A workshop is offered for female empowerment at a great price and at a place I love. There is nothing I want more now than to be the empowered Me. I’ve been sick for two weeks. I can see all the reasons why I “should” go. And when I imagine it, I feel tired and that it will be a drain on my energy. Do I choose to push and do what I think I “should” again? Draining my life force energy even more and once again? It is the way I’ve always done things. Push and try to be “good” and “right”. My credence has been: Have no limits.
Or I could say “No,” and stay home and recuperate and be gentle with myself, maybe a small quiet walk with a friend. That feels like a relief.
The irony for me is that I have an idea of what I “should” do to become Empowered Me. And maybe it isn’t really so. Maybe the empowered me says, “No thank you,” and trusts myself and my body and what feels gentler and kinder, “even though”. Maybe this idea of doing what I should, this doing at all, is part of that patriarchal value inside of me around doing-equals-success. What if the empowered thing is to listen to myself, stay home recuperating and nourishing myself. No matter what anyone else thinks or says. That is the empowerment I do want.
I grew up in the sixties and absorbed a message of: Love means having no limits. Which has translated into doing things I haven't wanted to do. Putting others before me. Trying to mind-read and please others while ignoring myself. Feeling wrong and guilty if my needs and desires differ from someone else's and trying to change myself to the shape I think I need to be to be loved, lovable and safe - giving others that power over me. Oscillating between anger and fear with a backdrop of bitterness. Hatred of self and others. Self-abuse. Avoidance of people. Secretiveness. Lying. Insecurity and low self-esteem.
The other thing that prevents me from listening to and taking care of myself appropriately is that I don’t want to have limitations. I’m accustomed to being able to do whatever I want, all day long. Right now I can barely do one task per day. Today I call a client. Tomorrow I’ll wash clothes. This frightens me. It’s not how I want to be. It harks mortality. It might pass, but it might be the new status quo. How do I cope with that with acceptance? Doesn’t that mean I’ve lost the game?
It comes down to accepting myself and my life and being responsible for it as it is, regardless of what culture says is okay. Being there for myself unconditionally, as a present mother would. Perhaps this is an ironic piece of the empowerment I've prayed for. The next instruction I hear is to grieve. Then see what the next step is, accepting its form whether crawling on knees or walking on feet.