Last week, I sat across from an acupuncturist, seeking relief from back and neck pain that has been constant and intensifying since March. "Wow - you've really been through the wringer this year, huh?!", she said gently. I laughed, then felt tears welling up. "Yeah... I have, actually." Her acknowledgement of my pain gave me relief and compassion that I'd been witholding from myself. I realized how much my "The show must go on!" attitude had been costing me - financially, physically, and emotionally.
It started with a hand injury in March. From there: vertigo, nerve damage, infections throughout my system, and, finally, surgery in June. Post-surgery, I couldn't exercise (no sweating in the cast!), write properly, bathe normally, fix my hair, or sleep through the night without waking up from pain or anxiety (cast claustrophia is a real thing?!) for months.
As a coach, leader, and professional performer, I had no time to let suffering get in the way - I had clients to coach, coaches to mentor, songs to sing, audiences to entertain! As an "Artist Formerly Known as a Drama Queen"... I was very intent on staying as flat and drama-free about my health issues as possible.
You know what they say about good intentions...
Mine led to stuffing my feelings down until I got emotionally, mentally, spiritually, creatively, and physically stagnant. "Drama-free" turned into denial. I tried to hold it all in and forge ahead, but truthfully, I was exhausted, scared, and depressed. It hurts to hurt all the time!
I gained weight and felt ashamed that I felt ashamed of it. How could I promote body positivity while hating on my own? My performances felt awkward and stale, and pain meds had me forgetting lines from scripts and songs I'd performed dozens of times. I judged myself constantly, and then judged that, too, because "I should know better than to be so mean to myself - what's wrong with me??"
You see the trap there?
Fast forward to September: I lost a performance gig that I treasured, lost a new client, my friends felt forgotten, my relationships were all strained or detached, and I didn't feel like myself at all.
My coach reflected that I wasn't allowing much space for my own humanity or pain. I realized I hadn't allowed myself to feel seen, heard, or accepted in months. I chose to fall in love with myself again right then and there. I took on a higher level of well-being: doctors appointments scheduled without shame or stress, consistent massages and acupuncture without guilting myself as being overindulgent or frivolous, honest talks with friends and family about what I'd been going through, and allowance to be a human being who needed some support and empathy.
Reminder: Self-care is not an indulgence! It's self-love, and it's the foundation of everything else you do and be in the world.
Fast forward to this week: I rediscovered the joys of rehearsals and performances, made plans with friends I haven't seen in months, had a blissfully relaxed tv date night with my beau, and returned to yoga. I've rediscovered myself, and remembered that I've been lovable and magical all along - I just needed to acknowledge that being human sometimes means being with pain and being able to generate and receive even more love.
What do you need right now to fall in love with yourself and treat yourself like the magical, lovable, perfectly imperfect human that you are?
If you want some support in figuring it out and/or implementing it, let's book a complimentary consult and get you loved up!