Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything for Floral Manifesto. Part of the reason for that is #grief. I’ve also been spending a lot of time working on a larger writing project, that I’m beginning to call a memoir (!!!!). My 2018 intention is centred around the word MANIFEST. Instead of thinking about things and saying “Oh, I really wanna do X” and then not taking any action to make X happen, I’m pushing myself to make my dreams and wishes and desires a reality. This is exciting work, but it’s also hard work.
Part of my Great Project of Manifesting is thinking more about ways that I can feel empowered when no one else is around. I’m one of those people who re-energizes in the company of others. Feeling sad? Call a friend! Feeling lonely? Make plans to see a movie! At some point I hit my “people wall” as I call it and need some time to myself. But it requires A LOT of people time to make that happen.
Now I’m an extrovert (surprise, surprise) and so this makes a lot of sense. But I’m also someone who has a tendency towards co-dependency. As someone with complex-PTSD, which began with my mother’s death when I was 11, I’ve got a lot of abandonment issues. I’m very afraid of being alone. There were times in my life where I jumped from one bad relationship straight into the next because the idea of being single was truly terrifying. I’m no longer that person, but that doesn’t mean that those tendencies and fears have vanished into the ether.
I’ve found my fear of being alone popping up a lot more since my dad died three months ago. At first my friends were checking in with me daily. I have constant offers of company, food delivery, phone check ins, etc. But around the two month mark those offers started to dwindle. I found myself having to remind my friends, “HEY…STILL GRIEVING OVER HERE!!!” And then I felt angry that I had to remind them. One of my best friends recently sent me this image via instagram and I felt like it really spoke to exactly how I’ve been feeling as I move out of “zombie of grief” mode and into “maybe semi human again” grief mode:
At the end of the day, regardless of what my grief looks like or doesn’t look like, what my super amazing therapist has helped me realize is that being with others doesn’t need to be the only source of feeling less alone. As she continues to ask me: How can you make yourself feel empowered when no one else is around??? I’m still working on figuring out the answer to this question. I can list a whole host of things that I do that make me feel great: crafting, reading, writing, taking a bath, going for a walk and window shopping, bringing a book to my fav cafe. The problem here is that none of those things make me feel good when my original plan of hanging with another human doesn’t come to fruition.
One suggestion that she’s offered that my Type-A personality really loves is PLAN FOR DISAPPOINTMENT. Well, that’s maybe not the most empowering way of putting it. But what she means is that maybe having a Plan B structured around something that I’m going to do for myself in the event that no one is available to hang might actually make me feel more empowered. Think about it like this:
Oh, you can’t hang? That’s okay, I’ve got a really cool craft project that I wanna work on anyways.
Oh, you’re not free tonight because you made other plans that you won’t just drop because I’m sad? That’s cool. I think I’ll just do this new tarot reading that I’ve been meaning to try out.
So for today, I’m going to read my Many Moons work book and do some journalling (because the moon is magical and so am I!). Then I’m either going to start reading Virginia Woolf’s essay “On Being Ill” (because when my chronic pain is super bad, like it is today, it can feel super helpful to read other people talk about their experiences with illness).
And then I might do some collaging — if I have the energy. My project? Create mini collages for each of the tarot cards I pulled for my 2018 reading. One of my MANIFEST goals is to become more knowledgable about the tarot deck and so for this project I’ll read more about the card and then find little images in my stack of collage materials to create my own re-imaginging of the card.
I’d love to hear from you! What do you do when you’re feeling sad, sick, or otherwise not your best? What activities help make you feel empowered?Tags: activities, anxiety, chronic pain, co-dependency, crafts, empowerment, illness
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This post was written by Margeaux