I sit waiting for the tub to fill. My favorite Brazilian music is on iTunes radio, epsom salt flows through the warm water with hints of lavender, and my mind is inspired by Brené Brown’s writing, and overflowing with inspiration after seeing Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat.Pray.Love. Yeah, those two will make you sit and realize that s*** just got real.
So, I think, “Celina, what is it that you want?” That’s not a question I often ask myself. Questions usually revolve around what can I do for my kids, husband, others, my job, etc. Who is this woman you’re talking to? Really. Who am I?
Yeah, I’m sure people are like “really, Celina?” Yes, really. I get what I am. I’m a working mom who adores her kids, loving wife, a woman that would do anything for her family and friends.
Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW that I am incredibly blessed to be able to claim all the things I state above. Beyond blessed. See the thing is, women naturally tend to jump into the “let me do this for you” mode. We are nurturers. We are resourceful. We are problem solvers. I’m almost sure that a woman created the show MacGyvor. I mean, who can use a paper clip, sock, and a piece of thread in the most resourceful way to stop a kid in mid tantrum. Boom…sock puppet.
Ok, well you get what I’m saying. We can be thrown in a mix of madness and find a way to calm the storm (even if we feel we are falling a part at that very moment).
So, I finally sit in the tub and realize this has been the first time taking a bath in YEARS (fyi, I do shower). At that moment, when I should have allowed the warm water to consume all my thoughts, an emotion of sudden sadness came over me. “Geez, my body is so different now. If only I could just change this. When did those shrink? Will those marks ever lighten? Were my hips always this way?” I could keep going. Then my mind shifts. I remember to talk to myself as I expect my daughters to, which means being positive and to love the body I live in. “Be thankful Celina. Those shrank because they gave your beautiful little girls the nourishment they needed. Those stretch marks are reminders that your body made, housed, and loved two little human beings (that now walk around the house like they own it). Those hips that make your body look more womanly, are a reminder that your body transitioned to do something pretty extraordinary.”
I. Did. That.
Since becoming a wife and mother, I’ve dedicated my entire existence to my family. Recently, I decided to take a step that would further my commitment to help my family. I began to look for a job. I’d step away from the part time business I owned, the stay at home lifestyle, and do something I wasn’t so sure I knew any more. I did know something inside me was missing. I did know that my family needed me to work. I did know that I was very capable of doing this. Well, with God’s guidance (and a lot of searching), I found not just a job, but a job and company that I love. Then it happened. Like a gentle yet unavoidable slap in the face. I wasn’t just excited to help provide for my family, I was happy to do something FOR ME. That empowering feeling began a new way of thinking…the beginning of a different mindset.
The “it’s time to make yourself a priority” mindset. I recently watched, and fell in love with this video where Jada Pinkett Smith is talking to her daughter about how being a mother and wife is a great example of a paradox. She wrapped up my internal struggle perfectly in this conversation, and all within 6 minutes. She captured what I find most mothers/wives struggle with regularly. The shift from realizing that making ourselves a priority actually makes us that much better for the people who surround us. I suggest you watch this when you get the chance. It really did help me come to terms with letting the guilt go and allowing myself to accept that it’s ok to say “I need this for me.”
So as I sat in the bath and began to think about the four new numbers we all dissect and attach goals to, I realized that 2016 will be about establishing this new way of thinking. That I need to be ok with making ME a priority. It’s ok to give back to ME. It’s ok to take time for ME. If I want to join a women’s organization, start a book club, take a class on coding, etc. That. Is. OK. It’s ok to work towards being the best version of myself. What does that mean? For me, it’s finding what will continue to help drive my passion, my creativity, my motivation, my self-confidence, self-fulfillment…the thing that makes my light shine that much brighter.
Why? Because I deserve that. My family deserves that. The people around me will shine just as much as I do. Let me reflect everything I hope my daughters to be. To be a spouse/partner that my husband enjoys being around. That I leave behind putting expectations on others to make me happy, and finally own up to making myself happy. I need to be here for everyone else, but not at the expense of my well being or sanity.
That’s not being selfish, that’s being self aware. Aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with myself, and also for my other relationships to thrive.
I can’t and won’t expect others to fill my cup. They can add to it, but I need to own my story, own my happiness, and really be the maker of my joy.
So 2016, I don’t have resolutions (I’ve never really liked that word). I have realizations. I have understandings. I have real issues that I’m going to tackle. I’m going to find the best way to make myself an important part of the equation. I owe that to myself.
So here’s to ME.