The Awakening: How I fell in love with myself again. Because I needed to.

Self love by Tim Mossholder, Unsplash, quotes for valentine's day

Today, I felt like a woman. A desirous woman. A woman who can turn heads. I felt alive. After being a mother for so many years, and a wife before that, I had forgotten how it felt to be looked at. How it felt when someone appreciated the way you are! It had been so long before anyone paid any attention to me – and not the ‘I want something, mama’ or ‘Can you book the pest control visit’ kind of attention.

It just felt good to DO something for myself. And I did – Natasha

It is sad that I had to seek this validation from an external source – sad that I have to look outside to generate normal feelings, inside. After my child was born, slowly but surely, my very essence dissolved in hers – making her a stronger force but depleting me of what made me, me. The time I used to set out for myself, waned, and eventually trickled to a stop. Any saloon visits, or pamper-me times were something that faded with time. Sometimes, if I had the time, the lack of inclination to do something for myself – was almost astounding. My adoration for my child surpassed everything. It surpassed me. And, I let it. It was okay, to take care of my child, ‘She needs me’ was my rationalization, forgetting that I also needed me. I forgot that when going on empty, we can’t go far. And, yet, I continued. Everything was for my child. All and any shopping was for her, never bothering to look for something for me, rationalizing that once I lose the baby weight, and get in shape, I will go shopping for myself. Some times monetary budgets curtailed my own shopping sprees, sometimes my own shame about my body nipped it in the bud. Occasional forays in to the shopping mall ended up in a hasty retreats – I couldn’t map my clothes size (that fit me) – to the mental image of me. When could I not fit in to something that was a medium size ? When did ‘XL’ become the new ‘M’ ? These impotent forays in to shopping, only inhibited me from trying again. My own shame of my body further fueled the lack of wanting to do something for me.

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Till one day, I don’t know the source of the emotion – yet – made me look at myself. Judge myself. Critically, evaluate myself – and finally call a ‘spade a spade’. I was a lazy, unfit and unhappy woman. Mother or not – did not matter. I was not helping myself in continuing the way I was going – on the path I was going. And, this set of a series of tiny events that lead to the opening statement of this piece. I was a mess. My hair were not cut or coloured for eons, my skin was pale and unhealthy, and body was another story all together. Where do I start ? How do I fix my self ? If only, to a shadow of my former self – but even an ersatz version would be a better bet that what I had become.

Also Read: Is it hard to juggle motherhood and productivity?

To avoid making a decision – I did what I do best – procrastinate. I delayed making the decision to a ‘day when I felt better’. That day never did come. And, one fine (?) day. The old me, the no-nonsense old me, got fed up of the dilly dallying, the procrastinating moves, and let out a (silent) blood curling scream to move in to action – and move now! I finally, sat down, pen to paper and made a plan. It felt good. Whether I would follow through or not, it didn’t matter. It just felt good to DO something for myself. And I did. I made a plan to start getting fit. But how ? How do I climb the Everest without any training ? How do I trim the loads of excess, without having the tools to snip ?

Love in the era of digital life and dealing with break ups

Clem Onojeghuo For Unsplash

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I made up my mind to reduce my junk food – not eliminate – but reduce. Where an entire packet of cream biscuits were ‘oonth ke mooh mein jeera’, I cut it down to two biscuits. After several days of sugar deprivation, I felt victorious. I felt, that maybe – just maybe, I could get fitter. I could get back to some version of myself – inflated or otherwise. I extended the trend to other junk items, streamlining what I ate, and consumed and when. I started some simple yoga asans. Slowly, very slowly increasing it to more each day. And slowly – oh so slowly – it began to show results. Clap clap!

But each time, when you DO get up, it makes the next time easier.

Then, I wanted to work on the mental aspect as the physical one took care of itself. How do I change my attitude towards me ? Can I break this vicious cycle of belittling, over critical, judgment I have towards me ?It seemed like an impossible task. The bitterness was so infused me in me – and I didn’t know if I could separate the chaff from the wheat. But, it was worth a try. I decided to seek professional help. I had never considered mental health treatments to be an issue – not even when it came to myself, but I had never considered one. Thinking of myself as a mentally strong person – who could ‘take care myself’. How does one open to someone who is not a friend ? How can I tell someone what I really think of myself, when they do not know the real me ? I was convinced that I would not be able to break the mental barrier to break the final mental barrier (ha ha). But, surprisingly, I did (and did). I realized that as long as the person on the other end was a living breathing person,I could and would – offload. And, the other person – on the other end – actually had some sensible and viable suggestions. What she said – made sense. It felt correct, right. I took three sessions, when I realized that I had changed enough to take the reigns in my own hand.

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I may not have had a metamorphosis – but I know what afflicted me – this set my unrealistic expectations right. I know my limits – and I knew that there were somethings – how ever I want – I cannot do, and I made my peace with that. And this set off a domino effect- the realization that you know how far you can go can work wonders in curtailing really unrealistic exceptions from one self. And, it made me realize that by not being able to do some that my lofty expectations wanted me to do – I was not being weak or incapable – but asking for something that didn’t exist. This set me in to action. And each time the inner me would critique my inability to achieve something – I realized that I had to find an alternative way to do it. This reset my mental algorithm. And slowly, and more and more confidentially, I started getting my old mojo back. I started to find joys in things that once pleased me. I felt joy in being me – I started to fall in love with myself. I started to forgive myself for what I had become – and started to build (re-build) what I could be. It is not easy – and it takes a lot of mental strength – and sometime when you fail – the will to remain on the floor, broken is so overpowering – that when you rise – it feels that gravity is pulling you down – twice as hard. But each time, when you DO get up, it makes the next time easier. Till you can brush the crumbs aside, and get up – maybe not as victorious, not yet there – but on you feet.

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