Clarity. It is rare for me. Sandwiched in between all the have-to's, should-have's, the what-if's and the gonna's, sometimes it makes a brief appearance. And when it does, it is usually so prominent that I get distracted by it. For me, it often comes along with an extreme desire for order and organization, things that have been largely absent in my life from the get-go. So, toward the end of last week, when I started feeling like I need to plan out what each section of my new apartment "needs" in order to be organized and feel fully functional, I took it as a little clue that there was bound to be some clarity coming soon. It's not always profound, the stuff my clarity provides, but I take what I can get.
Monday shifts start late for me, and now that my kids are out of school, that means I can sleep later and spend a pretty quiet morning easing into the thought of starting a new workweek. During the weekend, I had several little moments of clarity. First was in the fact that wearing short sleeves feels good, liberating almost, but I almost never do it anymore because I absolutely loathe the way my arms look. But then I remembered a quote I saw once, that says something like, 'you would worry less about what people think of you if you realized how seldom they do.' I'd give credit for the quote but it is disputed who actually said it. So, my not wearing short sleeves was a way of making my own self uncomfortable so that others could be more comfortable, by avoiding showing them my arms which I deem disgusting, and they may not even notice or care, and they certainly won't be dwelling on it 10 or 20 or 1,000 minutes from now. So this weekend, I wore short sleeves without shame or care. I even was so brave to wear a tank top outside on Saturday when temperatures hit the 90's with high humidity. No one's lives were shattered, and I was way more comfortable, physically. I realized that I always do this, try to be as little an inconvenience as possible, try to be out of the way and helpful, even at the cost of my own comfort. Yes, this is from childhood, my mother was great at making me feel like an inconvenience, a mistake. I do these things without realizing, always trying to accomodate others. I feel guilty taking. Taking time for my silly pleasures like playing Angry Birds or Candy Crush on my phone, watching a show that only I like, writing or reading. I always try to make sure everyone else's needs are met before I'll allow myself to indulge in things that I enjoy. And that's not to say that I don't enjoy taking care of my family/work etc, but I think I am a little too quick to doso at the expense of my own needs/wants. It's an area I need to work on. Now that I'm more conscious of it, I will make more of an effort to make my needs/wants known and give them some priority. It reminds me of this saying I saw on Pintrest, "You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm." Unknown. I need to start living like that, at least a little bit.
Another thing I noticed this weekend, is how I feel like I'm letting summer slide by without finding the joy I usually get from it. Part of that is due to the weather we've had, a ton of rain/storms and really hot days that just aren't enjoyable. And the fact that I've been sick with a sinus infection for a month now, makes it a little harder. But more important is that, by the time Saturday afternoon has arrived, I am already thinking of how the weekend is going to be over in the blink of an eye and it is like a cloud hanging over my weekend. Sunday has a depressing feel, despite being a day off, because I am already predicting its end and the start of the work week. For that reason, I don't particularly like going on big excursions because it seems like Sunday is the last chance to rest for the weekend, and if we are off busy, going and doing, I fear I won't feel well-rested for the start of the week. The truth is, I usually enjoy myself way more when we do go out and do something on Sunday than if we just stay home, it really is a matter of mindset. So, when my younger son decided he wanted to go to the beach on Sunday afternoon, I did my best to keep an open mind and decided to enjoy it because summer go by so fast in my area. And we had a pretty good time.
So today being Monday, I had that aforementioned easy morning complete with extra sleep, a little gentle yoga and a neti pot rinse for my sinuses. Driving to work, a gloomy, post-rain, tree-tunneled trip, I thought about how I used to brag about how much I loved the rain and overcast days because it made things feel so much calmer and less manic. And then I realized that I loved the rain because I was gloomy inside and I didn't want to feel good or happy. And I don't so much love the rain anymore. I don't hate it, but I don't love it. I imagined the difference of a bright, glowing light, such as the kind that streams through a window and highlights dancing dust like tiny fairies decieving your eyes, making everything around it glow. Between the two images, it was the light that made me feel so good and peaceful. I deserve to have light. I deserve to rewrite my story because things are always changing in life if you are aware of them. The difference in my life now is that I am seeking that warmth, where before I pushed that away, perhaps because I bought into the idea that I wasn't worthy of it. I think this summer will be one of redefining what I need to feel that warm light around me. The peace I'm seeking is in me, not outside me, I just have to let go of my fear of going in there to find it.
After losing and regaining 40 pounds, it is really tempting to jump into something restrictive to help the outside change, but if I have learned anything from the past 30 years of dieting, its that the mental stuff is what makes or breaks you. And I don't have all that sorted out yet. This summer will be about reading, meditating, and as much self-care as I can fit in, from stretching to using a neti pot and doing lymphatic drainage massage, to getting a good amount of rest consistently, etc. All of those things feel good and help to heal some beaten up parts of me. I think, in order to have lasting success, taking care of oneself (including fixing eating issues) should feel natural and loving, not restrictive and forced. So, it will be time to put myself first more of the time, and do the things my body needs based on internal cues. I'll admit it feels wierd not to be making some "I'm going to start a new diet" statement, especially being so heavy, but I have a good feeling that this summer is going to blow my mind, and then fix my mind. It could be the end of my emotional struggles that are keeping me attached to food. If nothing else, it will be an interesting experiement.