Choice

Yesterday, I chose to care about myself. Just a little bit.

Hauled back two heavy bags of groceries late morning. Noticed my ankle hurt a wee bit with every step. Didn’t matter how careful I was, how I placed my foot – when I stepped, there was an edge of pain. I was all fired up to go to the gym, to push, to not care. Dare I say it? To hurt myself. But the reality of that bit of pain with each step weighed on me. I sat in my bedroom, a large bandage in my hand all ready to wrap that damned ankle up, and suddenly my bad mood telescoped out into the future. I saw myself hurting my ankle – badly. Saw the weeks, the months down. Saw the just sitting there feeling like a fucking idiot on a thousand levels. And some quiet voice in me spoke up and asked, ‘Do you really want to risk sitting around and going even deeper into this for months due to injury?’

It was hard to say no. Because I wanted to hurt myself. That’s my thing: go to the gym and push my body until it breaks. And I suddenly realized it wasn’t about health or endurance, it wasn’t even about getting some endorphins going so my mood improved. It was about punishing myself.

Hating myself.

Self-flagellation comes in all forms.

Acceptance of the moment, my reasons, my self-hate, was the key to opening my mouth. I’d not said much to my brother up to that point; still in a hissy fit. But once I stopped and accepted what was going on with me, I communicated. And I found it easy to avoid angry communication. In fact, it wasn’t even part of the equation. My anger left me as soon as I realized what I was doing. I had no need to harangue my bro over his SIM game. He enjoys it; why should I spoil that for him? And I found no reason to nag about the housework, either. It never really takes that long to tidy up. No. I admitted to my bad mood, my twisted anger, my desire to hurt myself – and all that surface shit just slid away.

So I did not go to the gym, despite my angry ‘no matter what’ declaration yesterday. And I learned something. Thought it was only exercise that would release my anger in this fashion. But it isn’t. If I can get to the core issue and admit it, I can let it go without all the sweat and effort. That’s a big IF. Everest height. And it’s not a mountain I care to scale too often. I suppose I shouldn’t say that. It should be my goal to handle my mood swings in such a manner, right? Find the cause, accept it, move on. No acting out, no mad blog writing at 5 a.m. But I am comfortable with my old methods, with the exercise push and mad writing, the slamming of doors and gut-churning anger. …How utterly sad to say that. I’m fucking used to such horrors.

…I’m fucking used to being such a horror.

Ah! I was going to say I see my sister in all this – the acting out, the hissy fits, the slamming doors. I do see it, and I do hate it. But I also realize now what’s probably at the base of my sister’s actions. Self-hate. Makes me have a drop of empathy for her this morning.

Could we just stop with the epiphanies? Just for a little while? This hyper awareness…I welcome new levels of understanding, but hey! You’ve got to give me time to digest one bit of info before shoveling a new load into my head. Feels like there’s just too much to grasp, too much to know, and as soon as I get a hold of one idea something else loosens and gets away from me…

It’s like learning Dutch. If I concentrate on the correct verb and sentence structure, I’ll get the verb tense wrong. If I think too much about the verb tense, I’ll screw up the syntax. I can’t seem to hold all that info in my brain at once. I know it’s a matter of practice. Go slow, go steady, and keep trying.

But although I suffer embarrassment over my poor language use, I do not have to go through emotional turbulence over every little word. Setting out to change the way I think…now that’s difficult. I get triggered left and right, have to stop and sort myself out, fight against the depression, reign in the mania…it’s bloody exhausting. There’s no manual out there for this, no instruction booklet to make things easy. What I would give for a big Book of Life with easy to read chapters and answers in the back!

For now, I’m choosing to care about me. It’s not a choice I’m comfortable with. Not. at. all. But I am more afraid of months down, unable to get out or do much of anything, than I am of carrying some extra weight on my body or feeling guilty from missing a day at the gym. Until I can take a step without pain, I’m choosing to be careful. Choosing to not push. Choosing to not hurt myself.

I can do this. I can learn to take care of myself.

It’s a choice.

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