I’m pretty sure that at some point on the blog I wrote about how Daughter was seen by outsiders as a delightful and easy child because of, in large part, the decisions we made to help her along. There were countless little things hat we did to make her seem like a trouble-free child, like not being out past nap times and making sure she didn’t ever become crazy hungry. It took Husband and me a while, but eventually we started correcting people who told us how lucky we were and let them know that yes, Daughter is a true blessing. Also, we work hard.
I finally started doing these same things for myself and it is working out better than I expected. It sounds pretty ridiculously simple when written in black and white here, but it has become a transformative practice. It started out as little things, just like with Daughter. I didn’t go to the grocery store unless I felt like I could run into someone and be confident. I made sure I looked a way that made me feel less self-conscious when picking Daughter up from school. I got myself a spinner ring to have a fidget in my hands so that I can be anxious in a small and inconspicuous way. Easy enough.
Then I realized I was setting myself up for success in bigger ways, and I felt proud. Instead of wallowing in the anxiety that surrounds my visits to see my mom, I planned fun outings for myself along the way. I now have things to look forward to even when the visit gets hard, if it even does. I’ve started prepping myself with the information I will need about how to make end of life decisions for Dog the Elder now instead of waiting until I’m too emotional to handle it. I’ve been seeing a therapist to process my feelings about being out of the classroom now instead of waiting for myself to snap again.
Setting myself up for success has been so simple; I’m glad I recognize the value in it for me.