As I brush my teeth, I look at it. I have read it so many times I know it by heart, yet I read it twice a day.
I remember the day my bestie gave it to me. I opened it, and my heart sang. It speaks to me. To the way, I operate – give it all and then some.
Somedays, the feeling isn’t as strong as it was back then. Some mornings when I read it, I feel like I am letting myself down.
Like everyone, the last 18 months have been a challenge for me. From homeschooling, trying not to lose my mind being at home with two teenage boys and two dogs. Juggling working, kids and keeping my shit together has been interesting.
For the first 14 months of this new normal, I found ways to keep it together. It was a lot of exercise, going for walks, riding my bike and gardening. I made a big decision in January to do something I really wanted, I wanted to be able to work anywhere with or without the boys, and they still like spending time with me and we love to camp. So, I traded in my VW Beetle and bought an SUV that would pull a travel trailer. We had one for years and I had just started to get comfortable taking it by myself, yet I had to give it up the divorce settlement, yet I wasn’t going to let that stop me.
I found a great little one and I bought it! I remember driving home – terrified and so excited. Oh, the adventures I was going to have. The first two were fantastic, one with just me and the dogs and one with the boys. I was so proud of myself – this was a massive deal for me and so out of my comfort zone, yet I wasn’t going to let it stop me. The first time I had to hook it up it took me about 12 tries to get the car in place and I can’t back it up into my driveway yet (ok I am not very good at backing it up at all).
Then on our third trip, I had an accident. I fell out of the trailer and did major damage to my knee. An ambulance ride to the hospital and then emergency surgery later that week. That was just the start. I was on the sofa for months. The first six weeks my sister dropped everything, flew across the country, and took care of me. I didn’t see my bedroom or bathroom for almost 11 weeks, it was upstairs, and I couldn’t do the stairs.
I did a pretty good job with keeping it together for the first eight weeks or so but once my sister had to go, I was home alone a lot (I do week on week off custody with my boys), couldn’t drive, couldn’t go upstairs, couldn’t get a shower – it is brutal when you have to call a friend to have a shower and we had one of the hottest summers on record. This was when it was the hardest for me. I would just do the bare minimums when it came to pretty much everything – I wasn’t motivated to do anything, yet I was so tired of not doing nothing – such a catch 22.
There was a comment on a Facebook post I made – she told me she found breaking her leg and loss of mobility harder than breast cancer. That made me stop and think. Was this harder than Breast Cancer for me? Having to let go of my left boob really messed with me for a long time, and this was messing with me yet in a different way. Almost five months later, I am still rehabbing and there is more to come.
The day I went upstairs for the first time and brushed my teeth, I ready my sign. Then I cried – I had forgotten, and I am still in the process of remembering. The physical rehab is one thing; the emotional part is another. I will tell you, there were days I would get out of bed and then cry. This was a common occurrence – usually, when this happens, I know that if I work out, it will shift, but when I can’t work out, I have a tough time making this go away. In August, I had a chance of scenery, which really helped but didn’t solve it all together, and it is still going yet not nearly as much.
I now have the sign on my wall and my desktop. I use it as a reminder for me. It has help me bring back my motivation, why I did what I do. It also reminds me that it is up to me what I choose. Some days I can work a lot and be super productive, some days, not so much and that is ok.
So why am I sharing this with you?
I know that I am not the only one who has a hell of an 18 months. I know that I am not the only one who may or may not cry every day. I am just one woman who is really ok to tell it like it is. I don’t put on a face that everything is FINE (OMG, I hate that word more than anything and I have a slogan – you can see it on www.gina.best). I sure don’t have all the answers yet I know what works for me and my clients, so I will share some of my tips and tricks here. Some may work for you; some may not.
Find yourself a sign that works – the one I talk about here is not the only one I have, I love signs, yet the sign has to speak to you. You need to get that tingly feeling when you read them. For you, it may not be a sign. It could be a picture, a quote, a poem – whatever it is, put it somewhere you can read it at least once a day.
Stop beating yourself up – we are so mean to ourselves, and that is not ok. We are doing the best that we can with where we are, and guess what – that is ok.
Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone every day if you can. Our comfort zone is a prison we create for ourselves. Right now, mine is walking up and down my driveway (inclines are really hard for me, and I am terrified I am going to fall, but I won’t let that stop me.
Take some time for you to do something that brings you joy. I know I have been missing this a lot lately, and I am working on it. Find those moments, a snuggle with your kid or dog, a laugh with your friends, a bath and a bad show – whatever it is – let yourself have it.
Find a theme song – I have songs that run through my head for so many things, and this really keeps me going at times.
I know that these few things will not make all our challenges and feelings go away yet that are a few that you can do that I know work. Feel free to reach out to me if you think I can support you – firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was originally published on AtFortyFive.com