It's raining today. There is something so different about a rainy Friday. Unlike the song, "rainy days and Mondays always get me down", a rainy Friday seems more like preparation for a relaxing weekend. On Monday when you're heading into five days of work and confinement, it can be depressing. On Friday, when you can look forward to time to relax and unwind, the rain feels calming, inviting even - preparing us to curl up with a book and enjoy the lack of a schedule.
It's been so hectic lately -- week days blending into weekends -- there's not much distinction between them in my world. I have a bad habit of working anywhere, anytime. Writing is my work, but it's also my life and I have the problem that many writers and those that work at home have, I'm not so good at maintaining boundaries. But yesterday I had an experience - an epiphany if you will - that has given me a new perspective.
I ran into my hairdresser the other night at dinner. She told me I looked awful and most definitely needed my hair done. She was absolutely right, so I was not offended. I had left the house without even combing my hair, nor had I put on makeup or earrings, or any of the little things I ordinarily do when I go out for dinner with my family. I was just too tired to care. Her comment, rather than embarrassing me, coming from her, someone who has become a friend, made me feel cared about. Unexpectedly and uninvited, she right then in the
middle of her dinner, placed a call to her salon and scheduled an appointment for me for the next day. I had no choice. Well, I did, but I needed the push and I accepted it with relief.
Eva's five minutes of caring paved the way for an unexpected day of self care that not only went a long way in moving me toward physical and emotional restoration, but opened my eyes, not only to how worn out I was, but to how okay it is to care for myself. She cut and colored my hair and lifted my spirits with her wonderful stories and contagious laughter. I always leave her chair feeling better about life and myself. Friends have a way of doing that for us.
I drove myself to the nail spa and spent another glorious two hours being pampered some more. I lay back in the chair and allowed it -- let it in -- abandoned my resistance and guilt. It was so much more about sinking into the massage chair, closing my eyes, shutting off my mind and allowing myself to be cared for, allowing the charming oriental woman to seduce me into an extra $5 for a leg message to go with her expert foot massage and the soothing background music that lulled me away from reality, than it was the polished toes and finger nails. I am no longer driven by such vanities. Five glorious hours of self care and I felt more relaxed than I had felt in many, many months. And I had the best night's sleep I've had in weeks.
It's not that I haven't done these things before on occasion, but this time was very different. It was different because I was able to actually see in its fullness the necessity and impact of caring for myself and I recognized and felt in every fabric of my being the okay-ness of self-caring. In the past a wedge of guilt was always present. For as long as I can remember, I have allowed others needs to take precedence - a life long habit learned first from a mother who was the quintessential martyr - the best I had come to hope for was to have a member of my family nurture me a little in their spare time.
I have intellectually understood this concept for years -- even preached it to others -- but I was never able to really let go of my own expectations on myself...until yesterday. The stars must have been in alignment or the positive affirmations that have been whispering in my ears at night of late when I'm trying without success to sleep have finally taken root -- whatever the reason -- I am finally liberated. I'm just sorry it had to take this long. I haven't got that many years left to enjoy the freedom! But I am so going to enjoy every second of it!
And so, today, a rainy Friday presents itself to me as another gift. Today I will continue the process even as I work - to allow myself the privilege of living for myself and within myself. Today, the rain is peaceful, the clouds a welcome blanket of calm. This weekend I will truly take the opportunity to take a breather from the stress of life and it's expectations. I hope you will do the same.