In a Darkened Room

My new massage therapist is so gentle.

The odd bit of pressure.

That’s all.

I grew up with the idea of pain for your own good. Pain was inflicted upon me until I was too old for it. Which was ok, because by then I had learned to beat myself. The idea that you could ease my hurts, that you could do anything for me without hurting me first is nothing short of miraculous to me.

Last night I laid on his table while he tried to sort out my neck.

I thought about hard things. About how bad I am at accepting care and concern. I thought about how badly I’ve been doing at taking care of myself. I’m not drinking enough water, I’m eating like crap, I forget to take my vitamins, I haven’t run in forever. I joke I do better being bossed around and it’s true, but that’s exactly what I don’t want.

If you have to boss me around, if you have to tell me to take care of myself, I’ve failed because I’ve forgotten to do it myself. Long before it’s your job to help me out, it’s my job to manage my own health. If you have to step in, it’s because I didn’t step up.

More than than that, it’s the age old balance issue.

I am – profoundly – out of balance these days. I know it. I feel it. It’s not just my lack of time in runners and a water bottle that isn’t filled.

It’s where I spend my mental time. It’s the constant apologies. The absent-mindedness. The lack of confidence.

I dropped my phone because my hand went numb. My hand went numb because I’m not sleeping well. I’m not sleeping well because I’m staying up too late. I’m staying up because I’m not winding down properly and I’m not managing my thoughts.

I don’t have the energy to manage my thoughts because I’m not eating and running and drinking water.

So my thoughts run riot through my head. I say things to myself that I would never allow you to say about yourself. That’s where it all starts. A plea.

Gently as Josh unkinked me, as I thought about my need for a minder, about my need for an external force to call for gentleness and care and concern.

I set things up to be self sufficient. I do everything I can to shove you away. There are five, I can number them on my fingers  – people that I let take care of me. I actively orchestrate self sufficiency. I shove you away.

Because I don’t do gentleness. Even though I recognize it’s just as effective.

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2 Responses to In a Darkened Room

  1. Mali says:

    I found this moving, but heart-breaking. You’ve admitted that you’re not kind to yourself. I can certainly relate to that. But I don’t think though that managing your thoughts has to be something that is hard work. I wonder if, in allowing kindness in, accepting weakness, whether you fear you will crumble and break. Whereas I think it will fill your cracks, and help reinforce your mind and body and soul.

    There’s an exercise I found helpful when I struggled with this. Imagine yourself as a young child. Picture her, on the floor, crying, being told all the things about her that you tell yourself. Don’t you just want to hold her in your arms and comfort her? Doesn’t she deserve the same love and comfort that you, I am sure, give friends and family who are hurting? Can you pour in your love and acceptance to her – and then receive it as the struggling, self-critical adult who wrote this post?

    Another, minor point. I also do better being bossed around. It’s one of the reasons why – up until a few years ago – I kept a personal trainer, someone I had to see regularly without excuse (if I didn’t he didn’t get paid, and that made me feel guilty), and someone who, as I used to say, I paid to beat me up. It was easier and less painful than motivating myself, and then beating myself up mentally when I inevitably failed to do so.

  2. You’ve just reminded me to take my vitamins…thank you for looking after me.

    (now, go take yours).

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