When I was traveling last year, I met a new friend through a very old friend and after we talked in person, we started corresponding through email. The conversation has been raw, honest, uplifting, and motivating. My friend is in a space in her life that eerily similar to the one I inhabited a few years before I left my life: job, house, relationship, friends - everything is being examined and much of it has been found wanting.
Talking with her has been so helpful for me. I changed so many things and made so many forward leaps that I lose sight of the things about myself that I still feel the need to work on. These slow conversations have made it possible for me to both encourage her and take a hard look at where I need to continue digging. Today's email gave rise to this post. I'm glad to be back here.
I have been reading a lot of short pieces by women I admire; the overall message from everyone is basically this: stop being so mean to yourself. Easier said than done, but it feels like a tide is turning in the people I look to for good advice, and this is a very worthy message. I have done a lot of positive things this past year, but I also still treat my body like a trash can, so I need to fix that and stop being so awful to myself when I go back to the old, familiar ways.
I'm now 44. I've been doing this stuff to myself for a long time, I'm impatient, and I'm not willing to give myself any grace about any of it. Now, though, I see more and more often that there's space to be kind to this body that does so many good things for me. I keep thinking about the metaphor about drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die. It's a lot like that.
I work in what is possibly the very best, happiest situation ever. I love my job, warts and all. But a gluten-free bakery is a tricky place in which to take care of your body. The first time I walked in, I nearly cried. It's so rare that I can walk into a place and just eat anything I want. To work in such a place is still, months later, practically unimaginable. Now, I'm navigating the path toward health, and that includes not eating everything in the bakery. I work amongst friends, a few of whom have similar health struggles. It's easy to talk about these things there - it's normal to be a little different, to not have to explain.
I'm looking forward to this year and this change in a way I never have before. In addition to a pretty solid self-awareness, I have a lot of good friends, helpful tools, and hope. I'll revisit this evolving journey a lot over the coming year, I think. This change has been a long time coming, and like many things over the past few years, I get better at recognizing when things are off, increasingly better, so that eventually I avoid the thing. I can now see the patterns over time as I slowly move away from them, and as I allow myself some room for grace.