As I mentioned in my last post, I knew that the past six months had taken a toll on me. My problems with my husband and his depression reached their peak — or their valley, I suppose — and then he turned a corner toward healing. So I did, too, on that front. Things are still on the upturn there.
It wasn’t until today, however, that I saw in stark terms what these past six months have done to me.
I realized I’d been looking unwell. I’ve gained about five pounds, which for me is actually a good thing as I tend to be a tad underweight. But my hair, my skin, my eyes … everything has looked dull and lifeless. I’ve done my best to conceal it, but the stress of this job, in particular, has worn through the outer veneer.
Today, I took a unique exercise class at my gym, where we sort of danced with silk scarves. It was actually a heavy-duty upper-body workout, way more than I was expecting but just what I needed.
When I looked at myself in the mirror at the gym, I almost couldn’t believe I was looking at me. My shoulders appeared to be up around my ears. I couldn’t stand up straight. My hair almost looked matted to my head. My skin was pale and sort of gray. My movements were so stiff, I didn’t recognize the way my body moved at all.
It scared me.
And it also taught me something important.
I will never, ever allow myself to be in a situation where I am under so much work stress. Never again. Nor will I ever allow myself to be taken down by another person’s emotional problems. Never again.
I’ve been reading a book called “One Word That Will Change Your Life.” It’s not the same word for everyone — you choose the word you want to focus on for a solid year.
I chose my word today. It’s my first name.
I must continue to tune into myself, so I don’t find myself in such a mess again because I haven’t been listening carefully to my own inner voice. I must continue to focus — or now, refocus — on my physical health. That starts right this second, as I go to bed a half hour earlier than I usually do.
I want to look in the mirror and see the beautiful person I know I am, on the inside and on the outside. And it’s up to me to make sure she’s always there.