You know, I was looking over my accomplishments this past week and I realized that there’s something I wanted to write about. Because when I see how busy each day is, I also see where I have been intentional about carving out a space for self care and that is something that is extremely important to me. As a stay at home mom, my main job description is to love. That’s it, right there. Love. Show it, grow it, spread it, foster it, nurture it. Love love love love love. And I’m telling you right now that it is impossible to love anyone else without being able to love yourself first.
My cousin Andrew Douglas lives in Arizona with his wife Rossi. Andrew is a couple of years younger than me but when we were kids and his family would fly up here to stay with us, Andrew would tag along with me to school. I have a favourite memory of Andrew standing outside of the classroom doors with a bunch of us all circled around him while he showed us all how to belch the alphabet. Could he have taught us how to belch the alphabet if he didn’t know how to do it? No, or at least the impact would have been winded and weak.
My Week In Review (linked up with the ever classy and witty Meghan from Clean Eats Fast Feets) is a blur of chaos. Like I showed you last Thursday, my Wednesday was filled to the brim with supersonic bore gore. But always, because I love my family, on my list of things to do? Is to love myself.
I don’t have to go on a masturbating rampage or eat 8 cartons of ice cream. Or get my nails done or spend $200 at the spa getting diarrhea from overdoing the dried fruit in the waiting room. All I have to do is intentionally (and that is the key word here) set aside a space for myself.
Just a space. Not a literal space, not an exact amount of time, no. Just an intentional, figurative bubble of safe protected space where I sink my hips into the ground, exhale, breathe in for a full five seconds, brew tea, light a candle, yes. Those things. They seem small and insignificant but it’s the little gifts we give ourselves that add up to everything.
So instead of listing off what bullshit recipe I made on what day and who had what teacher meeting or swimming lesson, I’m going to list off the things I did last week to love myself.
I started seeing a psychiatric nurse named Sue about two or three months ago to help me manage my anxiety issues. She’s so sweet, and so calm. When I walk into her office, I am cranked up so tight that she practically has to steam me off the ceiling in pieces but by the time I say all my shit out loud, I’m grounded and put back together like Humpy Dumpty. She gave me this breathing sheet that breaks down how to fucking breathe, step by step. After I got over how stupid I felt about the fact that I do not know how to breathe (hello, shallow breathers anonymous!) I decided to dig that paper out of my side table drawer and start using it. And guess what? IT WORKS. Breathe in (count to 5 one thousandths) and breathe out (count to 5 one thousandths). I do it until the blood starts draining from my forehead and back down into my extremities.
I also follow this mind-blowing woman on Instagram. Her name is Marybeth, and a lot of the stuff she posts really speaks to me. One post in particular, and I mentioned this last week, is where she describes how the squatting position helps the woman balance her femininity between fighter and lover. Monster slayer and love giver. So whenever I feel like I’m off balance (when I feel used and overlooked, or when I feel homicidal), I go somewhere, anywhere, and I squat. I press my spine up against the wall or a chair and I sink down, and get that balance back. It sounds weird, but so does not cooking your meat all the way through and we all know that just keeps it tender.
Candles. I light them, because I love me. I rub almond oil (thanks to Heather’s suggestion) on my body with a dab of lavender. This shit literally takes seconds. Seconds! I dug out some white Christmas lights from the crawlspace filled with spiders and I hung them in the kitchen window.
I got rid of the vertical blinds and spent $30 on curtains, and hung Katie’s “Family” plaque over the metal thingies instead of filling and painting the holes.
I drank wine out of my favourite mug.
I wrote out my heart. I stood up for what I believe in. I had Jake and his friends over on Saturday night (the night he was invited to that stupid party) and we danced in the living room and sang karaoke.
Every single day without fail I hold Callum in my arms and dance to Meghan Trainor’s new song in the kitchen. Callum holds out his sweet little hand and I intertwine my fingers with his and I die right there. Love is so much and so hard and so filling. Whoever is home can’t help but join us. We have seriously shitty stuff to deal with but the fact that my loves can come together and dance in the kitchen makes everything okay. That’s home, right there. Those moments are home.
I think this would be a really great time to show Meg my dreads, eh?
And, of course, I run.
And sometimes if I have a low mileage running week I will hoop.
So, that’s my week. And I share it because I want you guys to love yourself first too, because I need you to love me right after.
What do you do to show yourself self-love?
Don’t hold back here. Maybe at family gatherings or church, but not here.