I remember looking in the mirror when my kids were teens and I legit did not recognize who was looking back at me. It was an enlightening but sad experience. I had lost myself. I had assimilated into 'The Mother' and 'The Wife' but who was Grace? Where did she go?
I was a dropout, young bride, and a teen Mom. Obviously, I wasn't prepared or established enough to deal with the aftermath of the decisions I had made. I kind of just fumbled my way along. I tended to the daily needs of my family and fought to get out from under the hand of poverty. School, job, wife, mother. Those were my roles, and I didn't have time to breathe. It was a whirlwind. I put their needs first and in the process I legit lost myself.
The awakening came late. I was irritable, depressed, and anxious. All the while holding a smile on my face and not giving a clue to anyone around me as to the turmoil that had developed inside me. I'm a soldier not a pussy. I put on my big girl panties and didn't take those bitches off. But… eventually came the time to address my needs, find myself and find my happiness again.
If any of this sounds familiar to any of you reading, take a deep breath and know your bright light is still there. It may get a little dim here and there but it's always there. You just have to tap it. You will also have to take action, prioritize yourself, and know that you are worth it. This is going to take effort and I promise you; it is rewarding. My mom used to tell me that “If you don’t give a fuck about yourself: nobody else will do it for you. This advice was precious, truthful, and as real as it gets.
I wish someone would have told me when I was young and in the muck of it… “You have to start prioritizing yourself. You need to self-care.” In reality, when you're in survival mode, self-care isn't even an afterthought. There are so many aspects of self-care. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs that need to be given time and attention to regularly. In the end, they often go neglected. How and where do you even begin? For some of you reading, self-care may seem like a distant dream. It’s not. It’s attainable and it is going to require you to prioritize yourself and take action. How and what does this look like you may ask? That means asking your partner or family member for 30 minutes with the kids while you take a bath. If that isn't possible, you can hopefully find that 30 minutes when they go to bed. Prioritize yourself. That may mean giving yourself just 10 minutes of breathing time in between the next snack or cartoon. Like to read? Grab a book and inch through it when the kids have fallen asleep and there is temporary silence. You don't always have to be cleaning or aiming for perfection. Take the 20 minutes you need to just do nothing, shut your eyes, and breath. The mess will still be there. The laundry isn't going nowhere.
It's ok to take a break and love yourself in the middle of the chaos. In a matter of fact, love yourself always, prioritize your needs, and be vocal about them. It is OK to ask for help. If possible, reach out to the support system around you. When I finally was able to seek professional assistance, one of the best things my therapist told me was " Even the greatest warriors have moments of fatigue." Hearing that felt like a weight had been lifted and I was able to finally take a deep breath. It is OK to be tired and when you are in touch with yourself, you are able to identify, address and lessen your moments of overwhelming fatigue. You are a beautiful warrior. You deserve love and like a flower need food, air, and water too. Love yourself always. My last reminder is this…even the chaos is beautiful, enjoy it, learn from it, make it your bitch. The kids will grow up, the halls will be empty, your hair will turn gray, and the remnants of a lifetime of emotion will be etched in your face. It’s humbling to reflect. I'm grateful for the experience.
Here are a few self-care activities that, if practiced regularly, will help you on your mission to love yourself.
Connection with self activities is one of the most important and neglected self-care essentials. They need to be prioritized and practiced regularly. Some personally helpful examples of self-care activities are:
Take a bath or a long hot shower - Good windows are when the kids go to sleep or when your partner is home and can take over watch.
Meditate- Try and learn basic techniques and practice them. I tapped YouTube for information and guidance on different methods. The peace and inner growth that happens in these precious moments of silence is priceless. Make it happen.
Square Breathing - This is good to use when overwhelmed or stricken with anxiety. Mastering this skill physiologically moves the blood in your brain so that you can calm down and continue solidly with your day. In a nutshell, you take a breath in for a count of 7, hold for 7, blow out for 7. Adjust your count to fit your comfort level. Do it with purpose and intention. Master it and thank me later.
Exercise- I know in the busyness of life it's hard to find time but if you realistically can give yourself 15 to 30 minutes to do squats at bedside while the kids nap or utilize playtime to punch in place or do sit ups, Do it. Exercise is proven to release our body's natural feel-good juice aka Endorphins.
Drink Water- Our bodies are composed primarily of water, and we need to be rehydrating regularly. This is essential to solid physical health.
Cum - There isn't much else to it. Whether you do it yourself or give the privilege to your partner, do it. The relinquishing of the weight of ten elephants awaits you haha.
Vibe High - This means to put yourself in a mindset of gratitude. Be grateful for your ability to breathe, walk, talk, laugh, love and exist. This journey in the meat suit is a beautiful mission. Embrace it for every laugh, tear, pain, and moment. We are special.
If at any point you feel overwhelmed and feel like you are going to hurt yourself or hurt others, reach out for help immediately or call 911. There are resources out there to help you feel better and get realigned. We are humans and we are in the middle of a very human experience. My 20 year career has taught me that sometimes we require assistance from beyond us and it is OK.
Now go let your little light shine. It is brighter than you know and more furious than what can be seen in this dimension.
Raw thoughts with Grace - Remember To Join Us @thebondedbox .com