A Note to Myself for You to Read

Don’t Let the Monkey Bring You Down

Every day I DON’T want to go to my exercise class, and then every day I’m so glad I did.  Hot, sweaty, and sticky, and I still feel better than when I walked into the class!  This is what I’m retraining my monkey mind to default to, to remember.  I woke up this morning and every single joint in my body hurt.  It’s so easy to just live in THAT moment.

My biggest fear is that my body will be so worn out from constantly fighting itself with this lupus that I won’t be here to see my 60’s.  I’m not complaining; I’m really reminding myself what’s the most important between struggling with lupus and doing what I MUST do to be here in 10 years and BEYOND.  No one likes hearing the “bad” stuff on Facebook about our lives.  But I’m here to tell you that you can MAKE the bad stuff something to learn from and make it something to look BACK on.

I was an athlete once.  I still have the heart and mind of one, and of a competitor.  It’s been SO hard not being able to do the things I once did – and not all that long ago.  So I’m declaring that I’m in a race that isn’t over until I say so… which isn’t one of the options.

Probably the hardest part about it is the constant pain and fatigue, of course.  The second is the brain fog… I sound like an Alzheimer’s patient sometimes.  The third is dealing with people not believing me or making up things about me when I can’t follow through on something, can’t finish something, or just plain can’t move.  And you’d be surprised (maybe) from whom some of the criticism comes. Sometimes it’s direct, but more often it’s subtle, behind my back, or I can just feel it from some.

I have been mindful of my self-chatter – the talk that no one else hears but me.  It can be a dangerous thing.  I’ve been practicing being mindful of what I say to myself as we’re doing the various exercises and stretches in class.  Sometimes I’m really hard on myself (You should be able to do this!); other times something might just be so hard to do (My arms are killing me!); and then there’s old faithful (You’re one of the youngest ones here! You should be smokin’ these old ladies!).  Yeah, I do that to myself, and I’ll bet most of you do something similar.  So I’m working on being kinder to myself, focusing more on the result I want instead of the momentary discomfort, and very importantly, making sure I’m listening to my body when it REALLY is time to stop or rest.  Sometimes the competitor in me doesn’t want to hear it.

So… whatever it is you need to do to have a life worth waking up to every day, make that MORE IMPORTANT than the woe-is-me chatter in your mind, the self-defeating talk, the achy joints, the extra plate of food, and certainly more important than whatEVER the haters and naysayers (who don’t live in your skin, by the way) EVER have to say!