January 13, 2017

Forget Diamonds

... leggings are a girl's best friend.

Christmas is over. The kids are back in school. Life returns to however you define "normal" and continues.

I'm not a huge fan of making a so-called new year's resolution. The standard "lose weight, quit smoking, completely change your life" resolutions rarely succeed - even though the after-Christmas advertisements cater to - and even promise - the success of said resolutions. But I see every new day as an opportunity to do something different or set a new goal.

If I had to pick a resolution for the year, I would choose to take better care of myself. In the last few years, I have learned just how precious health is. I don't take "bad" care of myself per se, but there's always room for improvement. Caring for me involves both body and mind, loving and accepting who I am, and making peace with the past.

I first stumbled on the concept of "self-care" in charting out my healing path. As a logical thinker, I thought I could plan how to improve my health, create a flow chart of steps, and implement it. Life rarely follows a plan. I dodged obstacle after obstacle until I had a moment of clarity. I was separate from everything going on in my life. Life has a way of dealing with itself - issues are resolved and problems are solved - and life goes on. I didn't think I agreed with that statement until I realized there was only one thing in this life I could control. My thoughts.

Much of my anxiety stemmed from the expectations I'd placed on other people (and the consequent disappointment). I believe in treating people like I want to be treated, but the reality is people often do not share this sentiment. Whatever the reason, it is completely irrelevant, I have had to alter beliefs instilled in me since childhood. When you drill down to the basics, everyone has their own problems and you can't expect anyone to be there for you. Take this statement matter-of-factly. I'm not jaded or negative or cynical. My eyes have been opened to the truth. No one cares. Right or wrong. When I reported my assault to the local police, I had expected them to investigate. When I became ill and missed several months of services, I had expected my church family of nine years to reach out. My neighbours never brought me casseroles. My friends never sent me flowers. I hadn't expected this, but these are things I would've done. Not everyone is a decent human being. We live among assholes. And although I've come to accept this, it won't change how I treat other people. So when I say "I don't care" I actually mean I've released all the heavy expectations I'd placed on other people and I'm okay with that.

I've made a hobby, of sorts, of reading self-help books. Some concepts I believe and others I struggle with. In particular, Byron Katie's Loving What Is was a tough sell for me. I get the futility of arguing with reality, but I still protest the acceptance of it. I can identify the thoughts which trouble me, but I have difficulty turning them around. I can appreciate her personal experiences, but I don't feel she has the necessary education and training in mental health issues to advise and treat others. My husband seemed to instantly understand her process, and maybe I will come to the same understanding at a later time.

Until then I hold to the firm belief that the human body has the ability to heal itself. I will be healthy again. TBD. The human body is a miraculous, self-healing machine. When you cut your skin, a scab forms. When you break a bone, it fuses back together. We are equipped with built-in disease fighters - physical barriers (like skin), the immune system, inflammation, and fever - which help ward off infection and promote healing. The exact formula for healing is an unknown, but somewhere in me, there is an answer.

I see every day as a new beginning, a clean slate. I can only experience today. The past molds you into the person you are now, but the past is a period of time which was and cannot be changed. Likewise, it is unknown what lies in store for tomorrow or 2017 or any moment which belongs to the future. We are, and always will be, part of the now.

The reality is I am writing my blog, wearing a comfy hoodie and leggings, hoping my musings will be relevant to someone out there. They are certainly meaningful to me.

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