It’s impossible to always put yourself first…
but poisonous to always put yourself last.
Those words are by my friend, Jenni Chiu. I found them tonight and I'm sharing them with you now, partly because they need to be shared.
Mostly because I needed the reminder myself.
I'm in a weird place right now. I'm not even sure of the words to use to describe it, which doesn't happen very often. All I know is I keep hoping that tomorrow the veil I can't shake will have lifted. I want to see the sun again and feel it on my face.
I want to stop being the reason The Husband worries.
I want to stop being tired all the time and remember what it feels like to revel in my once-regular workout routine because I know it makes me feel good.
What I don't want is for Christmas to be a giant farce wrapped in pretty paper, because right now, that's what it's turning out to be. The Christmas cards went out. The gifts are under the tree. Santa's ready. I know Christmas morning will be magical for her. Her magic is my own. But I want my own groove back.
When I wake up to find my daughter quietly playing in her room, her breakfast dishes in the sink, and the opened cereal box on the kitchen counter because she knows Mama needed sleep, I vow to sleep like normal people do and wake (like normal people do) with (or even before) my child. I'll start tomorrow. Then I'll start the next day. And then it's 3:30 a.m. and I've accomplished nothing. I climb into bed, drawing myself close to the warmth of my husband's body, and fall asleep before I can worry about everything I still have left to do.
She asked for waffles the other day. I made them for lunch. But I know it's not the same.
I'm going to be 36 soon. The new year is almost upon us. There's a promise in every tomorrow. I know all of these things. I just don't feel them right now. Maybe it's something in the water. Or maybe I'm seeing so many friends writing about how they are pulling themselves through this holiday season just barely because so many of my friends are writers now and this is just how we process. I'm not sure. What I do know is I see myself in their words. Maybe you see yourself in mine.
We're mothers. We're women. We're tired but don't want to be.
We're doing what needs to be done for others. We're wishing we didn't feel guilty for even considering that we must also do what we want for ourselves.
We push ourselves relentlessly because we've learned to balance the weight of the world on our shoulders and don't know how to deal with the sense of lightness that comes when anyone else tries to lift it because that is what we would do for those that we love. The problem is that we don't know how to handle taking the time we need for ourselves to just breathe and do for ourselves before we find ourselves running on empty.