Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Freedom to Make a Mess

I'm on vacation, free to leave underwear, bathing suits and towels on the floor. No one to care about my mess; I am the only one to see it and for the time being I like that. When I'm at home, I make the bed every day, wash the dishes, fold the laundry, constantly worrying that I'm not doing enough and that I need everything to be in it's right place so that every one in the house will be pleased with me. But my nature isn't to make the bed, or to change the sheets every week; before I got married, I would wait two months before washing and changing them. At this point in my life I can't imagine going that long before taking care of things. My relationship with order and cleanliness is love, hate.

At this point in my life I don't want to sleep on sheets that haven't been changed in 60 days, nor do I want to look at an unmade bed. But on vacation...

I've been holding tightly for so long, and now I want to let go. I love seeing the trail of dirty clothes on my bedroom floor at the beach house and my make up and toiletries strewn all over the bathroom sink.

I have lived so small, taking up as little space as possible. Suffocating, gasping for air. And now I am coming up, breathing, spreading out, being seen. Being alive.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Guilt and Acceptance

It's Tuesday morning, I have nothing to do other than relax before I teach tonight and yet something within me won't allow it to fully happen. I have been plagued by debilitating bouts of guilt for a good part of my life. Always worrying if it looks as though I'm putting my needs before the needs of someone else, to the point that most of the time I'm not aware of what I need, my focus so consistently aimed outside myself.

I'm trying hard to seem normal, actually not having wants and needs isn't normal. I'm hardwired to be hypervigilant, trying my best to do the right thing lest someone accuse me of being selfish, ungrateful, etc. In the end it is I who lose. I lose myself and I lose my integrity as a human being. Ultimately, I have to take care of myself; I have to know my needs, there is no one else that can do this for me.

I'm a sensitive and delicate soul that struggles to make her way through this world. I wound deeply; I feel deeply; I care deeply. Always looking over my shoulder, quick to make sure I'm doing the right thing because I cannot bear to hear that I've gotten it wrong. Trying to be perfect, or fit into societies' version of what a "good" and "worthy" person should be, when in truth being my true self doesn't resemble what society expects of me. As my therapist says, I'm an outlier on the bell curve of normalcy. I wish society's definition of normal would change, but I could be waiting and wishing for the rest of my life. At some point I'm going to have to forge my own way, accepting all of my qualities, both the acceptable and the unusual. I've got seven more hours by myself. So what'll it be, guilt or opening up and wrapping my arms around the wonder that is me?


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Self-Care

I'm starting to learn to make some changes in my life that involve taking better care of myself. I have been experiencing exhaustion for a few weeks now, teaching a rigorous schedule that was simply too much for my body to handle. My mental and emotional states are fine, but my body hasn't been. I've been teaching so much that I have stopped my own personal yoga practice. I can feel myself growing less flexible and my muscles tired. I have given up workshops at places that I dearly love and I stopped teaching four of my classes.

So I am becoming choosy about where I spend my energy. I've narrowed it down to one studio and that feels absolutely right for me. I've been spreading myself thin trying to please other people, and in the end I am the one who suffers and has to break commitments, and then I beat myself up for saying no or letting go of something because I can't do it anymore.

When you have an illness like bipolar, it's important to be able to set proper boundaries for yourself, which is something I'm learning the hard way. I have to learn not to make commitments that are illogical, such as driving two hours round trip to teach a one hour class, even if I do love the people and the studio. I'm just now learning that exhaustion can play a big role in my illness and in the end it's better to do all I can to preserve my health than to be the go to girl that always says yes and gets things done.

I have three days off and more than likely a large chunk of that time will be spent in bed; I'm learning that's okay, it's part of what I have to deal with. Ultimately what I am learning is to say no and to have compassion for myself and my tired body. It's okay to say no and it is it okay for me to be tired and need to rest, it's normal.

I don't have to be normal compared to everyone else, but I am normal regarding the condition that I deal with every day, and that makes me smile with relief.