As I dragged myself home from work on Monday, I pondered this question. Who Really Cares?
Who cares about me? Is it the physicians I work with? The bosses I work for? The co-workers I share office space with? The patients I take care of?
None of the above?
Oh, I’m sure they care. But they don’t CARE.
I toddled on towards my car — parked way too far away from me in the parking deck across the street. Up the ramp. On the third floor. Until at last, I collapsed in the driver seat. Huffing and puffing my way out respiratory distress.
Then as I drove home, I pondered scenarios — who CARES about what this day has cost me? Not the people to whom I paid the price for it. They have all taken it as their due. If I hadn’t been so exhausted, I might have gotten pissed off.
Later in the evening, I was chatting with one of my Not-Next-Door-To-Me-Friends (AKA My Person) and we pondered this together. But there was a larger issue looming for both of us not only ‘Who cares about us?’ But what compels us to pay this debt? Over and over in our daily lives.
We drag ourselves to work when we’re sick. We give 120% of ourselves all the time to all our projects. We sacrifice our personal lives. We say ‘Yes’ when we should say ‘No’. We give of our talents, our gifts, our very souls. We offer it all up without a second thought.
Often times without an ‘atta boy’ or a ‘thank you very much’ even attached to our suffering. It. Is. What. We. Do. As simple as that.
My Person just recently had another friend of hers not so gently remind her that for every time we say ‘Yes’ to something which doesn’t serve our higher good, we are probably saying ‘No’ to something which could enhance our lives.
Life only has so many moments in it. We get to choose who and what we allow into it. We get to choose how we spend those moments.
I’ve got pretty sturdy boundaries — yet even I have a fucking hard time saying, “No” when it comes to areas of My Life where I feel I can cut a Self-Care Corner or two.
As My Person and I got further into our conversation, it became came clearer and clearer to both of us we were Enablers. We didn’t allow the people around us to fail. We did not allow anyone in our sphere to reap any kind of consequences for any lack. ANY LACK. We were The Fixers. Even to the expense of our own peace of mind or health.
And looking back at our very long history together — we had been groomed to be just that. Decades and decades of taking care of spouses, children, parents, jobs. Being THE hostess for All. The. Things. Making holidays jolly. Being THE Glue in a family.
That is what we became as we moved through Life. Other women recognize it in each other. There is a secret handshake in our eyes which tell the tale of our self-neglect.
Caring about our own needs. It is seen as the most selfish act a human can perform. But if WE do not start caring about ourselves and showing the rest of the people in our lives how it’s done — how will they know?
I understood yesterday on the very long walk out of my workplace not one of the people I had interacted with would actually mark my absence should I not make it back to work. Their world would go on without me in it. For to them — I am simply a bit player in the drama of their lives. Yet I am living as though I have a major role — a speaking part even — when I am simply a walk-on, an extra.
The World will go on without us. We are replaceable to all but a precious few souls on Earth. For me, it’s well past time to live This Truth.
Today I will care for Real Ann. I will be kind to her. I will listen closely to All of Her — including her physical body. I will remember not everyone is entitled to All of Her. I will save some of Her for Her Very Own Self.