I have been struggling for some time now, really almost 3 years since losing Mom. It is amazing how very much of my identity was connected to being a daughter. I have come to understand what a holding pattern of fear and sadness I have been living my life in, lost with that large portion of my identity having changed significantly.
I have noticed big changes within me, sadness encouraging me to even isolate myself from connecting with others, from the joy I used to always express through music and dancing in my home. I somehow allowed myself to lose that connection with the being inside of me, the spirit that would reach put and connect with others and gleefully move forward in the “craziness” of trying something new, being bold, and living life colorfully.
I have found myself avoiding things like bills (though I do get them paid on time) or creating a budget to better understand my finances as I look towards the future independently, housework or purging of “stuff”, of hiding in front of the TV connecting to the characters I see there instead of getting out to connect with those truly in my life. I have been missing the self care of proper nutrition, exercise and the mental release through painting or writing. My journaling has been half-hearted and unfocused. I haven’t given up on myself completely – at least the journals are still used somewhat and I get to the gym 3 times a week (admittedly because I continue to work with a trainer there), though I have been fantastic at completely avoiding the scale when I know I have “been bad” with my food choices and seeing the “results” through the weight coming back on. But even though I avoid the scale, I still know that I have not been kind to my body. In fact, the avoidance of the scale is almost more of an admission of shame than seeing the number on it would be.
It is like I have been going through the motions of life (for example I get to the gym) but not living life (loving care through good nutrition, stretching and my own cardio time). And all the while there has been a level of awareness that I am not choosing to live life well, and added guilt and shame that I should be, especially because I survived cancer and not all are given that gift.
But who wants to really admit that they are struggling or feeling like they are failing at living life? That though I still have hope and faith I feel like I have been trying to wade through a pit of clay-like mud that keeps pulling me back in if I for a moment relax the push forward. That the moment I let down my fight in celebration I seem to forget to do the work to keep the momentum and allow myself to be pulled backwards only to have to begin again, only each time becoming more and more aware of how difficult the journey can be.
Over a decade ago I was working with a personal trainer, taking the full circle of weight training, cardio, nutrition, stretching and body self care very seriously. I not only fell off the wagon, but threw myself so far from it that I couldn’t even see it on the horizon anymore. A few years ago when I went back (and it is a whole other topic on self forgiveness that I wasn’t able to do back at day 1 that I was doing when last at the gym after 2+ years if training) his words, meant to be encouraging, drove a small feeling of despair into my mind. Yes, I absolutely knew what it would take and felt immediately exhausted at the thought. I also felt frustrated at how I had let all that hard work go, shame at letting myself down.
And here I am again. There is my canvass before me and I find it extremely daunting. Though I started writing today thinking that there was a clean slate in front of me I see it now as a canvass that I have been working with half-heartedly of recent. I find myself fearful of placing a stroke of paint on the canvass for fear that I do it incorrectly, without guidance. Will it be the wrong colour or placement? What I need to remind myself is that what is important is to place that stroke or splash of paint. As with paint (and I believe why I prefer painting over colouring), when I don’t like what I see I need only choose a new color or direction and find a different way to change the canvass before me.
And so today, this post, is my new splash of paint on the canvass I have placed in front of me. Today I am making the choice to begin, not to burn the half hearted attempts of the past, but to allow myself to readjust, to paint over them. To know that those efforts (or moments frozen from fear and shame) will always be there lying beneath the new bold stroke of colouring, but knowing also that they give me the strength as a reminder of the choice to let it go and move forward with renewed inspiration.
The process of recreating my canvass to produce something I long for will not be a simple or easy one, I know, but with the spring renewal before me as inspiration, I begin again today.
With love, Glenna