Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Call me Dorothy: Self Care in the Tornado

I've had the intent of self-care.  I've planned. 

In the midst of crisis, its very hard to begin anything.  Its like trying to clean your house in the middle of a tornado.  It feels impossible.  I'm still a mother and a grandmother in the middle of this self care journey.  I'm still the leader of my org and a part of community orgs in the middle of this self care journey.  My spirit wants all of that to stop for a month or even a year.  I mean  I don't want anyone asks me to do anything.  Even more importantly, I don't want to feel obligated to do it.  I just don't want to do it right now. 

I know I need time for me and not in bits and pieces.  I want to be selfish without guilt.  Its the battle of many women in trying to figure this thing out.  How can I be whole in this whirlwind of life's struggles.  I'm committed to making sure that I stop and check in with me.  I committed to allowing myself my tears and screams.  I'm trying to be vulnerable and admit that I'm overwhelmed.   I've learned that I can't push through at this point.  I tried that and ended up sick, very sick.  I must stop.  Just stop.  Check myself before I wreck myself.



I've had to come to terms that even though I lead an organization about women's health and empowering women to take action in their own well-being, there are days I don't know what that means for myself.  Crisis after crisis, one episode to the next, I've survived but not lived. I believe my soul has been crying out for me to take over, fully and completely, without any excuse and without allowing the crisis and needs of my family jeopardize my well-being going forward.

Strength is an deceptive creature.  When people see that you can survive, they don't check to see if you've overcame and recovered.  This is the deceptive nature of being a strong person.  I used to be ashamed to say that I'm strong.  I think that I've always known the misconceptions behind this characteristic.  Its one of those things when people say, "Oh, she's ok" or "I know she's got this".  Meh, maybe I do.  Maybe I don't.    Its not a question of being worried about a situation.  I'm not going through "worry".   I'm faithful.  So, I'm not worried about an outcome of a situation.  God is good. (cliche, cliche....but real)

I'm in the same state as Black people living in America.  I believe I've written a blog about the trauma and healing of African Americans from racism.   Its very hard to heal in the middle of abuse.  We ask Black people to overcome in the middle of the tornado.  Some can make it and some don't but no one is without some level of trauma.  We each develop various coping skills.  We have different support.  We take part in our sanity, differently. 

 And I have to believe in me.  We have to believe in us.   When my mom was ill and died, I lost my job, etc. etc., I worked out and changed my diet.  I was able to put my focus on my health  whereas its a struggle today.    So, there's memory.  I know I have it in me.  I have to look at what is different today and believe in myself wholly.   Its the same with Black America.  We have memory of the Civil Rights movement.  We remember that we fought and gained some advances (some).  Today, the monster we fought 50 years old had changed its tactics.  We killed Jason, we murdered Freddy, so we thought, but its still here, this monster,  and we need new slick ways to continue its attack.

I believe I can.  I believe I will.  I can see there is more healing of my mental health that needs to happen to feel more confident in myself.  That's real.   I'm a client of my own org, ironically.  What advice would I give myself if I was in front of me? 

Cry when you want to cry.  Take a break without guilt.   Be kind to yourself all the time.  Say no to loved ones.  Move from survival to living.  Say yes to Rhonda.