I’ve had this aching pain in my left shoulder for a while now. For a long while. For months, even. I kept telling myself I’d take care of it… another day… next week. It was February when I first noticed it had been bothering me for some time already, and now April is almost gone.
This is what putting yourself last on the list feels like. And of course we know better than to do that… take care of yourself! Put your own oxygen mask on first! Blah, blah, blah… yes, yes, it’s imperative to do so, and yet…
There are just so many things to do, to focus on, to care about… things that need doing, things that need attention, care that needs giving. It’s gets rather easy to put off getting a massage when your kids need shoes, or need signing up for this thing or that, and Saturdays get filled up with other things, like birthday parties and homework projects and we need to shop for that thing, and can you sit down and read this to me, please?
It gets harder and harder to say no. To all the things. To all the needs. And the newspaper is full of crappy stuff, and the natural “happy filter” that helps you remember all the good things is temporarily broken, or sprained, or lost beneath that pile of stuff you’ve been meaning to get to, like those feelings you’ve been meaning to process but swept to the side to be dealt with at a later date, but of course you can’t get to them because we’re conjugating French verbs right now, and trying to find soccer cleats for everyone for THIS weekend and how did you manage to put a hole in this already? and WHY AM I SCREAMING AT EVERYBODY? (Wait, is there a full moon?) and holy crap, am I crying at 9 AM? What the WHAT??!
And all the while, my shoulder throbs in my sleep.
And then there are the relationships in your life that need attention – and as Alanna recently mentioned, finding the balance is tricky as hell. Spouses need attention, as do friends and family. And children. Besides the flesh-and-bones people, all around me are the interwebs, and social media, and the relationships we lovingly create there, and stories flood our brains, and images fill our eyes, and people lose jobs, and buy homes, and babies are born, and parents die, and and stuff gets blown up, and other stuff gets renovated, and people get sick.
I feel it all. I’m happy for people, and sad for people, and worried for some… worried for more than just a few. But worrying is futile – everybody knows that… and yet, somehow it’s become my favourite thing.
Then it snows on another Saturday in April and you just want to scream no, No, NO! Nu-nu-nu-nu-nooooooo…!!
Throb, throb, throb…
It took a few emails from friends yesterday to remind me that April can be a weird time – one reminded me of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, which begins, “April is the cruellest month…” (indeed, it can be!) and the other reminded me of something I told her once… that April and October tend to feel like my hardest months – by these times of year, I am up to here with the sameness of life, and I am in desperate need of a vacation.
My kids are all, “Mummy, did you even hear me?!”
And I’m all, “Whatwhathmmm… stop talking to me for ten minutes, please. Here, have a cookie.”
I would love nothing more than to leave this house for a whole month two weeks one week of solitude, but that can’s possibly be. Of course I love my family, and I love making a home for us all, but everyone needs a break from whatever it is they do, day in and day out. Most people get weekends… stay-at-home parents have everyone home on weekends, so there’s just more to do, even when we love it. (And even when we don’t.) Most people don’t love their jobs all the time. Especially when there’s no break from it.
But what I can do is take a self-imposed break-from-all-things once in a while, since I can’t physically be away. I need to turn my computer all the way off. I need to be in other areas of my house – like NOT my kitchen, for a change. I’m trying to work that out.
Because when even your homeless guy on the corner looks at you and says, “Hey… are you okay?” or you find yourself hugging your kid’s preschool teacher for longer than you probably should have, or when you almost burst into tears when someone asks you how you are… that’s a sign that you need a break.
I’m going to do just that next week – give myself a break. Want dinner? There’s the phone – have anything you want… this muther is closed.
Priority #1 is a massage for this shoulder on Monday morning. JOY!!
What do you do to give yourself a break? Do you ever?