Perhaps a week ago I would have started this post by apologizing for being MIA last week. I’d apologize for being exhausted and thank you for your patience. But this is not a week ago. This is today and I am not apologizing. Not out of pride, but out of realizing the reason I didn’t post is because I was doing what I hope you have been doing what we’ve been talking about this month- self care. And so there is no need to apologize.
I want to sit with this whole apologizing thing for a second. It’s usually mentioned in tandem with forgiveness. And forgiveness is usually in tandem with other, as in forgiving someone other than yourself. Forgiving someone, anyone, and everyone else. Your spouse, your children, sibling, parents, ex boo thang, the kid who bullied you in middle school, the teacher who discriminated against you in college,the boss who treated you like you weren’t worth the concrete their Pradas click clacked on. We forget about the power of forgiving ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but I can be really tough on myself. The boundaries that I have, love, and was privileged to share with Founded Magazine recently, came at a price and a process. The price was a life I didn’t like much and a lie I bought into- I was powerless to change . The process- recognizing the lie for what it was and realizing that there wasn’t much that had happened in my life that I couldn’t make a comeback from. It would be a process, and that process would start by me forgiving myself. It would be my letting myself off the hook for poor decisions whether it was in relationships, with finances, school, or work. It would be me sitting with the messes I made and not blaming myself, but gathering the broken pieces of my past and seeing them as that, broken pieces of my past. Not my future. It would be calling a mistake for what it was, a mistake. It would be pulling out the positives by all means necessary. Even in the most wretched situations there can be a powerful positive take away (and that usually comes with time removed from the situation). The same way it is hard to care for yourself if you don’t take the time to know yourself, it can be hard to forgive yourself if you avoid sorting through the painful predicaments you’ve been lugging around (cue Erykah Badu’s Bag Lady). It’s hard to forgive myself if I don’t acknowledge the ways in which I have not been gracious with or loving towards myself.
This past week was exhausting. I know that some of it comes with the transition of moving back across the country and gearing up for a new academic year at a new campus. I also know that some of the exhaustion comes from the work that I do. It’s inherent to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but make no mistakes I really do love the work and helping people build relationships cross culturally. The only thing I’d change is doing it as an employee of someone else as opposed to myself. But that will change :). I also know that some of that exhaustion comes from me trying to expedite my life to be like it was about two years ago. Things were calm, familiar, safe, predictable, comforting. I wouldn’t use those words to describe the last two years at all.
As I laid in bed after my morning nap I reached for my kindle to start rereading Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg. There is a part of the book where she talks specifically about the reality of a comeback. Party of that reality is time. It is the reality of time and honoring time to heal and to recreate the life you desire (hopefully one with no shortage of joy). I was pushing myself too hard. I was amping up everything- the “I got everything under control,” the longer and more frequent work out routines at the gym, the unpacking, styling, attempts at writing/blogging, social media engaging, rounds of checking in with friends, and it wasn’t boding well because the reality was I still needed time to ease back into the things that bring me the most joy and doing then from a plaice of joy and not necessity, expectation, obligation, or fear.
I apologized to myself. It may sound silly, but I did. The apology was attached to me and the forgiveness is attached to me. The only way I can stay focused on taking care of myself is patiently and slowly moving forward. Patiently. Slowly. Moving. Forward. Period. Not telling myself it was my fault, get over it, let it go, and get it done. That doesn’t work. It really creates a false sense of denial, that allows you to kind of survive for a bit, but sooner or later you are exhausted as all get out for “no reason”. Besides survival serves a purpose but life well LIVEd is on that is about thriving.
August is winding down and thus the intentional posts about taking care of yourself. I will always want you to take care of yourself. I will always be working towards creating a life where I take care of myself. I couldn’t end the month without taking a moment encourage you to apologize to yourself and forgive yourself. You had a cheat week on your diet instead of a cheat meal. It’s okay. You’ll get back on track. You hooked up again with the ex you know is not healthy for you. It’s okay. Really it is. Take a moment to think about what you needed, what made you acquiesce to the request to come over or go out. It’s fine to need whatever you needed, you just gotta figure out a different and healthier way to meet that need. You bought the $100.00 pair of shoes instead of the $50.00 ones and your budget really said this month you should have gotten the $35.00 ones. It’s okay. You may have to skip happy hour the next couple weeks to get back on track, or host happy hour at your home and wear those new shoes. The point is we are human. We, as in you and me. Not just the other people in our lives. We cant just let everyone else be human, forgive them, shrug off the offense and then hold ourselves hostage to our own mistakes. May you have one of the sweetest most gracious self forgiving good loving kind of weeks ever! xxoo
Oh, and this is the counselor in me- if the mistakes you are making or things you hare having a hard time forgiving yourself for include self destructive or abusive behaviors are ones, that’s gonna need more than this blog post, a bubble bath, and self reflection. Please seek professional help.