What have you done for YOU lately? A bit of honesty.

Wow. What a simple question. “What have you done for yourself lately?”

I had to sit back in my chair after reading it and really think about an answer.
I guess the most recent thing I did for myself was buy a new lip balm for my chapped and cracking lips.
But what about the big things? How am I taking care of myself?

My rantings and ravings need no reassurance. My words are not cries for help. I am absolutely positive that you, or someone you know, have experienced my same emotions at some point in life. 

Sometimes, a bit of honesty is healthy for your soul. Expressing truth and honesty from the depths of my heart may be a folly–as I am not a wise person and do not claim to have all the answers. I expose my feelings and my heart to reality’s dagger. To me, opening up on a blog about how I feel–really feel– keeps me an honest woman. You might know me, friend. You might not. But know that I say what I do because it is how I view the world, not how I feel you should. 

After Daphne was born, all my time and energy went into making sure she was fed and taken care of. It still is that way now. She has come down with a small infection and all my energy now is directed towards making sure she can breathe and is as comfortable as possible.

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I think that as a mom, it is very easy to take care of your family but forego taking care of yourself.

I haven’t worked out lately.

I’ve been mindlessly snacking as a refuge from facing personal issues.

I have been gaining weight. 15 pounds in 2.5 months.

My hair color is fading fast.

I have the same wardrobe I’ve had since high school and I rotate between 2 jeans and 3 tee shirts because most don’t fit, and I am too ashamed to try on everything else. That would just lead to more depressing glares into the mirror.

I am tremendously thankful for what I have. I have enough food to eat (and overeat). I have the extra funds to dye my hair ridiculous colors and maintain it. I have clothes to put on my back.

To go a step further, how am I taking care of myself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally?

Since my dad died, I have been a bit scatterbrained. There are so many things to think about after a loved one dies: What to do with their belongings, their bills to pay, and how to cope. I feel that I have to be DOING something rather than not, lest I go mad. Since we’ve been in Kansas, away from routine, I’ve been thrown off kilter.

Mentally, I haven’t been doing my usual load of research. I was consumed with pregnancy,parenthood, and birth research for the past 10 months. After I had Daphne, it was as if everything came to a halt because I had experienced the culmination of my research. What to research now? Since I am not attending college, I need to find a topic to research and learn about.

Potential topics: 
Art techniques
Learning a new language
Starting a small business for my art

Spiritually, I have been lacking. What is most amazing to me is the fact that I was so devout throughout my teenage years and into marriage. It seems that with the military inclusion in our life, I have excluded Christ. This fact is absolutely devastating to me. And yes, I feel guilty. We haven’t found a church family to share fellowship. Even a step further than that, I can count on my hand the times I’ve read my bible in the past year. YEAR. ONE HAND. So sad.

I look back on where I have fallen from and am ashamed. My relationship with God has suffered to make room for other things, whether it was video games, working out, baking, or just avoiding the guilt. Then again, I went through a stage of doubting God and my feelings for my relationship with Him. I feel that I based my relationship with God on my emotions and the research my teachers and pastors had done. I had not done all the research myself. I never really asked myself “why do you believe what you do?” or “what makes this have such an impact on your life?” I halfheartedly searched for my own answers to those questions but I must be honest with you, friend. I haven’t answered those questions.
I have seen a change in myself and this change is not a good thing. I have become full of piss and vinegar. Negativity seems to fuel me, though I have my good days where I am positive and I seem happy. I am more inwardly focused and selfish.

What can I do to mend this? Start small. Find the answer to the question “Why do I believe what I do?” Pray daily. Read the bible a bit daily. Be thankful. Express thanks and love to those around me. Reach out to those in need– those needing love, physical items, or an emotional encouragement.

I seem to have developed a funk. Self induced loathing for who I seem to be, whether it actually is who I am or not. I haven’t been taking care of myself emotionally. I wouldn’t say that I hate myself or that I have full-on depression. I would say, however, that I have the mind of perfectionist who lives in a flawed body, which leads to a lot of friction emotionally. Think about it–when your expectations do not match reality, you get uneasy and discouraged, no? Even the slightest bit?

Aren’t we hard on ourselves? Often times, too hard. A healthy amount of frustration can fuel a person to change and to be better. Other times, that same frustration with oneself can lead to a deterioration of self image and confidence.

I am 26 years into my life and I feel as if I have accomplished nothing. I wouldn’t say that I feel as if it’s a hard ‘nothing’ but I cannot really say that I have succeeded at much. I spurned my parent’s advice to go to a college with a full ride scholarship. I, out of timidity, haven’t put my musical abilities out there for orchestras in town. I don’t have a degree. I am not successful according to typical standards. I am a stay at home wife and mother. Society doesn’t really recognize those two things as descriptions to be proud of, which is terribly sad.

I look inward and wonder what will be said of me when I die. I wonder what feelings will be invoked within friends and family when they hear the news. I wonder what legacy I will leave behind.

What have I done for ME lately?

I have been negligent.

I have neglected my health in all aspects: Spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical.

I’ve been so busy being busy that I’ve become a shadow of the person I wish to be.

I do not feel whole.

I do not feel confident that I am a good person.

As I mentioned, the death of my dad spurred a whole new perspective on life and accomplishments. I wonder “What the heck am I doing? Who am I?”

I find that it is absolutely crucial for me to take better care of myself. I haven’t felt very good the past week and I attribute that to my failing self image. What can I do for myself today and tomorrow?

I love my life, please don’t mistake me. I have a loving husband who works hard for the government so that he can provide for me and our daughter. I have an absolutely beautiful 10 week old daughter who lights up my life. I am provided for. I am thankful for what I have. Yet, in all of this, I still manage to let negativity have a foothold and control my thoughts and actions. This notion is so frustrating to me. It should be more simple than this. I imagine I’ll be opening up and talking a bit more about self image in the weeks to come as I work through my issues. Bear with me. Writing out how my emotions is a form of therapy that I maintain.

The fact that I over complicate life is baffling.

Please friend, take good care of yourself. Take an honest evaluation of yourself. If you aren’t happy with something, change it. If you need something, get it. There is no greater tragedy than complacency when you long for so much more.

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One thought on “What have you done for YOU lately? A bit of honesty.

  1. Patricia Hundley says:

    Jenna, I don’t want to discount your feelings, however, being a stay at home mom is the most rewarding thing ever, the most important job ever! I have been (mostly) a stay at home mom and I think my kids are well rounded. No one can love your child like you can! It is a worthy job! There is plenty of time for other things later (except over eating, God and exercise, keep those up for your emotional state!) I can relate you in the low self image and eating out of control. During your free time, get involved with sewing, painting, singing and playing piano and cello. Raising a family in the right way is the most honorable job, even if it doesn’t feel like it is. You will reap the rewards in 20 or so years! I absolutely adore you and your family. You are definitely on the right track!

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