The Helpers Need to TAKE HELP, TOO. Day #193 “The Me Project,” Day #57 “The Bunker”
This is me right now. Peaceful, feeling accomplished and calm, writing while listening to hip new music of which you should be jealous (‘White Noise’ Pandora station). I posted this video of myself yesterday, in a moment of struggle. Just your average sad-stuck-worried-wishing-hopeless moment. Every day, I have moments like this and moments like that.
Things are hard and scary right now and THAT doesn’t change, but my feelings about them do. Constantly. I’m riding this out in the healthiest, gentlest, most self-accepting ways I can, and for me, part of that is putting it out in the open. When I’m feeling dreary, small, and uncertain, I am going to share it. Even if it’s me looking greasy and lost- ESPECIALLY when it’s me looking greasy and lost. I share it all because I don’t want to feel trapped by ‘perfection,’ I share it because it feels good to be known, it feels good to express all parts of myself. It’s like therapy for me. Also, in my own small way, I think it helps other people. Bearing witness to struggle allows us to release ourselves to be allowed to struggle, too. Sometimes we need permission. Or at least I do. Here’s your permission. Feel your feelings, hurt your hurts. They’re real, you’re real. You’re not wrong or broken for feeling terrible.
Also, I want to share when I’m feeling brave, wise and larger-than-life. We all need permission to celebrate ourselves, too. That one’s a little harder to say out loud, for me, anyway. Working on it.
I received a few calls and texts and messages of trusted friends worried about me after they watched the video. There was a time when I would have said, “Oh, I’m sorry I worried you, I’m fine. How are you?” which is, ostensibly, I don’t mean to make any of this (life) about me, or to require you think about me. Take me off your radar, I don’t deserve to be there.
I don’t feel that way now.
Now I say, “Thank you. I’m hurting today. I appreciate your love. I’ll use it…here’s what’s running through my head….” I open up more because I’ve practiced opening up, I’ve worked really hard to believe people I trust when they tell me they love me and are there for me, when they tell me I’m worth their time and concern. I’ve had to fight (continue to fight) to believe that I’m worth it and not to just reflexively turn attention off of me and on to them. I don’t want superficial or one-way relationships anymore. It’s not satisfying and I deserve more.
So, yesterday I took care of myself by:
- Exercising, even though I didn’t want to and it kind of sucked
- Finally putting my fucking phone down and not reading things that make my shoulders bunch up and stomach ache
- Saying no to a request from a dear friend for a committment I would have enjoyed, but would have come at the expense of other things. It is HARD for me to say no to people who need/want me, when I know I COULD make their lives easier, I COULD do this thing well, I COULD serve this purpose. I’m practicing boundaries where I listen to my intuition and recognize that there’s only so much of me I can/will give. It’s hard.
- Eating right-ish, drinking water, making sweet, sweet love with my love.
- Playing silly, funny games with friends even though I worried I wasn’t in a good enough mood to be funny. I decided I could still take their funny without necessarily offering a topnotch version of my own. I didn’t worry about staying quiet, I didn’t feel a need to perform or clown or be competitive or loud. I’m letting myself be tender and present, not always leading or hustling. Again, because I’m learning to trust people to like me even if my sparkle is dimmed, and if they don’t, I’m trusting they can fuck right off. ALSO, laughter is so critical. It’s like orgasming- it really shouldn’t build up too long without release.
- And the thing that really pulled me up from the pit to where I could stand on my own feet again was answering a call from a friend and letting her in, letting her care all over me. After we talked about my stuff, she let me care all over her, which is another gift….because it means she trusts me, too.
So, I’m learning to be gentle with myself, wherever I am. I’m learning to share all those parts, and to accept gifts of love and care. From discussions I’m having and books I’m reading, I’m concluding that women are not talk to TAKE we are taught to GIVE, and taking is a skill we have to learn for ourselves, but also for the people who love us. I’m working a Mother’s Day post called, “Happy Marty’s Day! A Mom’s Guide to Receiving Care, Compliments, and Cunnilingus.” I’m hoping to finish it by actual Mother’s Day (tomorrow), but if I don’t? Fuck it. I’m not perfect.