Line

I wonder why things have to be so extreme out here.

Either people help you or they don’t give a shit. Either you’re expected to need help all the time or not need any. If you ask for help too much, you’re considered helpless. If you don’t need help (they want to help) and you say, “No, thank you!”– that’s rude.

If you expect people to look out for you, you get no say as to what’s okay and what’s not. You don’t get to draw a line and drawing that line is so necessary! People hover over you day in day out as if you’re in need supervision when all you need is perhaps for them to check on you once in a while. If you tell them you need space, they take it personally as if it’s all about them when it’s more about your personal space and what helps you heal.

I’ve noticed that out here, you are forever expected to entertain and be entertained when all we need sometimes is some quiet time and letting each other be. I fail to understand how a group of people can start chattering away at the crack of dawn and continue chattering away throughout the day, only taking breaks to use the loo and shower, and perhaps to sleep.

I see how there could be some positives to spending time together and doing things together — I mean, I love it too! Cooking and dining together, sitting around and catching up, playing games as a group… all that is great for bonding! What is beyond my understanding is how people don’t need pockets of their quiet, personal time to tend to themselves.

(I mean, sure, we all function differently and by no means am I saying it has to be just one way or the other, but let’s just say, it’s absolutely hard for me to relate to. Just like my illness and my lifestyle is hard for others to relate to.)

It’s such a misconception that tending to yourself means you’re selfish.

Self-care is neccessary.

When you learn to tend to yourself, you are able to be at your best self for others. When you learn to give to yourself first, you learn to give wholeheartedly to others. It’s through learning to set healthy boundaries for yourself that you learn to respect those of others. It’s through sharing quiet moments with yourself that you can truly share time with others. From my understanding, for us to forge deeper relationships with those around us, we must begin with forging a deep relationship with our ‘self’ first. And maybe this concept is too foreign for some parts of the world but personally, it has made the greatest impact in my life and how I’ve come to terms with my illness. The journey of self acceptance has a lot to do with self-care. And self-care has a lot to do with drawing a line.

If there is anything that I truly wish for, it is for our culture to introduce concepts like self-care and healthy boundaries from a young age. Imagine how far we’d come.

-M

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Not quite home

An old post which was left unpublished for a while

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This place still reminds me of pain and suffering. A pain that held me back for years and has taken me years to let go.

This place isn’t quite home. It never felt like home and I’m not afraid to say so anymore.

This place was more of a refuge from another place claiming to be home but all it did was caused more suffering.

I searched everywhere for a place I’d want to come back to and only found places I wanted to run away from. Farther and father, every year.

Soon I realised I had to create a home for myself and that this process had to begin from within. That safe space I so terribly craved and needed had to be created with love, first towards myself.

I had to learn to be my own pillar of support and for that I had to unlearn the idea of constantly supporting and accommodating for everyone else.

To create a home for myself, I  had to first be willing to accept my story; one that is way more than what I speak about.

Today, I am thankful to have a safe space for myself. A sanctuary of my own where I get to take care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

A space that allows me to hear my own voice and follow my heart. A space where my creativity runs wild. A space where I get to build new relationships and tend to those that matter. A space that protects me because I have learned to protect it with healthy boundaries.

I am thankful to have found silence. That stillness, which some would run away from because it’s just too much to handle. I am so thankful to have realised that once you do truly come home, there is never any need to seek it else where.

And if ever I need to rebuild a home for myself all over again, I know exactly where to start.

-not quite home

I’ve been practicing setting healthy boundaries for over three years now. Initially, it used to feel scary, the thought of setting boundaries even with your loved ones or those you once loved but over time, I realised that it is okay to feel terrible about it and yet want to draw a line between yourself and anyone else.

It is important to protect your space; both internally and externally. That fear, that terrible feeling which sometimes feels like guilt is usually temporary and when you do in fact start seeing some positive shifts and change from learning to set healthy boundaries, that temporary feeling does disappear. Soon, you experience a very light, freeing feeling. I know this for sure.

I found peace in knowing that I’m doing what I’m doing for my the sake of my well-being and it always seemed worth it.

Setting healthy boundaries in your close and distant relationships is an integral part of self-care. It does not mean that you don’t tend to others. It means that you learn to tend to yourself first. Shifting your focus and attention towards what or who really matter frees up space and energy which can definitely be directed towards other greater things. There were many times in my life when events and situations around me made me feel helpless, as if there was no form of separation between me and others. I found that I was running low on energy for myself and that it was affecting my entire being.

It took me years to learn to set healthy boundaries and say ‘no’, firmly and politely where necessary.

Sometimes I catch myself slipping off my practice as well but I’m quicker to find my space and bring myself to stand my ground. You are allowed to go to any extent to ensure that your peace, solitude and sanity are well taken care of.

It’s Time Again.

