Birthday blog post: On unfolding lessons
Put on your own oxygen mask first.
Self care Sunday!
You can't pour from an empty cup.
We hear these things so often, it seems like the self-care cliches are never-ending, and yet it's extremely hard to implement them (at least for me.) I turned 28 years old today, and for a long while now I've been waiting to feel like a grown-up. Waiting for the day that I would wake up and feel In Charge, and Arrived, and like I was the one who knew what she was doing. I've been a mom for a little over 6 years now and "grown" (whatever that means) for a decade, and a lot of the time it still blows my mind that the world is allowing me into those roles.
Like, me? Have you MET me?! In so many ways I'm still a mess.
Anyhow, while I may be an opinionated-ass bitch, I wouldn't call myself an expert on ANY topic. But what I would claim to have is a whole lot of unfolding lessons, shit that life is teaching me where I feel like I'm finally starting to catch on, just a little bit. In no particular order, here are a few of them here:
Unfolding lesson #1: Parents, the oxygen mask thing is REAL (especially if you're parenting a kid with a trauma history). Don't be a martyr; your self-sacrifice is not helping anyone. I really, REALLY hope that someone somewhere reads this and learns this lesson a little bit faster and smoother than I did! My love for my kids and my desire to help them work through things is strong, but I have gotten to the point (after YEARS of struggle and fucking it up) where I understand that if I am not getting what I need to function at the top of my capacity, my kids will never thrive. I've also come to realize that when it comes to trauma and mental health, there is nothing that I can do to guarantee healing for another person. If my equilibrium depends on that of my children, that puts an extremely unfair expectation on their shoulders, shoulders that have already had to carry way too many burdens. In 2022, I'll be continuing to work on making sure that my mental health and happiness does not hinge on the mental health and happiness of my kids in ANY way. And I'll be continuing to work on putting myself first (yep, you read that correctly.) If the captain is incapacitated, the ship WILL sink. And since my children are on that ship, I cannot afford to risk it sinking.
Unfolding lesson #2: Humaning is a team sport, and I am not way better or way worse at it than anyone else. I'm nobody's savior and also everyone else is not killing it way more than me. I am prone to both extremes so if you are too, heeeeyyyyy I relate to you! I have a tendency to judge others, to assume that I am able to fix what they're struggling with and save them from their challenges. In the past I had the bad habit of overextending myself beyond my own boundaries and then getting irritated when my "selfless" assistance was not met with gratitude/respect/kindness etc. I learned over time that giving with expectations is not actually giving, that no one owes you the outcome you were expecting, and that I am not able to save anyone, from anything. I think I've gotten way better at being a helping hand t others now that I'm starting to understand those ideas, and I know that helping others when I truly have the space to do so FEELS way more fulfilling now than it used to. On the flip side, I'm learning that every single human has secret struggles, those tough points in their journey that they're maybe not proud of or would rather others not see, same as me. So there's just no point in envy or stressing worrying that I'm not as far along on the board of life as other people are. I'm to say that I've internalized the phrase "comparison is the thief of joy" (that's one cliche I can totally get behind!) and my life is better for it.
Unfolding lesson #3: My brain isn't always going to want the shit that's good for me, that I need the most to thrive (routines, water, exercise etc.) but I would argue that the MOST IMPORTANT PART of adulting...is doing that shit anyway. I knooooowww it's hard. If you can't relate to this MUST BE FREAKING NICE but if you can, I know, it's so rough. You're right, water really doesn't taste good. I want a McDonald's coke and a 3-hour social media content binge too, but we can't make that a thing too often or else it's gonna be an everyday thing and then it's gonna be our lives and I don't want that for us! This lesson is not a recent one but it's one that's been taking me a while. And it's okay if you're learning it slowly, with lots of stops and starts also. Me too.
That it's, there's only 3! To be honest, just the three feels like a long list to me. If you've made it this far, damn that's really nice of you. Thanks for reading my words and for being a human on this earth with me.
Happy birthday to me and happy new year to all of us. Here's to being lifelong students of unfolding lessons, this year and every year of our lives.