Post Soundtrack: Through the Seas of Life by Pilgrimage
Today is a very relaxed, quiet day. I am finding myself vacillating between peaceful contentment and having much too much room for deep thoughts. The end result has been a little surprising, as I've come to terms with something that's bothered me for a long while.
You see, for years now I have struggled with housework and exercise. I'm sure you are thinking, "Well of course, we all do!" However, I'm not sure it is quite the same thing. You can make comparisons all you want with broken New Years resolutions, but it just doesn't feel the same. I followed the same cycle, over and over again, with great agony of spirit, and yet still somehow couldn't break out of it. It is bittersweet to realize there might have been a reason for that.
I will be the first to admit openly that I am not very good at housework, despite being a housewife by choice. I don't like to wash dishes. Many household chores are tedious. But despite that, I've always had a gratitude and appreciation of having a home to live in, furniture that's comfortable, kitchenware to cook and eat with. I have a desire to look after these things properly. It almost feels ingrained in me. In fact, I've wanted to be a wife and mother since I was very small, and was delighted to be able to achieve both by the time I was 25. Imagine that, achieving one's life goals so early! I am happy to be a housewife and a stay-at-home mom!
Please understand... I really and truly wanted (and continue to want) to care for my house and household. I adore folding clothes, for example. I find it very therapeutic to sit quietly, methodically folding while I hum and sing with soft music. I enjoy the logic of mapping out how I want to vacuum a room, and find it very satisfying when I'm done. There are aspects to tending the house that I savor, besides the end result of the feeling of a job well done. My heart is in the work.. or would be. This is, after all, my chosen profession!
My record with keeping up the house and myself would not reflect that, however. There have been spates and periods where I have managed to keep things rolling the way I wanted to. I can recall when we first moved to our current city. I loved the house, and wanted to take good care of it. I rose early, blissfully inhaled the cool freshness of the dawn air, and set to work taking care of family, house and self.
I don't remember now how long that honeymoon period in the new house lasted. I was able to keep up the early rising and whistle-while-you-work attitude for a while. But inevitably, at some point I stopped. I grew tired. I lacked the oomph to keep getting up so early, to keep working at the chores. As this happened, I began to rage at myself. Why oh why could I not just keep things going positively? Why was I so weak-willed? Why was I so fickle in my intentions?!
This same pattern applies to exercise. My original suspicions for Lupus began after my son was born. Shortly thereafter, I began to try exercising to shed the baby weight. I loved Tae Bo, in fact, and did it faithfully... for a time. But since then, I've only ever been able to keep up an exercise routine for a short time. Am I that lazy? Do I care so little for my physical health? Don't I know exercise helps the emotions as well as the body?
Today I have come to the conclusion that it was not my will that was at fault. It was not that I was wishy-washy, fickle, or lacking determination. My intentions were there, strong and firm. It wasn't my heart or mind that failed me. It was my body.
My lackluster feeling concerning my chores or exercise were not due to any fault of my own, nor to any lack of desire. I've noticed that emotions often get tangled up in what my body is trying to tell me. When I hurt badly, I get cranky. When I hurt for extended amounts of time, it makes me weepy. When my strength or energy lacks, it weighs on my heart. When my brain is foggy and sluggish, I feel ineffective and clueless. So when my body would deny me those activities my conscience told me I should be doing, I felt guilty and angry with myself.
I have carried this guilt and anger with me through the years. The self-recrimination has been unwavering. So many times I've tried to firm up my determination and tackle those chores. I've tried being methodical. I've tried schedules. I've tried to look at things one item at a time. I've tried madly working when I've had the urge, in order to get as much done as possible. I've tried badgering myself, guilting myself, scolding myself, shaming myself, cheering myself on, pulling myself up by my bootstraps... all to no avail. Just imagine for a moment... fifteen years of beating myself up over this failing.
Except it isn't my fault at all.
This may take a while to let go of. My cynical side wants to add, "if I can at all," but I'd like to believe better of myself than that. It's time to stop telling myself I can't because I'm terrible at my chosen job. It's time to try and grasp that I will do what I can, and need to find new ways to cope with the parts I can't manage. I haven't the faintest idea of how to accomplish that just yet, but at least I've set myself on a better path now. At least I can look behind and acknowledge, look at myself and accept, and just maybe look ahead with hope and understanding.