The past few months have been hard. And hard has been a word I’ve been using a LOT for I can’t remember how long. Major life changes. Uncertainty of professional direction. Continued barrage of xenophobia, racism, sexism. Most personally challenging of all, a combination of chronic and acute illness that has raised its ugly head and put me flat on my back, quite literally.
I am a fighter. A doer. I love to stay active, and I want to use whatever I have in this life to do whatever good I can. I thrive on pushing myself and pursuing purpose and getting sh*t DONE.
Its been a long journey for me to learn to balance this side of myself with the empathic, sensitive and creative side. Both need to be nurtured. Both need to be cared for. And I was just starting to figure out what self care looked like for me. Morning tea, creativity seminars, poetry, yoga, swimming, dancing, biking, playing with my dog, meditation and medication.
It made for the perfect cocktail. I could feel every part of me thriving and coming alive at once.
And then. Flat. On. My. Back.
My mind is clouded. My body is stiff and in pain, and all it allows me to do is lay in bed. Sometimes it lets me take a shower. Occasionally it lets me go for 20 minute walks at the park across the street.
For the past few months I have felt like I lost myself. Rather than spending each day educating the next generation, ending human trafficking, fighting for justice, and caring for my husband and my body I have spent my days feeling helpless, needy, and vulnerable.
It has honestly been depressing. And depression is something I have worked really hard not to let be in charge of me. I am particularly vulnerable to depression at times, like now, when I find myself no longer thriving, but simply surviving.
Now I don’t have grandiose ideas of my own value. But I do believe I have exactly the same amount of value as every other person on this planet. And I do believe this planet needs every single one of us at our absolute best.
But here’s the thing: Sometimes surviving IS our best. Sometimes surviving is HOW we fight.
And once I started to think about it that way I realized that it wasn’t my body limiting and controlling me, it is me choosing to love my body for working so hard to heal itself and choosing to honor what its needs and boundaries are.
It doesn’t change the fact that I need to rest. It doesn’t change the fact that stretching is how I exercise and that I order in most meals. It doesn’t change the fact that my clouded mind and low energy and constant nausea requires that I not commit to any plans or projects knowing that I cannot promise to follow through.
What it *does* change is how I think about myself as I do those things. I choose to value myself for the choices I make to do the things that I can do, and I stop focusing on berating myself for what I can’t do. Especially when the things I can’t do are actually things I should do: example, I can’t get up and run, but I CAN care for myself by resting.
In doing these things I am keeping myself going. I am refusing the lies the world has taught me about where my value lies. I am choosing to fight.
And in doing so, I am still a member of the resistance.
So if you find yourself in a similar place, I just want to remind you to remind yourself that your day to day survival is an act of resistance. We are all called to work with what we have where we are, no more and no less. So choose to fight on by loving yourself and others, and know we here in this community all stand beside you, fellow warrior.
In solidarity, and with my heart,