Seeing as it’s Valentine’s weekend, it seems an appropriate time to share this post with you. It came about as part of this month’s project for #mymindfulyear which, you may remember from last month, is the 2016 mindfulness project I’m taking part in led by Sas Petherick. (Actually, now is also an appropriate time to say: holy moly this is one excellent blogger. Go and check her out.)
This month’s mindfulness theme is “Moments of Connection” and it got me thinking about the connections I have with the people in my life – and one in particular.
“While connection is an absolute necessity for us to survive and thrive, it takes huge courage to allow other people to really know us.” Quote by Sas Petherick.
I consider myself to be an independent woman, not so much in a Destiny’s Child “throw your hands up at me” way, but just in a headstrong “leave me alone, I got this” way.
Then, when I became a chronic pain sufferer, something changed and all of a sudden I didn’t “got it”. In fact, it felt like I got nothing. Accepting help is one of the things I struggle most with in life; mix that with my intense levels of impatience and you’ve got yourself one very frustrated girl.
If I think of something we need, I want to go and get it immediately. I want to go. I want to carry it back to the house, I want to set it up, I want to use it – all in less than half an hour from the time we first realised we needed it. But that independent girl is trapped in the body of a very dependent woman, and I am no longer able to don my Wonder Woman cape and save the day. Now I sit around helplessly, like Lois Lane waiting for her Superman.
That is why the connection I have with my other half is so immensely important. He is the only person who I let in completely, the only person who I will give in to when I can do no more, and the only person I will sob to on the kitchen floor when it all gets too much. He’s also the only person I will push my boundaries for – I’ll do what I can to make things easier for him, even if I know it’s not the most sensible decision for my health. My desire to be helpful matched with his desire to be protective often comes down to survival of the most stubborn. Supermarket arguments are increasingly common – me trying to carry bags so he’s not laden like a donkey, and him trying to make sure I carry nothing so I’m not broken later. Shop assistants must love us. But you know what, this is an argument I like. It comes from a place of love, of both of us wanting to help the other.
As a general rule, I don’t like help from outsiders – even from the people closest to me. If I ask you for help, it’s because I’ve been through every other possible (and impossible) option and there’s just no alternative to your help. But, as Sas said, for us to thrive we have to let other people in. We have to let you know us. We have to let you know what’s going on behind closed doors. And that’s why the connection with my partner is so important; because it’s honest. As someone who blogs about chronic pain, I’m pretty honest with the entire world but, as with all bloggers – and all people, what you see is what I want to show you.
I’m not big on public displays of affection and I have never celebrated Valentine’s day. Not because I’m dead inside, but because I find it unnecessary. Once I find those true connections to the people in my life, they are my everything and they know it. I tell them I love them all the time. And not just in words – if they’re really lucky they get it through emojis and sarcastic songs too.
Whatever is going on behind your closed doors, I hope it’s filled with love and support.