’d had with his father. I said, “Choose not to play the game with her. She’ll keep trying to engage you but she’ll give up after several failed attempts and you’ll change the relationship”. He was baffled. Change his reaction? But he had always made the same choice.

He had no idea how to not choose to react that way. Mothers install the buttons  for which there is no defense. She’d taught him lack of choice so he would play her game until her dying day. I realized, we all take part in a form of this. Whether it’s with our parents, spouses, children, or ourselves, we often don’t recognize our compulsory choices for what they are.

Recently, I was reading a self-esteem book of some sort and this idea reappeared. Again I thought, “Brilliant!” If you are A and another person is B, together your inter-relating dance equals C.  A + B = C. The yester-me, attempting to fix a primary wound, tried hard to change the ex’s of my past.  I scheduled fix-it operations for all the broken boys I met. I thought my past and I would then be fixed. I wanted that outcome D instead, but achieved in my way.

However, I have no control over my past or the other person who is B. All I have is me, A. As much as I may wish it, I’ll be dead and buried before I effect a change on B. But  if I tweak my outlook, the outcome called C changes to E or K or X. I have been hard at work tweaking my A.

And it works. Yes, it requires letting go of the hope of fixing and changing those you love. I believe leading by example is all you really can do anyway. Continue to offer your support  but stop asking others for that which you can give to yourself . And you’ll get your needs met for once. The trick is to be extremely honest about what your needs are and to be entitled to fulfill them. Even if that means the person you had slated to do the job is out of commission.

What if you are the one not stepping up for you? Changing choices move you from sad to glad? Do whatever it takes to change your perspective. Seek the insight and help you need. Travel outside your box or comfort zone to find that perspective above and beyond your comfort zone. Because either you will be telling yourself your life is worth just accepting the same old equation or you’re saying another outcome, and your happiness, is worth fighting for. If you are the change,  your happiness equation may be one different choice away. Change nothing and nothing changes.

My changes have included ceasing my need to fix everyone. Choosing to trust that what I needed would be provided for me. And mostly not choosing white flour and sugar, except some white bread week-ending for the cookout season. I am less anxious, ten pounds lighter, and feeling pretty positive that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I am now busy setting my mind and my new intents. Do me a favor and ask yourself, what is the change you’d like to affect? What more could you choose, or stop choosing, to get there?

Self Esteem Booster Jar

I followed through an idea today that I want to share.

Sometimes people talk about artist’s dates. Or a day-cation. The initial idea is that you need a break, even a 15 minute respite, from the slave driving critical parent that’s usually at the helm.  The trick, of course, is to decide your worthy of halting the protestant work ethic record to listen to your heart. Because your heart needs to play or dream or do something else other than focus on production constantly.

My idea was a jar where I could put papers with happy tasks on them  to draw from when I needed  a jolt to my esteem or a change of perspective. I had thought this up a week ago. And nearly forgot about it until I was talking to a friend. When my husband and I were dating, we had a date jar like this. We’d put in places to go and things to do that we considered an adventure..

I made the jar today. And made up a few papers to draw from it. And when I think of more, I will run upstairs and put them in. And then I spent the afternoon pulling out my clippings and making a new scrapbook for the redecoration of my house. The hallway, boy’s room, my bedroom, and the dining room are all slated for overhauls. Not to mention  the unfinished projects everywhere.

This all means I have a reason to keep living. And hoping for change. What do you have installed as a safety for sanity? A regular therapy session or lunch with a friend? A dog walk or run at theY scheduled for tomorrow. Why the hell not?

Recipe for jar :

Mason jar,  horizontal card  or postcard,ribbon, paper and pen.

Add thoughts on what would make you happy for at least 15 minutes if you had it. Then add permission and you have yourself a beautiful jar of hope.

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