Hello maker friends, I hope this post finds you well and ready for the summer! My name is Nkese, and am the colorful creative behind cosmic_crochet_creations. I am also the face behind the #afteryarnglow hashtag. If you don’t already know what that is, go check it out! I have been crocheting for almost eight years now. I was inspired to start crocheting after my oldest daughter received a crochet kit for Christmas. We both figured it would be something fun to do together. When I first started out I was only making hats, scarves and bags. In the last year I started making garments and I LOVE IT!! Garment making has definitely taken over my life! Now I want to make all the things! Please tell me I’m not the only one!
I wrestled so much with what I wanted this blog post to be about and the message that kept coming back to me is self care is not selfish. So here goes...
Have you ever been in a place where you were trying to live up to someone else’s ideas and expectations of who you should be? Well I have. I spent most of my twenties and part of my thirties that way. I was trying to be everything to everyone, while also trying to not offend or hurt anyone’s feelings. I wanted people to see me as a great wife and mother. I good co-worker and friend. I was so busy being everything everyone needed me to be that I forgot about taking care of myself. I pretty much NEVER said no when people asked me to do something and I ran myself ragged trying to do all the things.
Slowly, my body started giving me hints that I was not okay. I was coming home from work and falling asleep on the couch after only a few minutes of sitting down. Only to wake up the next morning in the same place, with the same clothes on. I was completely and utterly EXHAUSTED! To make matters worse our house was in complete disarray because I felt like I just didn’t have enough time in the day to do all the things that needed to be done, so I just started focusing on the MOST important things and left everything else. After all I was only one person I couldn’t do everything right?! And instead of listening and paying attention to the signals my body was giving me I just kept pushing myself. Kept going, and going, and going, until one day I. JUST. COULDN’T. I needed a break both mentally and physically, but I was not prepared for the way in which that break came.
I can still remember sitting in my doctor’s office that day with tears streaming down my face as she told me I needed to be admitted to the hospital. I said, “What about my family? What about my job?” She responded with, “What about you? How are you going to be good to anyone if you drop dead?” She tried her best to console me and then she said, “I want you to pray about it. I’ll come back in a few minutes and you can give me your answer.” I was in shock that she had told me to pray about it. I’ve never had a doctor tell me to pray about anything. That’s when I knew this was God’s plan. He knew I needed a break and this was the only way to guarantee that I would get it.
The year that followed that hospital stay was a hard year. I lost some friends, and I wasn’t able to do things I did before I went into the hospital. There were so many tears shed during that time because I knew I needed a break, but I also didn’t understand why God had allowed this to happen to me. It felt like my entire world was falling apart and crashing down on me and all I could do was watch in silence.
Looking back I can see my life wasn’t falling apart at all, it was actually falling into place. God had to do something drastic to get me to see that I was not living the life he had created me to live. In fact I wasn’t living at all! I was just EXISTING! Going through the every day mundane motions of life. I wasn’t happy! I hadn’t been happy for YEARS and he knew that. I spent a lot of time that year by myself studying God’s word, and when I started pulling out all my old sermon notes I realized that God had spent the prior two years preparing me for that exact time in my life. He had equipped me with all the things I would need long before I needed them. It took in act of God for me to know my worth and to truly be happy. To learn to live my life to the fullest even when I’m doing small, seemingly unimportant things. To smile from the depths of my soul. So when I smile, my smile reaches all the way to the corners of my eyes. There is so much I learned during the process and I have to tell you I’m grateful for all of it!!
Let me tell you what I learned.
1. You have to take care of yourself so you have the capacity to take care of others.
2. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!! There is a reason you have symptoms, it’s your body’s alarm system letting you know that something is wrong. Don’t ignore the signs!
3. You are not defined by what other people think of you or any title you have been given. Who does God say your are?
4. Find things that bring you joy. What do you love? What are you passionate about? Chances are you already know what it is.
5. Make time for yourself. NO MATTER WHAT! You have to find a way to carve time out for yourself each week or you will lose yourself in the needs of others.
6. Learn how to say no without feeling guilty about it. When you say yes to something you are also saying no to something else. So make sure your yes, is your BEST YES and your NO, is a DEFINITIVE NO!
7. JUST LIVE!! LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE! Life is a journey not a destination and if you’re not careful you will miss the whole thing! Live in the moment and learn to experience life with all of your senses. What did you see? What did you hear? What did you smell? What did you taste? What did you feel?
I am finishing this post with well wishes for every one of you. Even if you only learned one thing from reading this, that is one thing you didn’t know before. I hope this post inspires you to do better, and be better, and most of all take care of you!! Remember self care is NOT SELFISH! Sending lots of love your way!