A Note from Jenn: Selfishness IS self care and exploring what our heart needs most is a radical act of self love. Chandra Tucker shares great words about her own realization of exactly that. Read on!
When times get hard, and every source of comfort and love seems to be slipping away into that dark abyss it is truly challenging to cope. It is when the sound of nothingness becomes something which rattles your cage, deafening you and your ability to stop the mind-liquefying panic of what direction the next step should be in, with ultimatums and sacrifices in every direction. This is where I am sitting right now, at my cross-road, not ready to take a single step out of the crosshairs or turn my back on any path; in essence, too scared to lose something or someone from the avenues I am surrounded by.
Now, so many people become disheartened by opportunities which they do not see, or ones which when times are truly challenging are simply not there. Knowing I am surrounded by chances and new paths, having been blessed with hard lessons over the past few years, despite my current upset and dismay, I do feel blessed... but suddenly guilt as well. This concept sparked realization as I sat in the wee hours of the morning at a table with an older woman who once found herself at a similar intersection; it is the burden of guilt and fear of regret which has me stopped in my tracks. Guilt of not wanting to disappoint, hurt or lose anyone who I cherish so dearly.
This woman advised me to do something which may not seem odd to some, but was something which surprisingly shocked me. She told me that I needed to hold my heart in my hands and feel it for some time, learning what it genuinely wants and needs. To no longer listen to those outside forces in my life, but rather the one which radiated within myself. She told me not to move a muscle or set my sights on any of those paths until I let my fingers explore each curve, crack, edge and crevice of my own heart. She told me to listen to it, feel it, to finally do something which I needed, to ignore the panging of guilt which I will eventually have to teach myself how to subdue, but most importantly to be selfish for once.
Of course she did not mean ruthless, hoarding the last chocolate bar so no one else can have it, being blatantly hurtful or rude to get my own way, throwing elbows in the shopping centre to get the last pair of shoes kind of selfish, but rather not acting in everyone else’s best interest, instead doing what is in my own. She meant re-examining what my ultimate dreams are by wiping away the layered restrictions that others have painted onto them along the way and following that heart which I just so tenderly massaged for the first time in all of my existence. Honestly, I have never been provided with a more daunting task. Our conversation lasted over thirteen hours as she coached me through building the strength to embark on this new journey but as I walked out her front door at almost eight in the morning, with the brisk winter air greeting my cheeks, I decided that I was ready because if I didn’t do it now I would only begin to lose more of myself under the rock of guilt which has had me trapped for far too long already.
I am ready to embark on the journey of understanding myself beyond the layers of anxiety, sadness, guilt and confusion to find the root of who I am which is become buried under everything else. The map is staying in my fanny pack until I figure out what I need and then I know my cartographer skills will emerge when I design my own path, one which may be alone, scary and unfamiliar, but one which I know will lead me to what I have figured out I deserve. Her last remarks to me were that I have two feet which make footprints on this earth during my time here and they are mine to use and explore with, no one else’s so I must embark with them on my own journey, leaving my own mark in this realm during my short time here.
With this, I suggest that everyone take the time each day to hold their heart in their hands too and decide whether or not your feet and heart are traveling in synchronicity. If you discover that your soles and your soul are using two different maps, do not worry, I invite you on my journey. May we all follow our hearts and support each other in doing so. Remember, sometimes it is okay to be selfish when we are not doing justice to our own being. We all deserve to be happy by being true to ourselves.