Be Brave: My New Campaign

I’m a week and a half into my three-month leave of absence from my job, which I took in order to rest, reflect and refresh, as I often explained to my colleagues at work. That was a more professional way of saying I can’t live like this anymore. I knew, but I generally didn’t say, that the leave is about more than an extended rest and change of pace. For me, it’s about changing my life.

So many things need changing. So many things are not okay. I’ve been so depressed this year. Although I tried to ignore the impact of childhood sexual abuse for a long, long time, it’s all bubbling up to the surface. My body hurts and has lost so much strength. I have a lot of postponed medical things to take care of. I’m very out of shape because I’ve been in hundreds of meetings and spent long hours at the computer. I get tired walking three miles, which didn’t use to be difficult. My house is a mess (beloved husband is oblivious), which makes me more anxious. But most of all, I stopped doing the things I love: gardening, drawing, walking with the dogs, yoga. I lost touch with all the parts of myself that weren’t part of the work machine.

So now I’ve been off 11 days. I can see some improvement. I have made some noticeable but not dramatic inroads with house and garden, so that’s good. I’ve gone on some walks by the river. But I still take afternoon naps most days and I haven’t interacted with anyone but my son and my husband in the whole time I’ve been off, haven’t seen friends, haven’t gone out much.

This approach is not enough. It’s all well and good to rest a bit, but I need big changes. I can’t just coast along at the surface these three months and then in January jump right back into the life I had. I need to construct a different way to live, and for that, I need to be brave.

I was thinking back to this past summer and my “believe the girl” campaign. I banished Doubt for a little over two months, so she couldn’t dismiss the stories and pain of the wounded little girl. I tried to give the girl a voice for a change. I built her a house where she could get care and support. It all helped.

I’ve been floundering a bit lately, however. There’s always a lot of reasons for that, but a big one is fear. Fear of finding my feelings in therapy and expressing them. Fear of asking for real changes in my job, things that might make a change in my status and income (I’d like to pretend I don’t care, but honestly, I do.) Fear of revealing more to my husband. Fear of going to my gynecological appointment tomorrow and finding out I need surgery. Fear even of walking into a new yoga class where I don’t know anyone. Of course some of these things are scarier than others, but I notice a tendency in myself to stay at home, read books, and hide a bit from the world.

brave 4Hence, my new campaign: “be brave.” I want to be brave enough to take advantage of these precious three months to build the kind of life I want to live, not the kind where I want to hurt myself to quiet internal turmoil just enough to be able to work harder. I want to be brave enough to create the life that expresses who I am. This is going to take work at so many levels that it should scare me, but oddly enough, it doesn’t (well, at least not tonight). It kind of motivates me.

Tomorrow, Day 1, I get to be brave both at the gynecologist and in therapy–might as well jump right in! I’ll remember to take care of myself along the way, to give myself rest and protection when I need it. I’ll need to find out what helps keep me motivated. I’ll write about how it’s going here in my blog. I’ll welcome your encouragement.

(And for a little musical inspiration, there is always Sara Bareilles – Brave.)

21 thoughts on “Be Brave: My New Campaign

  1. You ARE Brave! (((hugs))) Just writing about your fears takes guts. I relate to your story. I quit my job 2 months ago…was a hard decision to make but it was eating me alive…I was scared to up and leave…I had no plan but I couldn’t take it anymore…I left it in the universe’s hands. It’s only now after 2 months that I am even starting to feel remotely like myself…and I have realized…I haven’t known myself for a long time…living to work…no passion…empty. I applaud you for taking a stand. Take charge! You deserve it! I’m rooting for you! I’ve been putting in a lot of time on my blog…I’ve been reading…a lot lol and you know what? You and many others seem to be “waking up” Little by little…my blog has been growing because I refuse to live in fear…no more! I have things to say, I have good to give and to share with others. So do you! The best way to help others is to help yourself. Don’t put your needs on the back burner anymore. This world is unwell…we’re on the brink of WW III …I wish that was a joke…there is so much corruption and negativity and if we don’t start taking the bull by the horns in our lives now…we may not have the chance…there are people in the world feeling for their lives and freedom right now…we need to seize the moment while it’s still our choice! Stay strong! Sending good vibes your way 🙂 (((hugs))) xo

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  2. What makes you fear walking into a new yoga class? Why do you hide from a lunch date with a friend. You get on out there, girl. Claim your space. People love meeting and making new friends and you see like a very dear soul.☕️❤️

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  3. Be careful with yourself, La Quemada. The worst thing you could do right now is pressure yourself to change. That’s what I hear you doing. May I suggest you try allowing the change to happen, rather than trying to make it happen? Yes, things like therapy and yoga can help open you up and assist the process of change. But – and I’m speaking from my side of the experience fence – pounding yourself day in and day out, expecting a change, can burn you out just as quickly as a soul-sucking job. And I agree with Cavelle: you ARE brave. Taking time to turn and face your fears is the most courageous thing anyone can do. Be gentle with your little girl. Wishing you all the best, and much success.

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    • I think that is what I am trying to do – be brave enough to let change happen. at least that’s mostly what I am trying to do. Maybe I want to push myself a bit in therapy. And ultimately I want to negotiate a change in my responsibilities at work, so I don’t have to spend all my waking hours working. You are right though. There’s no point in take a leave to rest if I don’t also allow myself to rest.

      It’s hard, you know? I have a good job because I tend to push myself to do more and to do it better. and sometimes I can overdo it.

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      • If you were here, you’d see the wry I look that passed over my face as I read your response. I know all about pushing yourself and having a hard time letting go. Asking me to relax is close to a death knoll; you want me to do WHAT? Really pulling for you on this.

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  4. You are incredibly brave! Be gentle with yourself. You’ve taken a huge step already by allowing yourself to have this time to rest and get things back on track. You’ll make other giant leaps, but it’s okay to just coast along for a bit, too. xxxxx

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  5. Pingback: Trying To Define Who I Really Am | la quemada

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