I am a giver by nature. My mom used to say, that I'd give someone my last dollar and she's right. I totally would. If you're family or friend, you've probably at some point, been the recipient of a gift that didn't come on your birthday or holiday. I most likely saw something that reminded me of you and couldn't resist buying it. Giving in a tangible sense, hasn't always been an option due to our financial circumstances at times, but when it is, I seriously cannot help myself. It drives my husband nuts but it's part of who I am. But I'm not someone who just gives presents, I like to think that I give my time and "talents" when I can. I often put other people first before myself. It's not that I think that I don't matter but I just naturally find myself concerned for the well-being and care of others and like to do what I can when I can. As wonderful as this all is, it means that I put myself on a back burner many of times. I don't even realize that I'm doing it. Mostly that's because I truly receive more of a blessing as a giver. The thing about back burners is that they are hardly used and when they are it's for the less important part of the meal or for something that doesn't need much attention. It's often forgotten and when it's finally remembered, the results aren't always pleasant. I've been on the back burner too long.
Sometimes being on that back burner is intentional. It comes from a place of not wanting to be noticed or not wanting to deal with things in your life. That's why I've been there lately. It's mostly been survival mode. If I can say one thing about 2014, is that it's been full of some hard times. It's been much easier to focus on other things and other people than myself. If you've read my blog at all in the last few months you'll know what I'm talking about. From being alone with two kids waiting for my husband to return from Afghanistan to essentially having to abort my child due to an ectopic pregnancy, things have not been easy. I've had to deal with the emotions that come from these hard times. The easiest way to feel some sort of normalcy was to eat my feelings. I found myself slipping back into old eating habits that I thought I had finally conquered. One of the worst being waiting till my family was all in bed to indulge in junk food without having to feel guilty, at least for the time being. Guilt from over-indulging always comes. I blogged for a while after my surgery but I could never get over this nagging feeling that people just wanted me to suck it up and get over it already. So I tried that. I didn't really get over it. I'm still not over it. I just pretend to be. The truth is, I've got so many dang emotions bottled up inside right now, that I hope no one lights my fuse because it won't be pretty. But I'm trying to deal.
In the midst of all of this, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Of course, I see myself at some point, in a mirror everyday but that doesn't mean I'm always really looking and when I am, I put on my denial glasses or I say that I'll deal with it later. Well, later came in the glimpse and it was like a sucker punch to the gut. The disgusting, over-sized gut that hadn't been there just a couple months ago. The heartbreaking truth was that I had done it to myself, again. I had no one else to blame. I had put myself on the back burner, intentional or not, it was the way that I have survived the last couple of months. It's the way I survived most of last year. By putting everyone else above myself. Because, if I thought of me, I'd have to deal with the heartbreak of my husband being overseas, of being alone when my daughter arrived by c-section, of moving back to a place with no friends or family, of having my baby and part of myself taken from me. Dealing with me meant truly dealing with all of the hardness of life of late and it was easier to focus on everyone else than to do that. But that glimpse made me focus in on myself and I didn't like what I saw. The last few days have been especially hard as I've had to take a close look at myself, deal with the pains of life, and try to put things behind me so that I can move on and become a better me. I have a lot of work to do physically but it's not just that. I have a lot of work to do mentally and spiritually for myself as well.
I'm taking back control of my life. At least the parts that I have control over. I'm moving myself to the front burner. Don't get me wrong. It's OK to be on the back burner every now and then, as long as your mindful of the pot, keep it stirred, and take it off when it needs to be moved. It's not OK to put yourself on the back burner and leave yourself there until you no longer recognize who you are. That's where I feel like I've been so I'm moving myself forward. The rest of this year is about a better me and taking care of myself so that I can continue to be there for my family and those in my life. Today, I wrote down my goals and a game plan to achieve them. I'll write more about those later.
If you're struggling with being on the back burner or life has been hard lately, take a glimpse whether that be physically, mentally, or spiritually. Really take the time to look at yourself. Have you lost control? Have you allowed your circumstances to define you instead of dealing with them? There's always time for a change. Give it all to God and make a plan. Start small. Do the things you know to do and do them well. We can do this.
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." - Maya Angelo
Peace, Love, & Healthy Living,