Running Away: A Rant, a Revelation, and a Reawakening
Running away seems to be a survival instinct for me. I’m feisty, but when it comes down to the choice of fight or flight, I’m cashing in my frequent flyer points and getting the hell out of wherever. So I’ve been away for a while because I’ve been on the run again. Not literally; I didn’t actually go anywhere, but a section of my brain (officially named The Blog Cortex), packed its bags and hoofed it. I’ve attempted to come back a few times, but discovered The Blog Cortex was only interested in phoning it in from an area with dodgy reception. But today, its back, the bags are unpacked, and the shiny distractions have all been put away.
I think the initial trigger for my vacay from blog land was politics. Australia is in an election year, and quite honestly it’s depressing. That I do mean literally. It’s actually made it hard for me to get up sometimes (hello black dog, my old friend). I’m a deeply political person. I believe in human rights, caring for the environment, compassion, equal access to services etc. You might rightly get the sense I’m a bit left-wing. So political causes, I’m on board with. But I hate politics. Perhaps that’s not strong enough. I detest politics. In Australia at least, our current political landscape consists of posers and bullies, often within the same person. It’s a whole lot of arguing about nothing, calling each other names, clichés, and meaningless diatribe, no policies, and punishing our most vulnerable people in the name of political point scoring. Oh, and senseless bribery. Let’s not forget buying people’s votes with nonsensical incentives. Our politics is sexist, racist, ageist, homophobic, xenophobic and every other form of prejudice you can think of. And at times, downright idiotic. So I hate election years, witnessing billions of dollars are spent achieving nothing but some ego stroking and catchphrase generating.
At the time The Blog Cortex ran for the hills, our then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, was copping a battering from the opposition and her own party for, well, being female. She was then ousted by our Former Prime Minister (who she had ousted earlier), the election was recalled, and the idiocy continued. It was too much. I’m a political person, but I have always wanted this blog to be apolitical. I am known to have the odd rant about politics, but this blog is intended as a sacred, idiot-politician-free zone. But I became so surrounded by idiocy, and so completely and utterly pissed off and depressed by it all, that I couldn’t continue to write about other things when all I wanted to do was scream at these dickheads ruining my country. So The Blog Cortex ran. And kept running.
Then being away from here became a kind of blessing. I decided to take the time out to refocus on why I was here in the first place. What did I want? Why was I blogging? And why, as a self-confessed recovering perfectionist, did I still find fronting up to the page and spewing out my imperfections so scary? I had started to feel inadequate, comparing myself to people who have been blogging for years, and becoming terrified I was just copying every other blogger out there. What was the point of blogging if I wasn’t being original? Except I was. I’ve always written authentically. My blogging voice is still finding and defining itself, but it has been my voice on the page every time. I care about health, the environment, living simply, and ‘finding myself’. So do many other bloggers, so it’s inevitable I’ll write about the same topics as them now and then. But getting it into my head that this was ok was a bit tricky. That it’s ok to be imperfect. That it’s ok to be a beginner. I’ve always felt this need to be the best at everything I do, and being a beginner at things has always been more challenging for me because of it. So I took a bit of time to get the hell over myself, and just be me. The real me, not the perfect me.
And why am I writing? Because I damn well want to, that’s why. I’m passionate, I love writing, I have stories to share, and topics to explore. Maybe someone will like to read them. Maybe someone will relate. Maybe someone will like visiting my little internet home. But primarily, I am writing because I want to, I need to. I am letting go of Little Miss Perfect, Madame Needtoplease, and the Whiny WhyDon’tYouLikeMe? From now on, I front up, I write, I smile, and I leave the self-criticism behind. This recovering perfectionism gig is a hard one, and my time away helped me refocus on that too. I’ve enlisted a support team because trying to do it all myself wasn’t really working – it kind of reinforced my need to be the best at everything and be able to do everything immediately: “I’m going to stop being a perfectionist now, and I’ll be the best damn non-perfectionist, healthy, whole person there is!” Um, yeah…. So I enlisted a coach, I gave my husband permission to lecture me more when he realised I was risking my health, and I gave myself permission to stop criticising myself, and start loving and caring for myself instead. And I’ve also decided to be more upfront. Stop hiding. Starting with my identity. I had decided to be anonymous on this blog as I thought that would allow me more authenticity and freedom to write what I really want to, but now I know that was a bullshit cop-out. I am who I am, and though I’m still in search of who exactly that is, I am determined to be an authentic me. So no more hiding. My name’s K-M (I’m not hiding, that really is my name!), and I’m a recovering perfectionist! And so I’m back, with an identity and a new energy. The Blog Cortex is back full of post-holiday verve. Tomorrow I will unveil a new look for my blog; a new outfit and focus. My perfectionism is still lurking, but I’m giving it regular kicks up the butt.
I can’t guarantee I won’t run again. Sometimes I need to and so I shall. It gives me time out. It helps me find perspective and focus again. It ensures my health is taken care of. In fact, sometimes when I’ve refused to run, my body has stepped in and forced me to. After a year working for Cirque du Soleil in an extremely stressful and health-taxing role, my body stepped in. I refused to take a break. I refused to admit that working up to 17 hours a day, 7 days per week wasn’t good for anyone, let alone someone with chronic health conditions. My perfectionism was killing me, so my body found a way to save me. I wasn’t listening to my body yelling into a megaphone about my failing immune system and organs due to my autoimmune conditions. I’d just drink more coffee and take more pain killers. So my body pulled out the big guns and gave me a flirtation with breast cancer. I had to listen to that! It was the third time that my breasts had given me this message written in fireworks that I couldn’t ignore. In her book, Heal Your Body, Louise Hay says dis-ease in the breasts is caused by “a refusal to nourish the self. Putting everyone else first”.* I rushed home from Brazil to get surgery – I had allowed myself 6 weeks off work for surgery and recovery time, and I had my mum line up surgeons in Sydney so there was no delay when I got to Australia, just a couple of days to recover from jetlag, then slice and dice time. This was my plan so I could back to my Very Important Job looking after lots of people, and ignoring my own health, as quickly as possible. It all went to plan. Until I got back. A week after getting back to Brazil, it was obvious that I was no longer in the right place. I probably never was. My health had to come first and I finally had to face up to that. It was time to listen to my body, really listen, and to listen to others who had seen my body’s distress signals, and go home – not run, but walk, carefully, imperfectly and with vulnerability. And so I did.
The first time I ever ran away I think I was about 5. After an argument with someone in my family, I packed a bag with my essentials (which I’m sure included a toothbrush, book, and possibly something to cuddle), announced to my mum that I was sad and angry and felt unloved so I was running away. She held back laughter and kissed me goodbye. I think I ran away to the backyard and sat under the trampoline for about 10 minutes, then went home and announced I was willing to give them another chance. I still run away, but now I’ve got a lot more baggage and the only person I need to be able grant a second chance to is myself. And I’m finally finding my way back home.
*Too woo woo for you? There are many schools of thought that believe the body, mind and spirit are inextricably linked, and therefore many of our negative experiences, memories, associations, and emotional and spiritual wounds are worn by our body as dis-ease. The more I delve into this, the more I believe it to be so.
Have you ever run away? From yourself? Have you found your way back home?
Posted on August 29, 2013, in Family Friends Community Love, Living With Autoimmune Conditions, My Crazy Life, Relax! and tagged A Life Less Ordinary, Anxiety, Autoimmunity & Chronic Illness, Balance, Blogging, Brazil, Depression, Happiness, Health, Lupus, perfectionism, Sjögren's syndrome, Stress, Touring Life. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.