Thursday, 5 May 2011

Day 5 - Sore muscles, tender heart

Today it was hard to get up and keep going. This is not unusual for me, so I breathed, gratefully accepted my family's patience and got my act together enough to go to work. Over the years, I have become far more gentle with myself, more able to remember that there will be other days when I will feel far more productive and that my (dis)ability does not mean that I am "less than" someone who maybe physically struggles a little less to get through the day. Nevertheless, as much as I can somewhat accept the soreness of my body, I still find it challenging to embrace the emotional impact of days like this.

You see, when my body feels like I have been run over by a ten-ton truck several times, and my mind is stepping slowly through treacle, my moods are also affected. I am more prone to negative thoughts, mood swings, and irritability becomes a constant companion. Most terrifying of all possibly, my heart feels open, tender, and vulnerable. Today was one of those days. In the past I folded the tenderness in thick layers of anger and aggression, so scared to become a target that I did not realize that it was unlikely that anyone else could be as harsh as I was towards myself. Today was one of those days but I did not hide my tender heart away. As I sit here writing, I am aware that I am starting to cry and, as the good narrative therapist I am, I wonder what my tears are saying. I wonder if they are for all those moments when I don't tend to myself as well as I could. The times when I don't sit down because I don't want to appear weak, when I don't leave a meeting early because I don't want to seem uncaring, when I give myself the message that my needs don't count as much as other people's perceptions, as my commitments or as much as other people's needs.

Today was one of those days and I tried to listen to my tender heart. I wasn't perfect. I am tired, I still need to eat dinner and I have not had a moment to myself yet, apart from writing this blog. Today was one of those days when I am still smiling because although I might have still made some of the same choices, and not given into the soreness, the tenderness, the need to just be held and looked after, I listened and I chose, with intention and awareness. Maybe next time I will be a little gentler, meet my needs better, but today I celebrate how far I have come. I shed tears for the legacy of violence I perpetuated against myself by driving my body and heart harder than they were able to stand at times, and I shed tears of joy for the healing, love and connection that is never far away if I just dare to listen to my tender heart. Today was one of those days and it was a good day.

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