There is something I am terrible at. Something I always put off until I absolutely have no choice but to do it. Self care.
If I am being perfectly honest I see self care as something for whiny millennials who think scrolling social media is a hard days work. I don't like giving myself a break, I don't like to rest or go easy on myself. My personality includes a inner drill sergeant that tells me I am lazy and weak and to stop being a victim any time I dare think I am tired and need a rest. My worst fear is being seen as a victim or being perceived as soft and my inner drill sergeant knows this and uses it against me often! If I sit down I better be learning or being productive in one form or another. To just sit to rest is very uncomfortable for me and brings on heaps of self judgement.
This week I was standing in the weed patch I call my garden looking at everything I needed to get done before winter. As I stood there Promise (of course it was Promise) leaned over the fence trying to reach her very long tongue to a cabbage I had just pulled out of the ground. The fence started going over as her tongue inched closer and closer to the round ball of leafy goodness and I was reminded that on top of winterizing the garden I also need new fencing. This was my breaking point, I threw that damn cabbage to Promise along with all the others I had pulled from the ground. I threw open the gate and said "Go for it! Eat it all, every last blueberry bush, strawberry plant, root vegetable, just crush it all. I am never gardening again, I give up! I don't have enough time, my garden sucks, this sucks, I suck, you suck, everything sucks!! Oh Shit! WAIT!! The bee hives!!" Luckily Promise was so busy eating that damn cabbage she didn't enter my weed infested garden to topple over the bee hives. That would have been just what I needed in my moment of complete breakdown.
Still angry and completely frustrated I decided to text Jon that I am done gardening. "I'm not putting myself through this again. I am retiring from gardening" I wrote. "I can't have a garden with these cows. I have to choose! Either we are selling the cows or we are plowing over the garden." Jon's response was "Are you sure?" What the heck kind of response was that? I shut off my phone and proceeded to have a melt down in my garden.
When I finally composed myself I realized I was in the midst of a very bad case of complete overwhelm. There has been a lot going on, per usual, not to mention the loss of our horse Sunny just a couple of weeks ago. Of course I was having an emotional overload, who wouldn't?
So that brings me to self care and why I desperately need some.
That inner drill sergeant has served me well though my life and kept me pushing through some very hard times. I am proud of the fact that I don't choose the easy routes in life. I not only homestead which is definitely not doing anything the easy way but I homestead with a disability. I have POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) which means some days I faint a lot, I am dizzy and weak and I still push through. I faint and in 5 minutes I am back to milking the cow, I get so dizzy I can't see where I am walking but I still get where I am going it just might take me a little longer. I am not letting a medical diagnosis rule my life.
I think anyone who homesteads or farms has this mentality. We could certainly just go to the grocery store like most people to get our food, heck we could even get our food delivered to our door. Instead we raise the animals and the crops, we put blood, sweat and tears into everything we raise and grow. We butcher and preserve and make it from scratch and learn how to be independent and self sufficient. We are not like everyone else, we are built different, we think different and do different. We need to be very intentional about rest, I need to be very intentional about rest. It's so hard and goes against everything we know.
In an attempt to not lose my mind and practice self care I have decided to hack some items off my to do list. I'm not putting my garden to bed, that's right it is staying a weedy mess until spring. I might not wash any of my windows, so come winter I will think it's just very foggy out. Would God care if my windows are dirty? I highly doubt it, so why should I care.
I am going to try really hard to do only the things that actually have to be done. I am giving Jon and I permission to not do any projects or extra work these next three days Jon has off from his real job. We are going to rest and do nothing in particular and I am not going to judge myself or call myself lazy.
Really though, you want to know how bad I am about resting? Right now I am supposed to be intentionally resting, I made a pot of tea and was just going to sit in front of the fire with River and relax, maybe read a little. Instead I am writing a blog post about self care and my tea is cold. I need work, obviously.
Don't be like me. The end.
P.S If you enjoy my blog post leave me a comment so I know I should keep writing these.