C4 Challenge #19 - Capacity
Be kind to yourself
“ My biggest wish for you is that one day you will see yourself through my eyes and on that day you will be so overwhelmed with love and admiration, respect and awe, that there will be no room for anything else. That would fill me with absolute joy.
Nothing is anything without you, without you being o.k.
Thank you for your tender heart. I will never abuse it. Thank you for your fatigue and your perseverance. I will never forget it.
Lighten the load on yourself, my love. There are no expectations here, only love.
I am so proud of you and I am so sad for you. I love you with all there is and all there ever could be.
Be kind to yourself”.
A handwritten note from my wife to me many years ago. The edges of the note now almost disintegrating, the ink faded, but the message still so powerfully clear that the words seem to jump out at me with their emphatic message and steadfast love.
Be kind to yourself.
A message that I so desperately needed. Given to me by my beloved during the darkest days of my struggle with PTSD. At the time, I had isolated from any connection with friends and colleagues, I was off from work, nights brought terrible, tormenting terrors, and my days were spent throwing myself into every distraction and task on our first farm.
Such struggles. So many challenges. One small step forward with the feeling of then falling back a mile. Putting myself last in everything. No care or concern for the impact of the constant toil on my body, my mind, my heart.
Seemingly unending trauma counselling. Unpacking pain and torment during these sessions, and then bottling it back up again, repeatedly. Working so hard to be ok at home, but knowing that I was not. Feeling so lost and disoriented. No kindness extended to myself at all. Just labour, work, and endless hours of grind from sunrise to sunset.
This was my way of coping you see. I had blinders on. I felt that I did not need to drink water. I had to be reminded to eat. Winter found me enduring the cold with nary a thought to wear a warm hat and gloves. Exhaustion and the blistering heat of summer had me only working harder. I justified it all in that it was necessary, everything had to get done, it was what I could control at that time, every last thing before myself - family, farm, animals, life. No place in there for me.
Self care was not even a thought.
But, it had to be. It was one of the foundational pieces that started my long journey to relearning my story and reassembling my life. This note and a vivid memory of a frigidly cold late winter morning...