As I write this, it’s 4:45 pm on Friday evening. It is Valentine’s Day. I’m alone with my cats and drinking my second glass of wine. I’ve just ordered Chinese food for dinner and I know I’ve ordered far too much of it. I can’t wait.
I don’t know what to claim as an achievement today, though.
Thus, instead of spending today luxuriating at home, I spent it in meetings and communicating directions to everyone on our team.
I was a mess all day, though. It was awful. I was unable to hold back tears whenever there was a moment away from the frenzy. My eyes were red and my face was puffy during all interactions, and it was probably very clear that holding myself together was proving challenging.
The disappointment of not being able to celebrate myself when I had been looking forward to it so much, on top of the rush of horrible memories from all the Valentine’s Days spent with the Narcissist, caught up with me and overwhelmed me. The tears would not stop.
It’s hardly the first time I’ve had a day full of tears while at work. There were many during the first year or so after the breakup. Folks I work with are relatively used to it. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a day like that, though.
Everyone on my team is always very kind about it, but I always find myself wishing I could keep my emotions bottled up until I was at home. Sadly, sometimes we humans are not always capable of that.
Sometime late in the morning, someone knocked on my office door but nobody entered when I said, “come in.” I was immersed in a task and didn’t think much of it, but a little while later someone not on my team messaged me to tell me there was something sitting in the hall right outside my office door. They wanted me to be careful not to accidentally step on it.
As I said above, I was a mess today. People noticed. And one person — I know not who — did something incredibly kind to try to make me feel better. They bought me a little mini-cheesecake and a card, and wrote in it, “You are loved. Be kind to yourself.”
I will be forever grateful to them, whoever they may be. Of course, the sweetness of the gesture brought on another avalanche of tears, but they were happy tears.
I ducked out of work as early as I could today. One of the key players on our team happens to be in India right now. The time difference meant only so much could be hashed out before she needed some sleep.
When I wake tomorrow there will be feedback from her and plenty more to do. For tonight, though, there is nothing else that needs my attention.
I am spending the afternoon and evening doing all the things I know I shouldn’t, all the things that weaken me and that the Nothing loves. I am drinking alcohol. I am watching a ton of TV. I am eating food that won’t make me feel awesome and I am eating far too much of it. I am avoiding Anything.
Frankly, I’m too exhausted by emotion to even consider doing Anything. I vow to myself, though, that tomorrow I will go back to avoiding Nothing like the plague that it is.
For now, I’m still stuck trying to figure out what to consider an achievement for today. I suppose it’s that, in the face of extreme work stress and emotional duress, I did some damn fine work today. The project is being managed well. The tasks and anticipated timelines are clearly delineated. Everybody knows exactly what they’re supposed to be doing.
Those are things to be proud of.
But also, and perhaps of more emotional importance to me right now, I am loved, and I know how to be kind to myself. I don’t think I understood what being kind to myself meant until recently, and I’m proud that I am starting to understand it better.
Being kind to myself means honoring myself with a decently managed household; one that’s relatively tidy and that has a budget that’s somewhat in control.
It is remembering to shower daily and feed myself healthy, nourishing food several times a day.
It’s moving my body and keeping myself stretched and strong.
That is being kind to myself. That is self-love. And I deserve all of it.
Today, I am too tired to engage in the kindness I know I deserve. Instead, I am wallowing and enjoying the hell out of it.
Tomorrow, though, I will treat myself as someone who is loved, and I will be kinder to myself.