By: Revanche

A bit of self care (and community love)

March 1, 2017

When it's time to take a break, take a break! After this saddish but mostly bucking up post, I decided Mrs BITA was right.

After a long day on little sleep, instead of forcing another two hours of work as usual, I traded them for an hour of house hunting on Zillow and an hour of The View from the Cheap Seats. It’s been a long while since my last reading of a new thing by Neil Gaiman and it felt almost like that was punishment for not being productive enough. That’s hardly fair, is it? Just because my to do list was digested and horked up by Tribbles, doomed to forever respawn as a zillion Tribbles, I’m hardly being irresponsible in just managing to stay abreast of the troubling Tribbles.

I’ve slipped on a ring gifted to me as part of my “inheritance” by a dear friend. She has family by adoption via mentorship, having chosen never to raise biological children, instead mentoring, supporting, and teaching scores of them. That’s after having two long and successful careers. I suspect -no, I know- her way has touched and positively influenced the lives of now countless people. The ring doesn’t quite fit me, but I love it anyway. It slips and slides, reminding me of a friendship, unlooked for and cherished all the more for the surprise, and reminding me to keep a finger on the pulse of all the people I care most about. By text, by email, by handwritten letter, it doesn’t matter how, so long as they know they’re in my heart and not just when I’m asked to remember them in a eulogy or obituary. Hm, that took a dark turn.

Still, we do all have an expiration date. It may sound morbid but it’s true. We know we don’t know what time we have left, or how good that time will be. Rather than leaning in, or out, or whichever way, I’m standing up straight and stretching, reaching as far as I can to make a difference in the small ways that are most important.

I haven’t dropped anything, just taking a little breather. My responsibilities are still all here, but I’m pacing myself with things that aren’t work.

The next two weeks will be focused on taking care of our health: a massage for my several-weeks-long backache, long overdue exams with my doctors to see if there’s anything we can do about this new rib and chest pain, a check up for Seamus, more gym time for PiC.

And completely out of the blue, I received the most unexpected email from our friends over at the Rockstar Community Fund. J. Money started off with “please say yes!”, sharing that some lovely bloggers nominated me for an RCF award, and worked hard at persuading me that I really needed to say yes. As I read his email, complete with an abandoned plot to sneak the money to me so I couldn’t turn it down, it was embarrassingly clear that my stubborn streak has preceded me.

This was not just a lesson in how amazing the people are in our community, though they are.

It’s also my reminder to accept the goodness of others with grace and openness. That’s tough to do when you’ve internalized a script of independence, where helping others is a worthy cause, but you’re on your own. But how can I be part of a community if I don’t allow it to be a two-way street? Are we part of the ecosystem when it’s ok to give, but not receive?

Less philosophically, ‘twould be churlish to refuse the help. And so I did, with a most grateful heart again for Internet-born friendships and friends out there who care.

:: How are you taking care of yourself this season?

16 Responses to “A bit of self care (and community love)”

  1. “Just because my to do list was digested and horked up by Tribbles, doomed to forever respawn as a zillion Tribbles.” That is some seriously fine writing! (We’re a Star Trek family. My husband gave one of our daughters a tribble this past Christmas. It hasn’t respawned yet.) All the best house hunting! It sounds like you have great connections to communities of mutual building-up.
    Fruclassity (Ruth) recently posted…When Your Budget Plans Go Off the RailsMy Profile

  2. Mr. Groovy says:

    Ditto what Fruclassity said. As soon as I read how your to-do list was “horked up by Tribbles,” I said to myself, “Damn. That’s some fine writing.” Good luck on the house-hunting front. That can’t be fun in the Bay area. What’s a fixer-upper go for these days? 600K? And congratulations on the RCF award. You certainly deserved it.
    Mr. Groovy recently posted…On Becoming an Opportunity Slut – Part 2My Profile

  3. Awwww! That is well deserved. Accepting and graciously enjoying a gift is actually a kindness (a gift even!) you give the gift-giver. It’s good for you.

  4. J. Money says:

    “But how can I be part of a community if I don’t allow it to be a two-way street? Are we part of the ecosystem when it’s ok to give, but not receive?”

    Amen, sister. It’s always good to remember that the GIVER gets as much joy out of helping someone else too as the receiver does in getting the help 🙂

  5. Ty says:

    Mrs. BITA’s advice was spot on! May you keep leaning and stretching and ultimately find that balance. All the best!

  6. Mrs. BITA says:

    “But how can I be part of a community if I don’t allow it to be a two-way street? Are we part of the ecosystem when it’s ok to give, but not receive?”
    I loved this. I’m so glad you accepted, and thus gave the givers a gift.

    And yay for Neil Gaiman. It has been too long since I paid him any attention.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…On the path to financial independence: February 2017My Profile

  7. The Tribbles metaphor seems apt, especially for those of us with chronic illnesses. I don’t know anyone who accomplishes everything on his/her to-do list without some major tasks that “ought to get done” still hanging out in the background. But with chronic ailments… Well, it’s hard not to fault them for it. To think that we could do it all, if only it weren’t for the fatigue (or in your case, the fatigue/pain).

    Glad you’re breathing and stretching, metaphorically and otherwise.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…More stuff and thingsMy Profile

  8. Linda says:

    My self care is about pretty much about staying close to home and not going out much. This is not only good for the budget, it means I’m not adding new people to my life. I know that sounds misanthropic, but with my tendency to take care of others before I take care of myself, I figure it’s best that I not be tempted to collect more friends or get back into dating (g-d forbid…most of my self care would go out the window, then.)

    Do you think some of your challenges accepting recognition are due to culture and not just the independent streak? As women, we’re often conditioned to stay in the background, right?
    Linda recently posted…My boon companionMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      @Linda: I think it makes perfect sense! Meeting new people, to me, means taking on more obligations to look out for them and do something for them.

      I’ve unlearned my training to stay in the background not accepting recognition, you should see me preening in my professional life. I have trouble accepting gifts because of my past experiences that say gifts don’t come without strings or expectations or judgement.

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