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Self-care – a journey

Please be aware that what I share below are my thoughts, feelings and beliefs. I will try to be as honest as I can.

I have been in such a frightened, lonely place for such a long time that I am ‘opening up’ now for my own healing journey. I hope, in sharing, it may help others to step forward to find help. I am also very aware that this can only happen when the time is right and only you as an individual can intuit that.
For some reason, I decided to sign myself up for writing about self-care. Of course, I know what both words mean but when you put them together then, for me, that creates a problem. It means that I need to look at myself in a deeper way. An uncomfortable way.

So, many, many months have passed. I know how to avoid, block, or totally disregard this issue. In understanding that my ‘barriers’ are strong, I know I have a choice. I would so like to find a place within myself where I can be comfortable with who I am. To do this, I need to feel the emotions within me.

I feel quite physically sick at the thought of what is coming up. It’s about how I see myself. Of course, there is the aspect of how others see me but fundamentally it is how I can learn to find a way of ‘walking with myself’. To find peace and acceptance.

Acceptance, that’s an interesting word. I think I will have to come back to that.

So, self-care. I have read many things about it. I understand the principles. I can definitely care for others, but it becomes very interesting when I have to look at self-care in relation to myself. I am beginning to feel nauseous and my reaction is avoidance or to run.

I know though that I would like to come to a place within myself where I can say “I am ok” and in order to get there I need to look at the aspects of self-care that I find difficult in relation to myself.

I ask myself the question, “why do I find it so difficult to look at self-care in relation to myself?” and the response is quite powerful. What comes back is how can I like myself or shall I say like my body when it has been an object of me feeling shame? How can I learn to give myself the true care and attention when I feel disgust? Disgust of my fat body. Of the way I look. Why would I want to wear anything lovely on my body of shame? These feelings are very strong and I wonder if anyone else feels like this?

As I read the above, I feel embarrassed that I am sharing such thoughts in a public way.

I remind myself that I want to find a place to ‘be’ with myself in a comfortable, content way. I cannot do this if I continually choose to hold onto the feelings of shame, guilt and disgust.

I am also very strongly reminded that as a child survivor of sexual and emotional abuse that the feelings of shame, guilt and disgust have ‘walked’ with me for a very, very long time. Maybe they will never go. Maybe they will be like a scar on my body. Always there. A reminder.

What I have now though is choice.

I am not in any way discounting these extraordinarily painful feelings. They are as obvious as the self-harm scars I carry.

I say this very loudly and I hope you can hear. I am not prepared to let the abuse in my past continue in a way that I hate my fat body or the way I look.

I am me. I have survived and that is a true miracle.

I am fat, so what! I survived. I really am surviving.

So, now I return to self-care and I am very tearful but my stomach isn’t churning anymore. I understand more aspects of why I find self-care difficult but I have a choice.

It seems to me that how and what I do to ‘care’ for myself is a process in time. One step at a time.

As I look at my fat body, the feelings of disgust change to tears and then to sadness. Sadness that the abuse I suffered has affected me greatly in so many ways.

I have choices. I choose to work hard to change the way I feel about my body. It will take time and that’s ok.

So, I make a start and I imagine a ‘healing balm’. This rich, rose scented balm has the lightness of a butterfly floating on the air. I rub this onto the feelings of disgust, shame and guilt. The balm is not to make the scars go away. It is to acknowledge that they are there and to ease their power over me. It’s a wonderful balm.

As this beautiful balm soaks into my body, I realise I have managed to write the words I tried so hard to avoid and I smile.

I smile and wonder how amazing life is. That I am surviving and that I am choosing to walk in a way towards acceptance. Now what a beautiful balm that will be.

Find your ‘balm’ beautiful people. You are amazing. You are surviving. Long may that continue.

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