It’s the first day of working for myself in 17 years. This time I own a company. Onward.
I bought clothes that fit.
That is a huge statement about acceptance for me. For whatever reason I have been trapped by the size of the clothes I used to wear. I don’t want to buy new clothes, so I have a fairly limited wardrobe at present of clothes that will stretch to accommodate my weight gain. I also don’t want to buy new clothes because I’m an inch away from shopping at plus size stores, and I have not been able to accept that about myself.
I’m heading off to the desert to try to get my nervous system regulated and to begin practicing a more caring lifestyle toward myself. I need a break from my normal routine and I need space to think. As I was planning my retreat, an email popped up about REI’s summer sale. I have been needing a sports bra that is not like wiggling into a straight jacket, so I had a look and found two things that I’ve been wanting, a new bra and a sun protective shirt for hot weather. Both great for this trip, both on serious sale, both…
…in my size.
My actual size. Not my old size, not the size I wish for, but my actual size. I checked the measurement charts to be sure, thought briefly about ordering a size smaller, then got honest with myself and ordered my actual size.
The items arrived in the mail today (early!), and they fit. It was so nice to have clothes that fit. The size labels suddenly didn’t matter, what mattered was that I was comfortable, confident and excited that I had successfully ordered clothes online. And I am going to enjoy the heck outta that bra and shirt because they represent healing, growth and positive change for me.
I had intentions yesterday. I intended to practice pausing, taking a bit of calm time to process and not let my schedule contribute to a meltdown. That did not happen.
I woke up late, scrambled to get some work sent out, was mindful that this was not the way I had wanted things to go and hopped in the car for another 4-5 hours on the road for an evening meeting. I can get stressed about getting places on time, I was stressed about getting a document out that I realized as I worked on it was not what it needed to be because of some technical issues that were happening once I made a big format change at the request of the client, and I was stressed because my uncle’s wife was pushing me to let her sign my grandma up for Medicaid when that woman is not part of my grandma’s care team or recovery program. I was agreeable rather than making an argument out of it, because I just didn’t want to get into it with her. But it stressed me out.
I picked up my boyfriend on the way so that he could attend with me, and we got back to his house fairly late. We talked for a bit. We’re both sorting through a lot of past behaviors and baggage that need to go, and it’s tough. It’s good for both of us individually, but it’s tough for us as a couple. We have different personalities and communication styles, and we’re trying to manage growing new careers, difficult personal growth, family issues, distance and things that are pretty normal but feel like they’re in a pressure cooker for us. And we don’t fight or yell, we talk, and that’s hard sometimes too.
Hard enough that I tipped over the anxiety edge of a panic attack very suddenly. One minute we were talking, the next minute I started feeling really upset by everything, then next I disassociated and went off to wherever chaotic place my brain goes. It didn’t last very long, kind of came and went, but I was reeling a bit after, trying to sort out my jumbled brain and why that had just happened.
Too much stress earlier in the day that I didn’t deal with, too much stress to get somewhere on time, intense conversation and…BAM.
But hey, I learned something, I worked through it, I let someone be there for it (although telling someone you just had a panic attack and all they see is a quiet calm is ironic), and I know what I need to keep practicing.
Where I grew up, we used controlled burns to manage land. Generations ago the landscape was much more open, and drought and lightning strikes did naturally what we do now with flamethrowers and fuel.
The fires have a purpose. They clear out brush and make way for new growth. They remove choking weeds and leave the larger trees to thrive with less competition for water.
Before anything was built or permanent, fire could sweep across the land in a natural cycle of burn and regrow. Once ranchers moved in, the need to stop fire became critical to protect what they’d built. The beneficial fires became destructive to the new elements of the landscape, but were still needed for ecological health.
Wildfires were considered bad for a few generations, until we understood how necessary they are. We now use controlled burns to have the benefit without the total destruction. You have to monitor conditions, play it smart and be prepared for things to go horribly wrong. And a lot of the time you pray.
It’s not a bad analogy for where I’ve found myself. Had I let a few things burn, I might not have had so much catch fire outside my control. Had I prepared, I might not have had to scramble so hard to try to get things under control. Clearing out needed to happen one way or another, I just got the wildfire instead of the controlled burn.
New growth comes regardless.
I’ve been feeling change the last month or so, like it’s time to move into a new phase of recovery. Once upon a time I think I might have been who I was meant to be. I’m starting to feel like I’m there again. This there is different from that there, but I’m there, and I don’t want to be stuck in a place of not-fully-realized me.
I’m working out what it is that I want, what I can live with, what I can live for, how much capacity I really have and just how much I’m willing to let go.
If I ignore much of what my therapist says about how to put myself first, if I go my own way about this, if I stop fighting, if I move to a state of free – flow giving… What happens?
If I open my hands and let go, if I let what returns to me stay, if I don’t hold on but hold out a hand… What happens?
If I stopped worrying about how you feel or don’t feel about me and be who I am regardless, what happens?
If I stop worrying about whether I have enough to give and just give what’s there, what happens?
I don’t want to hold the negativity that surrounds me. I’d rather let it flow in and back out because it doesn’t have a place with me. I’d rather have so much outflow that it can’t flow in. I’d rather trust that God provides and that’s enough, one less thing to concern myself with and one more thing to observe with gratitude.