Why Daily Self Care is Important
A terrible surprise
Today I opened up my email and was greeted by a flood of messages from my website. My first thought was, “wow, I hardly ever get emails from my blog”, my second thought was pure dread as I read the following:
“You really fucked my life up, you win asshole.”
“I think I hate you and for the first time in my life I don’t care.”
“Bohemian? I am far more into the arts than you and I traveled extensively and been to places you could only dream! Because you don’t have the money asshole”
And more. Much more. I was shocked and wondered what on my blog could have compelled such a reaction, then saw it was sent from my biological father. I was left trembling and in tears, huddling on my couch waiting for my boyfriend to come home.
My mother had me when she was 20, by the time she was 23 she was a single parent. My father had left without a trace. For my entire child hood I had no idea where my father was, or if he was even still alive. He wasn’t around to watch me in school performance, or take me to the orthodontist. He didn’t come to my high school graduation. Then I turned 18.
I received some mail at work, which was strange because I worked at Sonic and the only mail I got there was my paycheck. The letter was from my biological father. He wanted to get in touch with me. After 15 years he wanted to see me. I answered the letter. You see, for 15 years I’d wondered about the man who was responsible for me being alive.
For years we heard nothing. In those 15 years many things happened. I was adopted- twice. I went to 4 different elementary schools. I went on road trips.I sang at my high school graduation. I lived life. And the whole time I wondered about the father who had left me. I’d endured jabs from school mates saying that my father didn’t love me and that’s why he left. When we traveled I’d look for him in the phone book and I’d cry myself to sleep at night thinking that I wasn’t good enough. That I wasn’t loved.
As it turns out, I wasn’t missing much. He was(is) a bully and emotionally abusive. We had a falling out because I wasn’t able to give him as much as he wanted. I wasn’t able to let him be my father like he wanted to be because in 18 short years I’d had three fathers. I don’t have the messages from that time, but they’re similar to the ones you read above. I had to ask my grandmother to intervene because of the barrage of hateful messages I’d received.
Time moved on, I put myself through college and in an effort to put all things negative behind me, I reached out to him to let him know the good news and to try to end things on a positive note. He asked to take me to lunch, and in a huge mistake on my part, I agreed. He wanted to try to make things work again, and I agreed.
It started as bi-weekly lunches, and then things became more frequent. Then it became too much for me. Once again I felt like things were moving too fast, like I couldn’t give as much as was expected of me. He bought me clothes; he even bought me a car, and with those things came expectations. Expectations I could not live up to.
I started to dread meeting with him. He felt that since he’d given me material possessions he now had a say in my life choices and my life choices are the one thing I refuse to give up. Every meeting became stressful and finally I cancelled a dinner engagement because I had a panic attack that day just thinking about it.
I didn’t expect what followed, but I should have. He called me a lot of things: ungrateful, a loser, stupid. All because of a cancelled dinner. I blocked his number and moved on. He got in touch with me via email and told me that if I apologized then he’d forgive me. I blocked his email.
Why Daily Self Care is Important
While I’m sure there were 100 better ways to handle the situation, I felt like my mind had shut down and I just needed a break to think and live my own life. I started my website as a way to work through my emotions, as a way to practice self love, and encourage others to do the same. Whenever I need encouragement or I’m feeling depressed I turn to my blog and write because I know others are going through the same emotions I’m going through.
I am so grateful that I started this website because all the work I’ve been doing for the past 2 years has paid off today. Today when I checked my email and saw what had been written to me my world came crashing down around me, but instead of letting myself spiral into a deep depression as I had in the past, instead of letting myself shut down, I turned to the self care actions I’ve been doing and writing about.
- Rest. I felt so emotionally and physically drained, and oddly cold, so I lay down and took a nap.
- Communication. I reached out to my partner and my closest friends to seek comfort.
- Humor. I watched some funny cat videos because that always cheers me up.
- Writing. This is the third draft so far, and I can promise you it’s much nicer than the first one and I feel so much better.
I know that it can be difficult to practice self love everyday, especially because we’re all so busy, but when a situation like the one that happened to me today arises you will be as grateful as I am that you have built yourself a foundation. Self care is the greatest act of self love you can do for yourself. And when you practice self love you have self respect. And when you have self respect you realize that what other people think of you is none of your business.
Oh, and don’t forget, self love is NOT selfish, it is essential if we want to give to and inspire others.