Last Sunday, I went for my weekly massage with my wonderful therapist, N. After some trial and error before the holidays, I finally settled on N as a good fit for massage. Between the holidays, moving and getting sick, it had been close to a month since my last massage, so I was happy to get back.
During last week's massage, in addition to the complete relaxation I'm normally able to achieve, I was filled with a feeling I haven't had in a long time: unconditional self-love.
Contrast that with the negative self-talk and complete lack of self esteem I've been experiencing all week, after a painful accident. I was getting into the passenger side of DBF's van, when I opened the door and slammed myself in the head. If that wasn't bad enough, I hit my head right where my daily Migraine pain is centered, near my right temple/cheekbone. This injury has been triggering moderate to severe Migraine pain and symptoms all week, meaning I've spent much of my time lounging around the house like a slug. And berating my stupidity all that time.
Like many other chronically ill women, I've had to shed the Superwoman image pretty fast. When I was working, I simply wasn't able to work a full-time job, equally split the chores and errands and take care of myself. Even now, without the full-time job, I still am not able to divide the chores and errands equally with DBF. He's had to take on the lionshare of typical chores, as well as most of the cooking we do to maintain my strict diet.
Having to give up some of my independence for the sake of my health has been difficult, and is a daily struggle. Just yesterday, I posted on MMC that it's still frustrating and hard to ask for help, even if I'm asking DBF, someone who will never second-guess my judgment about my health. While I've rejected the image of Superwoman, her shadow still lingers and sometimes I can't let go of the (unfair) comparison.
But after a week of calling myself an idiot, I'm remembering the hour of totally unconditional self-love I experienced on Sunday. Love that is much more healing and healthy than guilt is. It wasn't just that I loved myself and my personality; I even loved my body, as imperfect and fragile as it is.
Here's the thing. I'll never be Superwoman. I will always have Migraines, Chronic Daily Headache and IBS. But I will also always have myself and my body.
Acceptance of my chronic illness is something I struggle with every day. Acceptance of myself and my body is no easier, especially with so much stress in my life. But finding that moment of unconditional love last week was inspiring, and enough to remind me that I am worth the effort.