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Monday, February 14, 2011

Maria K

Dear Maria,

You need to take it easier on yourself. I don't think you realize sometimes all the stuff that you managed to get yourself through, and you definitely do not always realize that rewarding yourself is not a crime.

You became the head of your household when you were fourteen, when your mom lost her battle with bone tumor after you and the rest of the family all took turns taking care of her. How many fourteen year-olds are there who learned how to sterilize and use a syringe before they played their first computer game?

You became the family matriarch at sixteen, after the sudden death of your beloved aunt. When other sixteen year-olds were dating and shopping, your time was split between school, living up to everyone's expectations, and providing comfort and support to your father and your grandparents.

You moved across the damn Atlantic at the age of nineteen, with one old suitcase, one duffel bag and $300 in your pocket. Normal kids only contemplate dorm existence and washing machine settings at that age.

Yes, there were some bad experiences and bad decisions. You do realize, however, that you didn't do anything outrageous or irresponsible whatsoever during your teenage years, don't you? So, you sort of packed about ten year's worth of stupid shit into your early twenties.

Mental illness, psychological and physical abuse, two miscarriages, genetic disorder... You bounced back over and over, forgetting that the "bouncing" part did not have to be instantaneous. You expected of yourself what you thought others were expecting of you. It would have been ok to take some time, to not be Ms. Sunshine for fear of upsetting others, to admit that you were not a pillar of steel, but you just kept on keeping on.

You realized that your self-image was down the toilet, and taught yourself how to get it out of there and restore it. You have learned to look at yourself in the mirror and see and say things that were positive. When your health took a plunge, you dragged yourself up by the bootstraps and started taking yourself to the gym every week.

So, after you have done all that, can you take one more step? Can you admit that you cannot be responsible for the fates of the world 24/7? Can you KNOW - not just in your rational mind but intuitively as well - that resting, relaxing and taking time to be sick, when you are sick is not a weakness. It's just plain common sense. Your mind, body and soul all went through some very difficult things, and you cannot expect them all to keep going, unless you give them time to rebuild.

You have learned to rebuild yourself, to reinvent yourself and even to like yourself.  But we do all those things for inanimate objects too - like our houses and our cars. You are a person with such tremendous capacity to love other living beings: men, women, children, dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, etc. Can you include one more individual in that group - yourself? Come on, you are only thirty-six - people live over a hundred these days, so you have two thirds of your life ahead of you. Wouldn't it be so much more fun to spend all that time having yourself among your favorite people?

Love you, kid! Have a chocolate.

Maria K. 


Anonymous said...

So often we forget that the "bounce" isn't instant...

Maria K. said...

Aimee, just to give you an idea: this time last year, my immune system had virtually shut itself down. I picked up every sneeze within the 10-mile radius and was sick non-stop for about two and a half months straight. AT THE SAME TIME, I was still working 60 hours a week at my regular job, maintaining my house, writing, translating, running my on-line store and participating in art shows in the tri-county area. When I went for a physical last March, my doctor told me he could not possibly do my bloodwork, because of all the medications I was taking. Talk about a wake-up call!

Ladies, I urge you, pretty please with a cherry on top, do NOT do this to yourselves! Sometimes, the "to do" list needs to give way to the "to you" list.

Veronica said...

wow! LOVED it girl! you are definitely a woman to admire and I love that you realize that and own it! because it is yours at the end.... :)
Thanks for this!

Iman Woods Creative said...

You are SO stinking beautiful.. inside and out... And a talented writer... and a gifted artist... It's not fair! ;)

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