Let’s talk about February. Because it was an epic beast, the likes of which I hope never to see again.
So, I had this little cough. Well, it was more of a dry throat tickle that started in January. It’s the middle of winter, and I’m a self-employed woman with responsibilities and clients, so I said the thing too many of us say:
“I don’t have time to be sick.”
And so, as I continued to throw OTC remedy after remedy at it, it would abate for about a day or so until I got cold again, which, hello, it’s THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. Looking out the window makes me sick.
Oh, and then I slipped a disc in yoga. Good times.
And so, the battle went on and on until the tickle because a cough accompanied by a fever that got higher and higher. What did I say? Sing along if you know the words:
“I DON’T HAVE TIME TO BE SICK.”
And with that, my body decided it had enough of my shenanigans and demanded that I stop, drop, and roll on into the doctor’s office. NOW. And what do you know? Walking pneumonia was mine.
Which requires antibiotics and rest. Everything started to fall by the wayside. The blog went dark. Deadlines were struggled with. I lay essentially in a ill stupor for a few days until I wasn’t contagious anymore, then bundled up and went to my next obligation: New York Fashion Week.
Yes, I went to Fashion Week while recovering from pneumonia. They say God takes care of idiots, widows, and orphans, and I fell squarely into the first category. I made it through (nay, I was divinely carried through) an abbreviated schedule, then came home and had all these ideas. I was prepared to write. I took 2k photos. I had goals.
I was so tired and ill I couldn’t think.
In between all of this, my boyfriend and I had an epic fight. Epic. The fight to end all fights, the day after Valentine’s Day…in the middle of New York Fashion Week.
I say all of this to clarify that I collectively hit a wall. A big one, most likely the largest wall I’ve ever encountered. Exhaustion. Frustration. I hit a level of tired where I couldn’t even think properly.
What I finally realized is that I needed to sit the Hell down. No, seriously. It took grave illness, injury, blizzard-like elements, and an epic cosmic relationship cleansing to get me to slow down. Part of me would like to point out how tough I am, that it took that much to get me to stop, that I’m strong like bull. The rational part of me that’s currently in charge has muffled that part of me and has her bound, gagged, and tied to a chair. I’m not a hero; I’m extremely determined and very stubborn (some might say stupid, but let’s be kind here.) Essentially, it’s proof that I was not paying attention to the things that matter.
I believe that things happen for a reason, and I hold firm to the belief that all of that was to get my attention so I could see what was happening around me. My apartment was cluttered to the point where I expected the people from Hoarders to walk in. I hadn’t cooked a meal in forever.
I wasn’t taking care of myself, and with all of those epic things to accomplish, I had fallen to the bottom of my own priority list.
See, that’s how I ended up in a job I hated for fifteen years and 100 lbs. overweight: I stopped paying attention, and didn’t have time to be sick, tired, angry, and/or over the situation to change direction. It took fifteen years to come to that point, so I guess I should be grateful that I figured this out in about a month.
And so, I have taken some time to clean house. Clothes and products were donated, naps happened, serious conversations were had…and all is on the up and up. I haven’t posted Fashion Week coverage because, well, I’ll get to it. But even the fanciness of Fashion Week wasn’t worth the risks I took. Nothing is. I have to remember to put my own mask on first.
This whole putting-myself-first thing has slowly yielded some great results. I look better, I feel better, and I’m healing. But I’m saying all of this for you who are too busy to take care of yourselves. That’s a crock of crap. Nothing is worth your health. My grandmother died of a massive heart attack because she was too busy tending to everyone else’s needs but her own. I’ve seen way too many women die of this, and greater and greater numbers of us are walking around dead but living, meaning we merely exist to pay for stuff and take care of everyone else.
We are worthy of our own time and attention. Living for everyone else is not the way I want to live. How about you?
So, how about I take more time to take care of myself and stop being too busy for the things I love (like YOU GUYS), and you agree to forgive me for that, but also you agree to cut that stuff out, too? We’re important, ladies. No to-do list is worth your health. Take care of yourselves out there. You’re worth it, damn it, and so am I.
All photos in this post: Ashley Sears of Ashley Sears Photography.