Monday, January 13, 2014

Am I Radical Enough For the Challenge?

Some nice person over at keeps nominating me for “Health Blog of the Year” and “Menopause Blog of the Year.” Guilty after not having posted anything since September of 2013, I shall try to revive my blogging muse. Thank you, kind anonymous reader, for the prod.

My last post was gloomy, followed by months of gloom. While I haven’t shied away from writing about some of the sadder parts of midlife, the past months didn’t seem like anything I wanted to impose upon my readers. For me, sometimes writing about depression doesn’t do anything but make the depression more real and makes it harder for me to masquerade as a healthy, happy person. Not that anyone seems particularly fooled into thinking I’m in the best mood EVER.

There’s also that little voice that says, it could be worse, you don’t have the right to be sad. Schmutzie does a good job of refuting this notion here. If I’m sad, I’m sad, even if there is food in the pantry and the electric bill has been paid and I have a job. I can still be sad, even if I have a good credit score.
It’s not just me being moody for no reason. 

People I care about keep getting sick, people keep dying. Friends are being hurt and abandoned by their partners. My husband and I are basically alone in caring for both of our elderly mothers. Then the Menopause-from-hell, teaching for a living, and tight finances don’t lower my stress level at all. Although I have been known to have a gallow-ish sense of humor, humor can only take you so far in the face of some of life’s tougher months and years.

The stress is really getting to me. It takes a lot to admit this.

In a recent article about Anne Lamott, long one of my mentors, she said she was going to practice “radical self-care.” Geeky me started researching this term. Is this what I need? What exactly is it? Radical. Self-care. Would I allow myself some radical self-care? This feels like a life preserver thrown to me by Anne Lamott.

Meanwhile, a routine visit to the dentist revealed I’d been walking around for at least a month with a wisdom tooth that was broken in half. Could a stress injury be any more symbolic? A wisdom tooth, cracked from stress-clenching my jaw so tightly that I broke one of my own body parts?

“Stress can kill” is such a cliché. No woman wants to think that stress can kill her. That if she doesn’t, no really, if she DOESN'T take care of herself in a BIG way, in a RADICAL way, she may die from stress. The needs of my body and soul are calling, pleading, screaming, for change. I’m afraid.  I’m afraid that I don’t know what self-care is. I’m afraid I don’t know how to make radical self-care a priority.

I did manage a half hour walk tonight, I ate black-eyed peas and collards for dinner, and here I am writing about self-care.

Maybe these are the first steps to making it happen.