My Easter was not about being with family quite the contrary it was all about being on my own.
For some this might be easy, and others, may be a little like me, it is a struggle. You see when I have space for myself and I create space for myself, I have to deal with who I am. I didn’t really know “me” before, so it’s all very new, all very scary .
I live far away from my family (12 hours flight), I don’t have friends here. I have colleagues and acquaintances but no-one I would qualify as friends. This is fine with me. If I listened to my self-abusive judgmental thoughts: I would think that not having friends is weird, pathetic and ultimately I have “failed” in that department.
My reality is that my family couldn’t care less about what is going on in my life, I used to care in way to seek for their love and acceptance. But now since I realised that it did me more harm than good, I don’t anymore. I prefer to take care of my own self love and self acceptance. As for society, well, the several billion of us have too much on our plate to care for one little soul who has manufactured rules around her little life and gets sad about it. So I decided that over Easter, I was not going to fly to see a sibling or a parent or spend it with a “friend”. I was going to experience it on my own. I did the same over Christmas 2016. It was a much-needed experience.
At the end of the day I only have myself to account for and even when I will be in a relationship, I will still always have myself to account for. I have myself to improve before I experiencing any situations around me.
Since I knew I would be emotional, nostalgic and judgmental toward myself, and since I used to have issues with food, the first thing I did was to make sure that I had the bare minimum of food at home over the week-end. So two types of vegetables, two types of meat and some pasta or rice. I call them “food with effort” which makes it more effort consuming now to binge on. I find it easier to interrupt the urge to binge and come into a place of reflection or self-examination before my brain is gone into a frenzy of making food. “Food with effort” because I cannot just reach for meat and eat it raw.
I then make a big batch, store it in the fridge and take a little at every meal. I also bought fruits, salty popcorn and sweet popcorn. Why ? Because when I watch a movie I like to have a snack. Popcorn are lighter snacks and they are not trigger foods. I avoid any trigger foods like: chocolate, cookies, cakes, chips, especially when I know I will be feeling a little lonely in my weaker minutes.
The second thing I did was to tune in, and listen to myself and listen to what I wanted to do. Since I had decided to take this time for myself, I wanted to know what I wanted and not be on automatic pilot. Friday I wanted to stay at home and do some chores around the house and I did that guilt free. I was fully aware that cleaning can be obsessive for me sometimes as well but much easier to manage. There is this light in my head that just says, hey, enjoy the couch and leave half the laundry. You did enough.
Saturday morning, I went to the beach to set myself and my dog free. It is always a fun experience. My dog doesn’t like nature, he prefers to run to where the bungalows and the restaurants and to follow people around instead of just enjoying the vastness of the beach. Eventually he enjoyed the abundance of sand, the scary sound of the water and the starling cold of the puddles around him, watching him was funnier than the Today’s show. I enjoyed every minute of it. As I drove home I felt lonely because I was judging myself again. There were families at the beach, and friends windsurfing. I was on my own. I eventually moved out of that mode and enjoyed my moments. I thought: hey ! I’m all right been on my own and when and if I was around anybody it’s just so much work. Immediately I was back to my grounded place, I went for a coffee run, a muffin and headed home. Relaxed all afternoon, movies, writing, sitting on my terrace, guilt free.
Easter Sunday, I wanted to go to church do I went. I wanted to thank God for, well, pretty much everything. Church means family setting though, I missed my family in spite of their imperfections. I was also hoping to hang out with one of my friends but she had to go to a birthday party and kind of ditched me. Usually, I would drop her home after church and we have a laugh in the car. I don’t mind doing that. On sunday, she was just trying to walk away while I was talking to her instead of being upfront and say hey I am going to do so and so, can’t hang out today. So I a little hurts, I brushed it off in the beginning and thought it was not a problem but then I realized that I was a little hurt. It might also have been my expectations, as I drove home I thought, this is why I should not expect anything from anyone. I went for a coffee run and headed home. I felt unwanted after that, a feeling that is difficult for me to deal with. As I drove home and I counted my blessings, and let the feeling of rejection sit there and remain with me.
I counted my blessings in that a little over a year ago, I was struggling with rejecting who I am, and materially I was struggling to get a car, to sort out my license, I was trying to move out of my parent’s house and struggling with the idea of living on my own. Now, in my world, taking care of myself is a priority. I don’t mean that in a narcissistic selfish kind of way, I mean that in a way where if you’ve been struggling with yourself and you’ve been hating yourself for years and you’ve been having self-confidence issues and you’ve been feeling unloved. Then at the end of the day none of the external things matter what matters is you, you are a priority and if a parent doesn’t give you the love an guidance you need and if significant people around you didn’t teach you much. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can teach yourself to love you, and it is fine to want to be loved because you are human after all.
Easter Monday wasn’t an easy day, I was challenged with two emotions loneliness and contentment. Usually easter monday was a family day for me. We used to go for picnics, the beach, reunions it was always fun. So I felt like I should do something special that I should be out there at a park or the beach I should take advantage of Easter Monday because that’s what people do. I did not want to truly do any of that and instead of accepting that I wanted to relax in my appartment away from people and not make easter monday anything more special than the fact that it was another day off; I started thinking that I was a pathetic, sad, little lonely person and that spending easter alone was a big mistake.
What else do you tell yourself when you are so used to messing with your head and letting a family that is living miles away and a whole culture affect your internal, your self confidence. My compass missed out on its orientation for so long that sometimes it still points to the mistaken convictions.
Eventually, mid-afternoon I just accepted that I didn’t want to go anywhere that I want to do anything. I wanted to be lazy in bed, watch movies, play with my dog, teach him new tricks. That is what I did, guit free eventually.
The hell with : “that’s what people do”.