Life, As Told By Sara (Chapter 3)

April 7th, 2018. 4:22 am

It goes without saying that life had been a little shitty lately. Sometimes I felt guilty about it because people felt obligation to have that respectful period of sympathy. What I wanted most was a breather. Normalcy.

Obelix was put to sleep close to noon on March 31st. I said goodbye in agony.

I shut down.

I could sit here and chronicle the many crappy ways March was a bad month, but right now I’m sitting here in a shirt I forgot I bought and jeans I previously couldn’t fit in. Despite the rather dismal state of my health, I had managed to lose some weight. With a trip to the US coming up in the next several months, I worried a lot about not being in shape to handle all of the walking. We’re talking a “tour” of several major cities within a two week period.

I’ve been in that “sleep in my day clothes and not have an appetite” phase for several days. I’m okay with that because I know that I need to process things in a way that feels right for me and my needs. But today felt a little bit more “normal” than usual, and I needed that.

My niece had come over to spend the day with me (which turned into a sleepover in no time) and Roland and I had to take Bear in to have her stitches out. The vet was happy with how well she healed and got her a fresh collar and some medication for her allergy. I asked Roland to drop us off at the nearby strip mall and we picked out some books and had lunch. I even grabbed new toys for the birds and decided to make a nice dinner for when my stepson would be over.

All of that was exhausting for me. I barely touched my lunch and went back home to watch Netflix with my niece. My fox terrier stayed wedged in-between us on our two-seater couch and we plowed through most of a cooking show. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and was in and out of sleep for a couple of hours before I decided to start dinner while I played Minecraft with her.

The night was just normal. All of us had dinner, and we all went to take my stepson home. I treated Roland and my niece to milkshakes and we headed home for the night. And here I am, nearly 4:30 am, unable to sleep.

I’ve been laying here with this spearmint peel-off mask on that I realized last second was for men (I really didn’t care) and hoping that the short wash cycle will be enough to clean my clothes so I’d have actual pants I could wear when we needed to leave the house. I had a split shift coming up, however, and I was a bit concerned about getting enough rest before that.

It dawned on me that part of how I was feeling was partially impacted by me wishing I had a more interesting life. Lately, it felt like I was sliding wildly into my 40’s on a wave of destruction, but maybe I expected it to be more than it was. Or…..maybe I needed to realize that I can only control so much, but I also am the only one limiting my situation. I just didn’t know WHY I was limiting myself.

So I sit here with a minty mask that’s still tacky on my cheeks as I finally found some acceptance that my life was sometimes anti-climactic. I also accepted my own role in that since I simply could have tried harder. I accepted that I had wasted a lot of my time being afraid of living.

I had to start accepting the small victories. Right now, I’m fragile. But I can still celebrate the fact that I nailed the perfect pasta dish that my niece inspired or that I finished reading a few chapters of a book I’ve stalled on. I needed to spend some time pushing for self-care and making sure I felt good about myself. I managed to get some laundry done (though it’ll probably never get folded- we live out of the basket) and hand washed a load of dishes.

Right now, that’s monumental for me. It’s a far cry from spending all day in the bed feeling sorry for myself.

Life isn’t always exciting, but it’s up to you to make it your kind of fun. In a way I feel like I’m doing that by pushing for little things that make me happy, whether it be doing a full face makeover or buying a neat little tea box to organize my massive collection in. I smiled so hard at how many books I now needed to read to catch up because I loved getting cozy on the couch with a good book and some hot chocolate. These are the kind of baby steps I need to take so I can heal more effectively. I need to not force more than I’m ready for.

Later this morning I have to collect Obelix’s ashes. I saw the look of concern on Roland’s face when I said I’d probably keep them at my desk for now. I get it. It’s just my choice. I know he understands why.

My life had almost totally fallen apart in March. I let myself become a shell of who I was and now I’m spending April (my birthday month, at that) trying to reassemble the pieces. I’m proud of the progress I’ve managed to accomplish so far. Baby steps are just as important as any other because they’re still moving you in the right direction.

The only goal I left for myself this month was to be the best I could be as I enter another year of life on this planet. I’ll never be perfect and I won’t ever have all of the answers, but I can breathe more life into everything I want to accomplish. I can reconnect the gaps my anxiety left in my life both socially and emotionally. I can aspire to do more with myself.

I sit and wonder if it’s bad that I’ve left the mask on a half hour too long as my face felt taut and smooth when I ran my fingertips over it. I set my alarm to ring around the time the washer would finish and curled up with the terrier on the loveseat while I barely paid attention to whatever show I had on for background noise. I’ll worry about the mask later when I had clothes to change into after a shower.

Just keep stepping. That’s all you can do to keep that momentum sometimes.

 

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