Chickening Out or Checking In

Tutus c. 2015 Raven J. Demers

Tutus by Raven J. Demers

There was a different post I’d intended for this week, but I’ve been a whirlwind of productivity, twice injured, and spent the last week with a host of challenging emotions.

It’s easy for me to forget how sick I am.  I spend a lot of time gritting my teeth in denial; I’m smart enough to play mental tricks with myself to push the pain aside and do what needs to be done anyway.  At least the basics.  But part of those tricks are distractions that keep me from doing my highest good: both my writing and one-on-one parenting time with my children suffers.

You’d think being a homeschooling parent, we’d have plenty of quality time, but when it’s a struggle to control the pain long enough to get the meals made, the rooms tidied, the errands run, and the education planned, there isn’t much time for Mama to be fun.  When the energy is there, we do art projects and have dance parties in the living room, and no matter what, I work always to put a humorous spin on things, look on the bright side, and try to find ways to make every day an adventure.

But I get tired, and sometimes I get snippy as I work to muddle through the have-tos, forgetting how much of my life was a want-to that came true.

Little Fox Holding Mama's Hand, c. 2015 Raven J. Demers

Little Fox Holding Mama’s Hand, c. 2015 Raven J. Demers

Last week was my birthday, and I pushed myself to make all my guests tutus we wore at lunch.  It was hard work and a lot of fun, and I think I want to keep doing it in a professional capacity.  Also, I had scheduled with an artist to have my first tattoo placed after two decades of wishing.

But when we got there, I had a panic attack.  I felt adrift and cornered, even though I’d brought myself there of my own will.  I willed myself to lay down to see at least what the imprint would look like, and when I sat up to look, it was perfect.  Exactly what I wanted.

And I wasn’t ready.

I told the tattoo artist I wasn’t ready, and I felt like I’d chickened out.  He patted my hand and assured me he didn’t want to do it if I wasn’t sure; he wasn’t losing out, he wanted a willing canvas, after all.  As I left, I still felt silly and embarrassed.  I’d arranged for someone to watch the kids and my partner comforted me on the way in and out, assuring me I did the right thing.  Even my daughter, when I walked up to the store where she was, said it wasn’t chickening out.  It wasn’t the right time, and I honored myself in backing out.

Despite not going forward with one of my plans, I still stuck to another. That night, I disconnected myself from one of my biggest distractions.  I’ve begun a month-long break from Facebook and other social media that don’t directly relate to my career or volunteer work.

Monday was rough.  I kept accidentally typing Facebook into my browser, but at least I didn’t have the temptation on my phone (I deleted the apps, and set up a filter to send all notifications to a folder I’m not looking at until late October).  But Monday was also glorious.  I had my first piano lesson in nearly three decades, and it was a great deal of fun, so much so, that I was able to show my children everything I’d learned.  They enjoyed playing in my instructor’s neighborhood on a sunny day amidst gardens full of roses and other delights.

Tuesday was easier, and productive.  Despite waking up in pain with new symptoms, I checked off several major organizational chores on my to do list, wrote a press release for my volunteer work, played with the children, went for a long walk (on a twice broken toe), and made two delicious meals (my daughter made breakfast).  Writing this, I’m exhausted at the end of the day, and the pains and sores are there, ready to batter me again tomorrow, but I think I’ll be able to face them.

It’ll be a nice day out, and though we have a few people we’ve hired to come tomorrow, I think we’ll be able to sneak out for a while between appointments to indulge in a pleasant outing.

Mama’s not chickening out, she’s checking in.

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