Take Care of Yourself
I want to speak about my new life declaration of taking care of myself. I want to speak to the mothers and the givers. The people who are taking care of everyone and everything … all except for themselves of course.
This is going to be a post that makes me uncomfortable. It’s going to blend my worlds of personal and professional and that can be nerve-wracking. Reading through my posts and with the upcoming release of my book, I think it’s clear that I have been through some things these past five years. My coping mechanism has been to stay quiet and survive. Have you ever had a dream where you try to speak and nothing more than a whisper comes out? You can’t scream for help or raise your voice? Then, you try once more and you speak so loudly that you wake yourself up from the dream? That’s what this post is. I’m waking up.
Five years ago, I packed up my children and started new. It was not liberating at the time. I was terrified. I had nothing because I left everything behind. My days became a series of one foot in front of the other. My focus was taking care of my four children who needed me now more than ever. Depression settled in deep and life became about survival. This was the time of my greatest silence with the world around me.
The years that followed have been about healing and moving forward. The weight I carry is still just as heavy, but my mind is stronger now. I know that sometimes we need help and that it’s okay to take it. Sometimes we just need time and space. I have managed to raise four fierce, smart and funny daughters in the flames of this life. I have devoted every minute tending to the people around me. The mothers and caretakers know, we understand each other. I could write a list of the responsibilities and duties of a single mother and it still wouldn’t cover everything. From the laundry, cooking, shopping and lawn mowing to the fear taming, homework and boo boo kissing. This is not to mention the monumental invisible workload of motherhood that goes on. Are they safe? What appointments are coming up? What are their friends parents names and phone numbers? What kids are they hanging out with or arguing with? Winter boots are on sale in July and I know that at least three need new ones by December. There are two birthday parties coming up I need to buy presents for. On and on. Needless to say, I have ignored much of my own needs and have often mourned the loss of my individual identity.
THE TIME FOR SELF CARE IS NOW
I will always continue to be there for them of course, but as the children grow older I have entered into a new season. One of self. Self care is one of my heart-filled focuses now. The care of my health, wellbeing, spirit, financial security, passion and joy. I will create the art that moves me, take the projects that excite me and pursue the work that provides for me. I will not fear asking for the attention and support of my beautiful audience because that is directly in line with my own self care. I want to speak to others about how they are caring for themselves. I’m lighting a bonfire of self love and inviting everyone to sit around and warm themselves by it. I want to know, HOW ARE YOU TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF? What is one thing that you do (or want to do) everyday that is just for your own wellbeing? Every month? Every year? Self care is not selfish even if it takes time away from other people and things. The quality of what we can offer the world improves exponentially when we first take care of ourselves.
This post is one of my steps toward self care. I’m identifying the need and speaking up. I hope you do too. Was it more personal information than you needed? Maybe, but I want you all to know that I am here with you. It’s true I photograph babies, but the real heart of my work has always been with women. The mothers. The keepers of memory. The caretakers. Since I’ve been showing up more lately, I’ve had a surprising number of women reach out. They messaged me to say that they have been through a major life change as well. It makes the world feel less heavy when we have someone to connect with. I’m here for it.