to my friend

I’ve been wanting to write about this for weeks. For more than a month! [But I don’t want to betray her confidence or the confidentiality of her situation.]

I have a friend. She’s going through so much. Her daughter is sixteen and pregnant. The exact same age I was when I was pregnant. Her daughter is rejecting all the teachings of her life. Exactly the same thing I did at that age. Her daughter is striking out at her and hurting her. Exactly the same thing I did to my parents when they found out. Her daughter is doing s.t.u.p.i.d. Adding stupid on top of stupid. Exactly the same thing I did.

She is feeling exquisite pain and sorrow over her daughter’s choices.

And she is taking it out on herself. She isn’t taking care of her body and her spirit, her emotions and her psyche. She’s beating herself up. What could I have done differently? What did I fail to teach her? Why wasn’t I there for her? Why did I take a second job? Why didn’t she trust me enough to talk to me? Why is she doing this? Why is she pushing me away? Why is she abandoning everything important in this life?

I just want to scream. Scream for my friend who is hurting and keeping everything in and letting it destroy her health. I just want to say “Let go.” You can’t change this right now. You can pray, you can cry, you can study. But you can’t change it. So let go.

Take care of YOU! [This from Feed Your Soul by Ganeen Roth]

Think about this: Do you feel it is right to put yourself at the center of your own life, or is your secret fear that if you consider your own needs, you’ll alienate the people you love and end up homeless, rifling through old chicken bones in a dark alley? Are you afraid that a “me first” attitude will get you drummed out of the “good people” club?

Most of us secretly believe that good people, especially women, take care of others first. They wait until everyone else has a plateful and then take what’s left. Unfortunately, most of us make decisions based on our ideas of who we think we should be, not on who we actually are. The problem is, when we make choices based on an ideal image of ourselves — what a good friend would do, what a good mother would do, what a good wife would do — we end up having to take care of ourselves in another way.

Enter food. When you don’t consider your real needs, you will likely fill the leftover emotional hunger with food. (Or another abused substance. Or shopping. But most of us opt for food.) You eat in secret. You eat treats whenever you can, because food is the one way, the only way, you nourish yourself. You eat on the run because you believe that you shouldn’t take time for lunch; there’s too much work to do. You eat the éclair, the doughnut, the cake, all the while knowing this isn’t really taking care of yourself. But to really take care of yourself, you have to think of yourself first.

“Is that possible?” you ask. “What about my children? I’d die for them.” Have you ever considered why, on an airplane, the flight attendant tells you to put on your own oxygen mask first, before you help your children? It’s because your kids’ well-being depends on it. If you aren’t grounded, present, calm, and able to breathe, there is no one to take care of them.

What would your life look like if you acknowledged the truth that working nonstop for 10 hours, taking care of other people, leaves you so spent and weary that there really isn’t much left of you for your family, let alone yourself? What would your life look like if you realized that you need to set aside time every day to fill yourself up — even if it’s only by taking a few 15-minute breaks during which you stare at nothing or go outside or lie down? What would your life look like if you took care of your own health first and loved everything about your body? What would your life look like if you only allowed healthy, nutritional, renewing foods in your home? What would the pace and quality of your life be if you went on “soul time” instead of clock time, even just a little?

Please take care of you. The rest will take care of itself. Either she will keep the baby or she won’t. Either she will place with someone you approve of or she won’t. Either they will get married or they won’t. But whatever she decides, you will be able to handle it better if you are healthy, strong, peaceful, balanced, full of faith, eating healthy food, thinking well of yourself.

I hate to see you l like this because YOU were the inspiration and strength I needed a while ago when I was struggling! You had it all together then and you felt so good! You encouraged me. You said, just get through a day, then two. I wanted to be just like you!

Now I’m giving your very own advice back to you. Please listen.

Blessings. Take care!