Southern women are nothing if not nurturing. We learn it at our mother’s knee. And it’s a good thing. The love and support of the women in my life have sustained me through many rough spots. But, speaking for myself, it’s easy to overdo it. Last week while getting a manicure (my first this year…) the manicurist said to me in her lovely Jamaican accent, “You are carrying a large and beautiful umbrella, with many people under it… but you are not under the umbrella yourself!”
Her comment took me by surprise since I had just met her. I didn’t ask how she knew that. Perhaps coming from a more tranquil culture makes her more intuitive or maybe my appearance gave me away. No matter; I knew she was right.
Self-care is hard work and takes time! It’s easier to get instant gratification by making cookies for that grandchild than to do the cardio workout; simpler to “do it myself” than let someone else struggle with the chore while I take that needed rest, faster to answer the cell than to let it go to voicemail, more expedient to run that last load of dishes than to get to bed on time. I could go on, but if you’re reading this, you know the drill. It’s insidious. I don’t even see it happening until I’m caught in the downpour. And I get lots of warm fuzzies for holding the umbrella over others. But the Jamaican lady was right; if I neglect myself, in time I will collapse and become someone else’s problem; the very last thing I want. It’s my responsibility to take care of myself. Thanks for the reminder, pretty lady.