It began when my "Dream Team" of healthcare providers, the Massage therapist, the Naturopath, and the Chiropractor, all made comments, independently of each other, regarding my gut, my center, my solar plexus chakra, or whatever you'd like to call my belly. I've known for a long time that my body and mind are intrinsically connected, and that when I feel physically unwell, my mind suffers as a result, and when I am worried (or, ahem, have CHRONIC stress), my body suffers. So it was no surprise to me to hear them all say that my belly is "weak."
But, what it means is a little more daunting.
My belly, the most vulnerable part of the body, the part a dog attacks on another dog when they intend to kill, the part that is quite literally at the center of the rest of the body, both a source of energy, but also a receiver or energy for and from the entire body- is weak. This center is associated with the core - a sense of self, in its most vulnerable and aware state. A proclamation to the rest of your body (and mind), and a foundation to build upon from the inside out.
And mine? Is weak.
Self esteem, individuality, self-worth, self confidence, personal authority, I am
When I asked the massage therapist what I could do to help this weak center, she replied, "You are doing all of the 'self-care' a person could be doing... but I just wonder... maybe the 'care' is there, but the 'self' is not. Perhaps you need to get back in touch with who you are, what you enjoy doing, find yourself, again."
Later that week, the chiropractor showed me how my spine was so extremely curvy that my center suffered as a result, and that she suspected I was the type of person who "leaned" and "bent" for others my whole life.
I had always considered myself to have a strong sense of self, a strong sense of right and wrong, and a strong sense of awareness. But hearing this, letting it sink in, and then embarking upon my existential "reflection," I had to admit that I had lost myself over these past 8 years or so. I spent a lot of time grasping for self-definition over the next few days, and it hit me all at once, like a hundred empty uteri:
I am a (childless) mother.
It's no wonder I have a difficult time recognizing my self, what with the parenthetical identity, and all. But it didn't take long, after my discovery, to realize that I knew this all along. I wasn't wrong about my sense of self, my sense of right and wrong, my sense of awareness - I have known that I was meant to be "A Good Mother" since the time I was in grade school, and I have known it all throughout my marriage, too. And, I have been just that. It was the strength that I lacked. The strength to actually admit to myself, and to others, that I identified myself as a mother. I mean, really, that would have to be some IMMENSE strength to be able to say, out loud... to people... with ears,... "I am a mother!" I do imagine the follow-up question would be along the lines of, "How many children do you have?" for which the reply would require not only massive strength, but massive testicles, "Oh... none!"
And so, instead, I have convinced others through the years that my SELF is someone else, a woman without children, content to be so, and while I'm at it, how can I help YOU to become what I secretly already identify myself as?
And somewhere along the way, I not only convinced everyone else... I convinced myself, too. And, I lost my self.
I'm not quite sure where I go from here. I'm not sure how to regain that strength of self, or how to nurture this oft-neglected identity. I do know that a good mother is born from a good wife, and have been truly committed to making my marriage healthy and fruitful. But I also know that I often feel resentful to be working so hard, 7 days per week, when I'd much rather be filling the role of Nurturer for our family - I do enjoy my job, but I would love to work because I want to, and not because I feel that I need to, and furthermore, because I have "no excuse" not to. My self has been stuffed away and hidden all of these years because I have assumed so many responsibilities that have not nurtured it. I need to regain a healthy balance.
But I'm not sure how.