I have always been different from those around me. I noticed early on that I had to deal with it because I had to be “Normal” to fit in and be like the others.
If I could time travel, I might have told myself to let that thought go slightly. A tiny bit, as it also made me who I am now.
But yeah, being normal was all I wanted. Be like the girls in my class, be liked by the boys in my class. I also had the drive to be me as well. To own who I was or who I wanted to be.
So I started to develop tricks and masks to cope with myself and those around me. I never knew I had started to build my Toolbox (thank you, Deborah, for naming it that way). A way to handle all that happened around me and in my mind and body.
My absolute number one Toolbox trick I have is reading. I started reading as soon as possible and read the Harry Potter books after my mom finished reading them. I was, I think, around seven years when the first one came out, and I might have started reading it when I was ten or maybe eleven. I have no clue, as we had to wait for the translated version, and I think that came out when I was eight.
I never stopped reading; it was my lifeline, my way of coping with the world around me that I never understood.
I think that was the only tool in my Toolbox at that point. When things became too much, I redrew myself and read books as much as possible. Thanks to e-readers which made it a lot easier to read even more. It helped me relax, as those words written on paper were words. I didn’t need to read between the lines or watch body language. Everything on that piece of paper in that book was set. Which gave me rest, and I could recharge.
There were other ways to relax and recharge when I didn’t want to read or even couldn’t find a good book. I played video games, anything fun and predictable, like The Sims, where I could decide what would happen.
Over the years, I might have put in a few more tools in the Toolbox, some I might not even know as they are natural to me.
But I have a few that I know for sure are tools that I have added before AJ and now.
The second biggest one is a cup of tea. I swear I was not too fond of tea until three years ago. Now I can’t seem to live without my cup. Tea helps me find a moment to relax and take a breath, and it calms my mind, which is helpful in a stressful moment. Tea does make my day better if I drink a cup, especially when I can enjoy it in (somewhat) peace. Then yes, it will recharge me and make my day better.
Then there is taking time for myself, like going out to my favorite beauty saloon to have an hour of my time and being pampered. Or having a nice glass of wine and watching the movie I had wanted to see for days, just picking something I want to do. It’s good to have those moments and control what comes.
And when days or weeks or even months are burdensome on my senses, I clear my schedule to have an “Everything goes; nothing has to” day. That is the day I do anything I want. If it is working, fine, I get some work done. Does it mean I want to watch TV the whole day? I watch TV. I can do whatever I want as long as it makes me relaxed, happy, and recharged. And the essential part of that day is that I can’t feel guilty about not doing the dishes, cleaning the house, or doing whatever I should have been doing. I need to accept that I need to recharge. Because going on while I feel out of balance gives me only mo trouble and a more extended period of recovering from that.
My last tool in my Toolbox is knowing when I need help and when I can’t do it myself. That might be the most important one in there. When I feel stuck and I can’t see a solution. Reading hasn’t helped, and having a day off hasn’t helped. Then I need to look further. Find the other perspective of what’s bothering me and ask for help. If that’s from my husband, friends, family, or a psychologist, I do not care if I get that other perspective or the questions/conversations that make me think.
I am not ashamed of asking for help.
I am not.
I am not ashamed of asking for help. I believe that asking for help isn’t weak, stupid, or any other negative word you could give. Knowing you can’t find a way out for yourself and asking someone to help you is the strongest thing you can do. Because you are vulnerable when you ask that question, you give in to the fact that you are stuck. BUT you also say to yourself, NO LONGER. You are ready to face whatever you need, and you asked for help because you are strong and prepared to knock that wall down and move forward.
Those tools help me and as I said before, there are others too. Like having a schedule, and knowing what might come in a day. But also accepting that I can’t control everything and letting go.
Then there’s trying out new things, stepping out of my comfort zone to find out if I like that new thing or not. If not then I know that, if I do or it works for me then yay go me!
Is there a tool you use to recharge and get back to who you are in your daily life?