Over the last couple of months, I've been relearning how to focus on myself. I've always been of the mindset that I should take care of others first and myself last. As you can imagine, this wears thin after a while. A very dear friend put it to me like this:
Focus on YOU FIRST think of it this way... you are a gardener planting tomatoes. Everyone wants to eat your tomatoes. So you feed everyone. But then you don't have any left. So you don't eat and you're too weak to plant another crop. Next time the whole village starves. To be there for others, you have to have inner resources to draw from. Take care of yourself first.She's a wealth of wisdom, and I'm lucky to have her in my life.
Following this advice, I've been focusing on me, and what makes me happy.
10 Ways I 'Self-Care'
How Whiskey Gets Her Groove Back
1. Going Out With Friends: I've been all over this damn city lately. I've been eating at places I've always wanted eat at...Going to see shows...Attending events...all with the amazing friends that I, unfortunately, sidelined throughout my relationship. Listening to them bitch (kindly) at me for neglecting them over the last year has taught me that I never want to do that again. I will always, ALWAYS make a point of making time to see my friends. I've spent nights eating some of the best food our city has to offer, laughing and being silly on rooftops overlooking the downtown skyline, I saw Dick Dale play with more energy at 79 than I have at 36, I've seen one of my oldest and dearest friend's band play at their CD release party, I've been to a comedy roast of our horrible governor, I've been to house parties where I've made new friends, and I've sat and drank boatloads of coffee with amazing people.
2. Going Out Alone: This is a big deal for me. I hate going anywhere alone, and it 100% has to do with my social anxiety. Over the last few months I've been working to overcome this, and while it's still kind of scary, I feel like I'm making excellent progress. I've been able to take myself out for coffee, and convince myself to just sit and relax alone while I enjoy my drink. It helps that I feel most comfortable at my favorite coffee place. I've also been taking myself out to eat alone. This is something I would NEVER do before. There's always been something about going to a restaurant and sitting by myself that scared the hell out of me. It gets a little easier every time. I've also gone to exhibits/lectures alone. Again, this is something I would have never done before...if I couldn't find someone to go with, I just wouldn't go. I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of interesting people this way.
3. Boundaries: I'm learning to set boundaries. Typically, I am a people pleaser, and I can't say no. I'm teaching myself how to say 'no' and not feel like I'm letting everyone down. An example is the messages I've been getting in my Facebook Messenger. In the past, I would have spent all of my time trying to return every single message, and explain that I'm not looking to get involved or 'talk' to anyone while I'm going through my healing process. Over and over again, just so no one would get their feelings hurt. Never again. No. I explain it once, and then I don't read any further messages. I explain my boundaries, and I expect them to be respected.
4. Exercise: I've been exercising like a mad woman. It makes me feel better while I'm doing it, and for a good while afterwards. It also makes me feel sexy. I even took a 3 mile walk with a good friend. Sure, I was wheezing and pretty sure I was going to meet my maker by the end of the walk (thanks to my super unhealthy habits)...but it was fun to spend that time with my friend.
5. Beauty: I've cut and bleached my hair...dyed it pink...had facials...had massages...anything that I wanted to do, that I didn't have the time or money to before, I've made a point to do it. The way I dress, the way I do my hair and makeup, the scents I choose to wear, they are all 100% for me.
6. Family: I've rebuilt relationships with my family. I'm now closer to my parents and brothers than I have ever been before. Each and every one of them has lifted me up and taken care of me in their own unique way over the last few months. My dad and I have never had a close relationship until now, and he has gone above and beyond to take care of me lately. I am so thankful to have such a close and loving relationship with everyone in my immediate family now.
7. Creativity: I'm writing inane blog posts full of grammatical errors...but at least I'm writing, right? I told my old writing partner a few months ago that I hadn't written anything in months...while he's off taking workshops and putting me to shame. So, I'm taking baby steps with my writing, and I thank you for suffering through it. I'm also working on making jewelry, painting, making a mess with oil pastels, and people seem to like my skyline photographs (several have asked for prints, and I'd love to sell them if I knew how) so I've been taking some more of those.
8. Future: I've been making plans. I've finally reached the point where I will be able to live alone. It will be a struggle at first, but after a few months it will become much easier. The goal is to not rush into anything and regret it later. I'm taking my time deciding where I want to move, while I wait for a few things to come in that will help with the fees/deposits. I'm building my future, my way.
9. Driving: I normally hate driving. When your commute was an hour and half, down the most hated stretch of road in the state for 4 years...driving isn't at the top of your 'favorite things' list. Lately, if I'm having a really emotionally moment, and I want to calm myself down I'll go for a drive. Something about concentrating on the road (and the idiot drivers around me) helps me to refocus my attention on something other than what is bothering me.
10. Forgiveness: I forgive him, and I forgive myself. It's the only way for me to have any sense of peace. It's the only way I can move forward...and I deserve to move beyond the pain.