#3: I will Take Better Care of Myself

There is no food in my fridge. I have run out of shampoo. The vitamins I usually keep in medicine cabinet? Gone. I can’t remember the last time I did anything for myself, necessity or just excess. No, like, literally can’t recall the last time I did a good deed for me. Now ask me the last time I did something nice for someone else. Really. Ask. Me.

In this instance, taking better care of myself doesn’t just involve your atypical “I will eat right and go to the gym” resolutions. (Though I must say I have been going to dance class (which I sorely missed) and running as well as eating REAL food these last few weeks I’ve been home and the difference is SHOCKING.) I am moreso referring to my mental and emotional health than anything else because I truly believe the neglect of those two has lead to most of my physical problems in the last year. I will make sure I rest. And not just nap. I mean really REST. Between taking 21 credit hours, working two jobs, doing a couple shows and just generally dealing with life, up until I came home I can’t remember the last time I really had a good nights sleep. And it is a damn shame when you have to FORCE yourself to sleep more than 2 or 3 hours at a time because you’re so used to living off so little. I will make sure I go somewhere to take someone’s yoga or ballet class, not because it will give me the physical discipline I have been missing (if you wanna get ur fat ass in shape, take a ballet class) but because the classes I used to DEMAND of myself that I take were like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stifling life. They were an hour or two where I could be and just let go, exist without fear of what would fall apart in my abscence. It was a much needed stop for sanity on the way to complete mental breakdown that I somehow convinced myself that I didn’t need or didn’t have time for. I will not do that anymore. No check mark on a to-do list is more important than what I love to do. I will take some time for myself without someone having to force me to do so. Because I recognize that this “sleep is for people who don’t want to be successful” mentality I have is really wearing me down in so many ways. I know it’ll be difficult because I have seen the results of what pushing myself can create. I know the success you can reach if you push just a little beyond the limits of what is normal or healthy. But right now, I also realize that all of those accomplishments will be nothing if they’re something read out of an obituary over my casket. I don’t know what I was thinking. Last year a doctor literally told me that if I didn’t slow down I would have a stroke before I turned 22. And it scared me. But did I stop? No. I made it worse for myself, escaping into jobs, and relationships, and activities to take my mind of the fact that secretly I was miserable and dying on the inside. But no more. I realize now what I was trying to avoid all along… all these affiliations don’t really mean much to me other than a bullet on my resume. Rather, I found myself so imperviously caught up in these things because when I am working, when I am creating, when I am in control, I do not have to think about those things I ran away from. And it’s about time I stopped doing that. I will stop spreading myself so thin among school, work, jobs, activities, relationships. And this is where it gets tricky. Because it is inadvertantly in my nature to 8,973,561 things at once. But I’d like to actually live my life, not just create it.

Christmas Eve I came to the realization that maybe I just need to be by myself. Maybe I need to cut out some of the extraneous people that are either not helping me or that I am just using as distractions. I decided right then and there that there would be people that I would not call anymore, people I would not hang around anymore, and people that I needed to let go of, if not just for me, than because they deserved to be more to someone than just a distraction from heartbreak. I called a couple people, a couple guys I allowed to fill the times when I couldn’t stand the silence, when they distracted me, anchored me willingly after just the vague promise of something more. Made a few calls, had a few short conversations, really felt no loss. And then I had to call Mr. Wonderful. It took me seven tries to dial his number. He picks up, singing along to my ring. (No, I will not tell you what it is or why.)

“Hey baby what’s up? Your family isn’t driving you too crazy I hope?”
“No, I’m actually pretty good. No fights, no yelling. Pretty peaceful. You busy?”
“Nope. Never too busy to talk to you. You know better than that,”
he replies, and a part of me smiles on the inside because it’s nice to feel like a priority for once. That enternal smile fades when after a second because I realize I’m about to hurt him.
“I need to talk to you,” I say on a sigh so quiet he has to ask me to repeat myself.
“Uh oh. This is never good. This has got to be a world record or something.”

We talk, or more accurately I talk, and he listens, listens without interupting, listens and for once in silence I don’t hear judgement. I will forever appreciate him so much for that. I tell him, much more eloquently than I thought I would, what I’m feeling, how I’m feeling, what I want. He is patient, so patient with me, so gentle with my neurosis. They should bottle him and sell him in every store in America.
“I can’t see you anymore.” I say and there is a tiny part of me that wants to take it back when I hear his long sigh.
“It’s ok,” he says. “I’m disappointed, of course, but it’s ok. I understand. I want you happy. After everything you’ve been through you deserve that much. At least you can’t file this away under the catagory of one of your D.A.N. stories.” He laughs and I laugh with him, not because it is particularly funny but so that he won’t be laughing alone. It is the kind thing to do. But it’s sad that he even has to say it. We hang up the phone slow and easy, make promises to keep in touch that we both know we won’t really keep. And just like that it’s done.
And honestly I feel better.

I’m thinking maybe I’m better off alone. Trying to find the balance between being alone and feeling alone because I don’t think I’ve quite found it yet. Maybe there are certain issues one must seek to fix on our own. Or maybe it is like Mr. Wonderful told me once, “There is never a time when all of your issues will be “fixed” and you will be magically ready to be with someone. The trick is to find someone who is willing to support you during your fixing and for the rest of your life.” I’m not sure what philosophy I follow, but for right now this feels right.

Maybe I’ll stay single for all of 2006. Maybe the moment I decide that alone is best for me, someone will come and sweep me off my proverbial BCBG ladden feet. But, I also have to realize that maybe he won’t. And that at some point in my life, I have to be ok with being alone, that I have to learn how to take better care of myself without someone forcing me to do it.

See what I’m goin’ through
Might seem selfish to you
But I never tried it
And I think that I like it
I do

“selfish” Vivian Green


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