To Care for Oneself

I began working at the young age of 12. Throughout those years, I diligently attended school while working on weekends and during the summer months. Despite my busy schedule, I made time to attend a week of camp, assist with vacation Bible school, and participate in various school trips. These experiences came at a cost, and knowing that my family couldn’t afford them, I used my earnings from the job to pay for them.

I grew-up with undiagnosed autoimmune illnesses. So, managing both work and school while feeling unwell was incredibly challenging. This experience taught me the value of hard work and dedication, but it also led me to push through pain and exhaustion without complaining. It’s important to recognize the strength and resilience I demonstrated, but also to acknowledge that it caused me to neglect listening to my body and taking care of my health.

This experience shaped my perspective only after I had fulfilled my obligations and raised my own family. From childhood through my career as a nurse and into motherhood, I couldn’t afford the luxury of self-care. As a mother, there were times when I was so depleted that I couldn’t get out of bed. My body was so run down that I was too exhausted to sleep.

It wasn’t until I could no longer maintain the perception of having the perfect life that I finally let go. I went through years of profound sorrow. I had teenagers who constantly acted out, a marriage that was literally crumbling, and a body filled with tumors. It was then that I prioritized my well-being. At that point, I felt like I was losing on every front. I realized that I needed to rebuild my life and step back to take care of myself.

I began to rebuild my life by expressing my pain. Throughout my life, I focused on goals and smiled through difficulties without verbalizing my struggles. Nowadays, I tend to overshare, not to narrate my life story, but to inspire and emphasize the importance of self-care and compassion towards others.

     During my toughest days, I wrote songs like, “To Put Me Back Together,” because I recognized that I was completely broken.

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