The lovely Naelany has invited me to write for her fantastic blog again. I was honored, but the deadline still caught me by surprise. I’ve been busy, you see, with work, and other stuff that’s great and also time consuming. I like being busy. It’s… easy.
“When was the last time you took care of yourself?”
The question came so unexpectedly it caught me completely by surprise. The fact that it was my team leader asking it made it even more rattling. Of course, I tried to be relaxed about it.
“Well…,” I started, and in my head, I could list all the things; I cooked myself a glorious dinner the other day. I saw a great show in a theater recently. I go to the gym regularly – not because I feel I should but because I want to. I do fun things at work. I love working on my Bullet Journal. I knit. I check all the boxes… but in reality, I knew she had a point.
It could’ve been anyone asking me this question. My Mr. My best friend. My mother. Okay, maybe not my mother, definitely not her. But, anyone. And I would’ve given everybody the same answer.
And it would’ve been a flat out lie. Truth is, I don’t know how to take care of myself. I know how to claim time for myself, every now and then. Like, when work is done, and laundry is folded and the dishwasher’s going, then maybe I’ll go curl up on the couch and watch half an episode of Call the Midwife. I rarely make it through a full one. I’m already up and going again. Because the dishwasher is done. Stuff like that.
I measure my value by how much I can help others. It showed in my childhood, which I really shouldn’t bore you with. It shows in my work as a teacher, where I’m always ready to help out workmates too when they’re in a tight spot. Doesn’t matter if it means I have to work late again. Not if they are feeling better for it. It’s a distorted kind of altruism which I just can’t seem to shake. And usually, I don’t care.
But I should.
My body has been giving alarm signals, begging me to calm down. What’s the saying in English? Grit your teeth and soldier through? Well, grit my teeth I did. I’ve literally dislocated my jaw from gritting. Um, oopsie?
I don’t know how to slow down. Slowing down makes my thoughts gain momentum and I just don’t want to be inside my own head. Running is easier. It always has been. Even with a body that literally can’t run.
And when I have to take a break, I’ll do everything to keep my mind occupied. I listen to audio books – can highly recommend The Elder Races by Thea Harrison, narrated by Sophie Eastlake (you can find these on Tantor or Audible) – and take up my knitting.
Because, after all, one can never have enough socks.