What a beautiful day it was yesterday, here in southern Ontario. I don't know what the weather was like where you live but for us the sun was shining and the breeze was lovely and warm (what a change from a few months back when we were digging ourselves out from a few feet of snow!). I took a cup of tea and sat in my back garden, put my face to the sun and just drank it in. As I sat there it occurred to me that this was a real luxury.
If you have read any of my blogs you know that I have a thing for tea and sunshine. Actually, if you are anything like me you might understand what that is actually all about. You see, it's not that I am a tea fanatic (although I really do enjoy a cup now and then) and it's also not about wanting to get a tan, it's about what the combination has come to mean for me. A cup of tea and a lawn chair in the sun is about me giving myself permission to enjoy myself for a while. It is about me putting myself before the dishes or the laundry or the rest of the mess that seems to accumulate - and it is something that I have only just learned to do.
I lived for years thinking that I was the worst house-keeper around. My floors were never clean enough, the kitchen drawers were a mess and I shuddered at the thought of anyone looking at my baseboards. Sound ridiculous? Actually it was. Sure my floors got dirty and the laundry piled up but show me a home with a busy family that doesn't get that way! I couldn't see that - I lived with the conviction that I wasn't good enough, that other moms had this all down and that I was the big disappointment. My husband actually used to tell me that I had deceived him into thinking that I was a good housekeeper (among other things). He used to tell me that he wouldn't have married me if he had known what I was really like. Ouch. Actually more than ouch, those comments went deep, kind of knife- to -the -chest deep.
Part of the really isolating thing about living with Domestic Violence is that you take a lot of this stuff in and swallow it down. I heard it enough that I believed him. I believed that I was a disappointment and I began to believe that I had deceived him. I used to think and think, trying to remember if I had told him that I was great at things, knowing that I wasn't. Deep down I knew this to be untrue but DV has a terrible way of messing with your head..you begin to wonder if you are losing it, you stop trusting your convictions and you end up even questioning your mental health. It's like some women I know who were told over and over again that they were'nt any good in bed, that they were a disappointment and that they had deceived their partners into thinking that they liked having sex when 'obviously' they didn't. These types of comments go right to the core. There are a lot of factors that can affect our desire or lack of desire to have sexual intimacy, not the least of which is depression. Show me a woman who is repeatedly told that she is a disappointment to her partner and I would wager she struggles with feeling sad. Show me a woman who feels sad long enough and ...yup, depression.
If this is hitting a bit of a nerve with you then it should be encouraging for you to know the following: a clinical depression causes real changes in how your body functions; the brain chemical Seratonin isn't at the level that it should be and as a result you might have problems with thinking clearly, sleeping and feeling in control of your emotions. Your body will know what it needs to focus on and guess what it won't have time for ? yup, sex. So good news! You aren't a failure, you are depressed and there's help for that. See a doctor for more information,
So yes, me and the sun...(how I digress). I love giving myself permission to sit for a while and rest, to know that I do not have to rush and get the house to some state of near perfection ( not that it was ever good enough anyways). I left an abusive relationship two and a half years ago and every day it seems I am learning to understand the shadow that I was under. To be able to sit with a cup of tea and feel that I deserve to is a luxury, it is new for me to feel that kind of good about myself and I like it. Besides, who has clean kitchen drawers anyways?by