(15) intentional self neglect.

I am afraid I will come out of this summer, arriving at the long-awaited completion date of September 14th, and realize that I actually went about this poorly. When I take the time to think about it, I am pretty sure that all of life will continue to be fraught with busyness, with big projects, with powerful emotions, with intense deadlines. I have handled all of that one way this summer, but I probably would do well to l learn another way for the future. Like the future…as in tomorrow, the next day, next week, etc.

Intentional self-neglect. I know better than this. I know how to care for myself. At least, most of the time, I know how to care for my self, my soul. Sometimes my powerful internal unrest eludes even my own fragile attempts at self-caring, though. Add to that powerful internal unrest the crushing deadline of this labor-intensive online course, the threat of yet another financial expense (to extend my deadline to finish the course), not to mention the ongoing stress of personal/marital finances…and I simply chose to neglect my self, my soul, in the interest of simply finishing. the. (damn). course.

All that remains is the final, which I will grind out today and tomorrow. Then the waiting, breathless hoping that I will pass it the first time (please God).

And yesterday I sat on the kitchen floor with tears in my eyes, overwhelming chaos of emotion threatening to spill over the carefully-built dam that has kept me functioning all summer long. August has been the worst. At least in June and July, I was still journaling a bit, still blogging a bit, still feeding myself somewhat regularly. In August, I worked on my class. When my sister came to visit mid-month, a tiny incident sparked a flood of tears and a frightening wave of questions, doubts, terrifying emotions. We had a good conversation, then I put it all away to continue working. I told my friends I would hang out again in September. I postponed dates with my husband until after September 14th. I told a friend I would do a slideshow for her wedding and I finished it the day before her wedding, managing to put aside my own conflicted inner life to celebrate with her for a weekend. I lost 7 pounds, I think just because I wasn’t taking the time to feed myself regularly.

How is one supposed to manage and experience the life of one’s soul within the context of everyday chaos and busyness? I’m almost done with this class, thank God. But what about when life gets busy again? Will I shut my heart up into a tiny icebox every time I’m assaulted with overwhelming life events and situations? Not only does that sound unhealthy, but I’m realizing that I will now need to face the aftermath of that decision. At some point in the near future, I will probably fall to pieces and tears, feeling all the unfelt emotions of the last month plus some.

I am not really sure how to do this better today, tomorrow, next week. But I hope I figure out alternatives to this path of self-neglect again. And now for the hard work (also not sure how this will take shape) of nurturing my soul and processing this summer as I enter this new season of fall.

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