Over the last eight to ten days, I have been looking and searching and texting and chatting and writing and talking and asking and answering so many things  that I think my brain is practically dead out of the excessive energy drainage. Nope, this is not something I am able to handle. Though I’ve gotten better, and certain choices that I made are proving to be right, I don’t think I have an unlimited supply of energy stored inside of me to handle so many things all at once.

It’s been a crazy hunt this time round too, and even with my physical limitation, I have managed to overcome this hunt. It’s a little accomplishment and worth a mini celebration because such factors add to the stability I need, which allows me to then work on things that I want to work on!

ODAAT has been on a pause for about a week. I came back home from a 6 week long family vacation and a new disc injury, ready to settle in and start with things I had planned to work on for ODAAT. Within a few days, I found out that I had to leave again and I was reminded  how unpredictable things can get once more! Not everything goes according to plan all the time. I wasn’t expecting this; so when I found that I had to leave, I wished I hadn’t unpacked from my vacation. The amount of energy lost in packing and unpacking just cannot be underestimated. I felt bad that ODAAT had to be on hold again, but my mantra has been One Day At A Time for a longggggg time anyway and I’ll just have to create another ‘flexi-plan’  when I’ve finally settled down in my new place. Looks like it’s time for yet anther directional change. A BIG major directional change. Leaving a place all of a sudden, managing a new disc injury and feeling weak from it, knowing the possibility of your close friend leaving and having no idea if you’d find a place just in time sounded like a bad combination of things to happen all together.

But it all turned out fine.

I looked up places like a mad woman, day in day out, could barely nap, had terrible sleep at night, and the concept of self-love faded off my mind for a bit because I was convinced that finding the right place was more important in this time of my life more than anything else. When you’re doing a lot of internal work, looking after yourself and working towards a future once again, the last thing you want is to be in an environment that doesn’t serve the same purpose for you. I decided that finding THAT one place for me to live in is going to be a true gift of self-love that I can give to myself at this point.

Yes. Uncertainty multiplied by a about a million.

One thing that was particularly different this time too was my fear level. I knew that place was out there for me; I was just a little nervous about the time that I was left with. I did my job to the best of my capacity (fine, I did push my body by a fair amount) and because I have to always think in terms of my body, the time limit just made no sense. Even then, I am happy to have handled this entire situation fairly well. Sometimes looking at the most unexpected events in your life as an opportunity to grow makes so much of a difference. This is an opportunity for me to grow. Thankfully, it’s been progressive, and even though it seems like ONE FAT LEAP FORWARD again, I’m less afraid of falling. I’m very very  grateful to have been in this place for the last ten months or so, learning to look after myself, taking baby steps forward and around the house, and having a very understanding flatmate to share this little place with.

The way I found my existing place last year was either a random stroke of luck or something that was meant to be this way. I’d like to think it was both. Back then, I was sure about my decision but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to survive. Finding a place that gave me all the space I needed along with someone I could speak life with, just sitting on the couch on random nights, was a great start to my goal towards becoming more independent.

I now look forward to yet another chapter of my life and as daunting as it can get to do this once again, I am ready. I’ve seen that sometimes you just have to let go of the cliff first to realize the immense strength and power you have residing within you or to notice all the different arms and fluffy, padded cushions just waiting to receive you. Support comes from all over the place if we are willing to open up, share our vulnerabilities and ask for help – neither of which equal to weakness.

Happy Wednesday!

A Space.

I’m going to have to make a big decision soon and I just want to write a little bit about it. I’m sure I’ll be able to write more once things settle down a little bit.

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“Honor the space between no longer and not yet.” – Nancy Levin

It’s something that matters to my existence once again (nope, no drama here); to the stability and certainty that I find beneath my feet; something that could add to a little bit of  stillness to the hypermobility. It’s not just a  pretty space we’re talking about, it’s a space where I can be me, just the way I am , with myself, and be there for myself like I have been over the past ten months or so. A space where I get the peace I crave, where my body feels safe, and gets the rest it needs. A space where my mind can breathe, and the air that fills me, heals me. A space where I would spend most of my hours in the day. A space that reminds me that it’s all okay.

We need this. Each of us. This stability, this certainty. We need this. A space that prompts us to think, to become our best selves.  To bloom into what we are yet to become. We need a space that acts like a reminder, that even int the worst of the times, we are here for ourselves. I know I’ll be safe, no matter where I go. I will be taken care of and things will fall into place.

I’ve found myself in such a situation countless number of times. I’ve known exactly what I needed, and exactly what to pick but I still was in a strange sort of a dilemma, which really shouldn’t exist. I’ve been surrounded with fear and worry, and little sparks of strength and courage that rest deep within the core of me.

 We usually know, don’t we?

How do you people deal with such situations? Do you put your situation above your health and fundamental needs? Or do you allow yourself to get what you need first before dealing with a situation at hand? Can any other situation be greater than your own health? I’d love to hear, if anyone is willing to open up and share. I’d love to learn.