I am your basic American girl, raised in a time and culture where girls learn to put other people first. I am very, very good at that. I suck at basic taking care of myself.
Over time, I have tried to enlist other people to help me take care of myself. I dream of going away somewhere for a month, where I would be encouraged and prodded to do the things I ought to to be better in my body–work those walnut-knots out of my shoulders, eat more vegetables and less cheese, solve the mystery of the chronic sinus congestion …
When my husband ditched me back in August, my brother urged me to quit drinking alcohol. My brother said that I would need all the clarity I could muster to get myself through this rude entrance into a new life–clarity to figure out what my options are, what my feelings are, and what is really important. And it would be easy to fall on alcohol as a crutch, a numbing device.
I’ve lost twenty pounds since then. And my brother was right about the clarity thing.
After the first few weeks, it was pretty easy to not drink. Being sober stays prominent, however–each time I am at a party, or a restaurant with a fancy cocktail menu, I make a distinct choice to not drink, and this underscores the sobriety.
I still seem to wake up sometimes with a hangover, but they are purely Good Times hangovers–out late with friends, laughing and loving. And driving home sober.
A very cool secondary effect has been, that this seven months of having no alcohol (poison) in my system–coupled with losing twenty pounds of excess body–has encouraged me to take care of myself in additional ways.
An opportunity arose and I started Pilates two months ago. I am loving it. Getting stronger, and learning a new way to connect with my body, which further encourages me to take care of it.
I decided to enroll in Qliance, the local health care organization with unlimited doctor visits for one monthly fee. I realized that some of my physical aliments might improve only with frequent medical attention. Plus, if I can visit my doctor when I want to without adding up more fees, maybe I can get her to take on some of the challenge of getting me to take better care of myself.
We are doing an array of lab work. Six vials of blood sucked out of me this morning, and sent off to get baseline data about things such as cholesterol and thyroid. Doing the full STI screen of course, because someday I will be sexually active again. But I’m not really expecting any “news” from all of these labs, just data.
I am ecstatic to be making these moves and taking care of myself.
A friend posted this video the other day. It seems so appropriate for my current forays.
Photo: Portrait of an articulated skeleton on a bentwood chair, from the Powerhouse Museum Collection