This week started like any other week. I shot out of bed on Monday morning, filled with a head full of Other People’s Requirements. We all have them. I am no different. I have obligations to ensure that I can survive. I would do my very best to meet them, and the next week would start again in much the same way.
I would do my very best to meet them.
This week did not unfold like any other week. I completed a last-minute assignment for a client. I did my very best to write this article. I submitted it. I moved to the next obligation on the list. I went on about my daily deliverables. More email flowed in. Anxiety rose slightly. Could I juggle all the obligations?
I did my very best to meet them.
In one day, the world changed. I became agonizingly sick, sicker than I’ve been in years. I soldiered on because I have obligations, I have that checklist that says if I don’t deliver, I could be off your radar. You would forget about me, and I might not survive. I soldiered through the pain. Doubled over, I smiled at events and made polite conversation. The list got larger as the pain increased.
I tried my very best to meet them.
In the day, I was attacked on social media. It seems despite my best efforts, I was deemed by a mass mob to be unfit to tie my own shoes, much less write professionally. The comments were vicious; the anger was unbelievable. A piece I wrote that I intended to be a request that we all come together and be sensitive to each other’s needs became a battleground for opinions about me. It appears I should be ashamed to have even breathed air this morning. Ignorant despite research…you should be ashamed of yourself. My abdomen turned into a vice grip as I read these comments in the doctor’s office. The list remained long, but it appeared “get your shit together” was now on my agenda. Shame on you, came the backlash.
I officially stopped trying my very best to meet them.
During this doctor’s visit, I got some rather sobering news: some residual affects of my childhood abuse have come back to haunt me as a current health condition. In my conversations with the doctor, I had to answer questions as to how the trauma happened in the first place. They are conditions for which I have felt shame my entire life. It seems the ring of belly fat and the internal distress I’ve been experiencing has been the housing, care, and feeding of other people’s violence against me, which has turned into me perpetuating that angst against myself. I have to let it go, or I will literally destroy myself from the inside out.
I have to let it go, or I will literally destroy myself from the inside out.
The doctor explained the protocol for dealing with the damage, a new manner for living. The way I have done things is not the way I will do them now. There are new obligations on the list. I must put myself first, or my existence will become unbearable.
I must put myself first, or my existence will become unbearable.
I walked out of the office, and destroyed the old to-do list. I let go of the Internet hatred, I released the requests for more shame. I do not subscribe to these demands anymore. I do not accept the fear that lack of approval means I should erase my entire existence. I will not crumble under the weight of your opinions. I do not believe in a world where anyone who tries their very best should be ashamed of falling short. I am no longer in possession of a desire to play those games or live by those rules. My life depends upon acceptance of myself and living a kinder, gentle existence. You must take your violence elsewhere, and I must not perpetrate such acts upon myself. I no longer believe in shame.
I no longer believe in shame.
I am obliged to put myself first. My survival depends upon my love for myself. I deserve my own love and respect, and I trust myself to deliver it. I have a new set of priorities, and I am at the top of that list. I will do my very best to meet them.
I will do my very best to meet them.