Today is another post in the series about erasing the negative images we see every day. I hope you are enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed sharing these brave women with you. Just in case you missed any of this series, you can catch up by clicking giving back in the menu.
Today I have the pleasure of an amazing person guest posting for this series. I am not going to lie, she is part of the reason I started looking for stories that not only like mine but that other women can connect with as well. You see I had written down the idea for this series last summer but it wasn’t until after I saw one of Alyssa’s from Alyssa Hennessy Storyteller Instastories where she shared her story that I knew I just had to do this series, so technically you can say she is part of the inspiration for this series. So I hope you get inspired by her as well.
When Melissa asked me to be a part of her Body Image series I was excited. I thought to myself, “I can help in this area because I don’t have many body image issues. I’m usually happy with photos despite my obvious flaws. I like me!”… Then, like a slap to the face, Ms. Reality said, “You like you, but you don’t like your body.” You see… I like who I am, but I wish I was in better physical health.
Thankfully, I have overcome some major medical issues in my life – cancer, fertility, hysterectomy, drug allergies – just to name a few. When people hear bits and pieces about my story they usually respond with, “Wow, you’re lucky to be alive!” or “Whoa, what a miracle!”… Most days I should just be happy to be alive. But when you are plagued with migraines, chronic pain, and waves of fatigue its hard to remember the good days. On really bad days – days when I’m laying in bed in a fetal position, holding my head and fighting against alternating waves of nausea and crippling pain – the only thing I can do is lay in a silent and dark room. Unfortunately, as I lay in that room, I’m also fighting against the voices that scream “You can’t even get out of bed. You’ll never be successful again. This is the end of the road. Your kids think you’re weak and your husband thinks you’re a burden.”
How many of you are thinking of some remedy that you want to share with me right now? The next great drink, Botox injections, this new diet, a workout regimen … maybe she just needs to drink more water.
The truth is that I need to listen to my body and let her rest when she needs to rest. That is almost impossible when you are a #careerwoman Friends, we are not only bombarded by images that attack our body image but images that attack our health reality. Social media is full of #bossbabe #femalehustler #playhardworkharder and the idea that there is glory in the grind. And let me tell you – I fully support motivated, hardworking, disciplined people! I, myself, have had an incredible career path and have experienced great success in a couple of different industries. But as a self-professed workaholic can I say that it is okay to rest? It’s okay to take a break? It’s okay to say no and set boundaries. … Dare I even say… It is okay to quit.
Last fall I realized that I needed to learn how to rest, so I resigned from my position as a director at a nonprofit that I love. On my last day, I wept because I didn’t want to quit… but I knew that I needed to rest. It is now 6 months later and I’ll admit that I still battle the guilt that comes with resting. In a society where we wear Busy like a badge of honor, it is hard to be okay with downtime. It’s hard to say no. It’s hard to be okay with taking a nap when all the stories on Instagram are about hustling. But true rest is so vital! It’s okay to dial it back. We don’t have to do all the things or be all the people to everyone.
This photo is me on my 38th birthday and I share it because it was a day that I knew it was okay to just be me. I sat on my deck and listened to the sounds of forest and family. I am so thankful to be alive! To breathe in and out. To say no to the struggle and hustle and just be. To look up from my phone and engage with the person right next to me. To run a bubble bath in the middle of the day. To pull my kids out of school early and go get ice cream. To play fetch with my dog until she falls asleep in the grass. To make art for the sake of art. To rest.
Nothing in nature blooms all year.
*I want to recognize my husband for his incredible emotional and financial support. Without him I would not be able to do anything. I also want to share that I have a fantastic doctor who took the time to help me find the right meds (vital!) The migraines are an all-time minimum – only one since December!