“What makes you think you can help others when you can’t even help yourself?”
Excuse me, voice in my head. I’d like to let you know that I’ve done plenty to help myself. I have asked for help. I have reached out. I have made certain changes to my lifestyle. I’ve been courageous enough to ask for more help. I’ve been working on voices like you, who may have developed at some point in time in my life for some purpose which is no longer relevant and hence does not benefit me anymore.
The fact that we are still on this journey does not mean that I have not done enough.
It might simply mean that the journey is still ongoing, that the process is continuing, that we are truly all works in progress.
Trust the process.
I accept that you’re not feeling your best right now. That there’s a nagging voice in your head telling you that you should be happy because you have nothing to be “sad” about. I accept that it’s really tough to live with that voice, and on bad days it makes the shame unbearable and you wish that you could just make it go away. I accept that it feels like a really tough journey and there are days when you feel like such a weakling for wanting to give up. I accept that your chest feels heavy and uncomfortable and tight. I accept that you also feel good at times and then wonder how long will that feeling last, and then feel guilty for wondering that instead of being mindful in that moment of feeling good. I accept that there is a compassionate voice inside that comes out when it’s most needed, even though it feels foreign and weird and even wrong at times. I accept that it’s probably not very used to being used and could probably do with more practice. I accept that there are the horrible feelings and the bad voices, as well as the helpful and kind ones. I accept that this is one heck of a journey and nobody knows what is going to happen. I accept that these things are happening to you, within you, but are also NOT you. I accept that you are a living, breathing, human being. I accept that where you are will not be where you will always be. I accept that this is difficult, and this is life, and this is all ok.
I accept that I am still learning to accept.
It is ok
Even if your days look like endless walks
through the forests of your mind.
There is still beauty –
in the walking,
in the going on,
in the moving forward,
in the seeking for something you’re not quite sure you’re going to find.
There is still beauty in all of that.
I used to think that self-care was some sort of insurance or guarantee.
As long as I practice my self-care routines, set my boundaries, have enough time for my solitude and recharge, I will be fine. I will have problems and life will be shitty from time to time, BUT I will still be be able to go to work daily, make a living doing what I enjoy, while cultivating quality relationships with people important to me – AS LONG AS I PRACTICE SELF-CARE.
The equation has somewhat shifted.
I realise self-care is not something you do in order to prevent upheavals from happening to you.
Self-care is what you fall back on when the upheaval happens.
And I am thankful for the self-care routines and habits I had formed before to fall back on over the past few months – Habits, relationships, activities I do.
And now I am learning that I can try to do more to improve what I already have, so that I can grow in resilience and strength.
We were singing the Goodbye Song when we heard it. Her singing voice.
She was going “baaaaaaii~~~!” at every “bye” in the Goodbye Song, while looking straight at me. It took me about 2 rounds of that to realise she was singing.
Before that session, I had only ever heard her vocalise and babble using her baby sounds. It was the first time I heard her use what seemed to be her singing voice – softer, more airy, not in tune but definitely higher than her usual vocal range, as if she was trying to hit a higher note. She seemed to know it was a long note at the end of the phrase, too. As her breath was sustained, the notes would spiral into a descending glissando. In the space in the music after each note, her contribution was mirrored musically, as a validation. To let her know: I can hear you, I can see you, and I am taking your lead in this music we are in together.
Can you imagine what it feels like to hear a child discover her voice for the first time?
It was beautiful.
There is light
beyond the tunnel.
The traveller sees it.
There is light
but what lies beyond?
The uncertainty that breeds anxiety.
The traveller wants to reach the light,
yet is afraid to.
So it’s true
even the most distressing
and undesirable of circumstances
could become familiar and comforting pain
if endured long enough.
The traveller makes her decision
and takes another step forward.