Long weekend. I slept in this morning. Enjoyed coffee with my Traveling Partner. Cooked a simple breakfast for the two of us to start our day on. He’s in the shop working. I’m… shopping? Running errands? Doing a bit of housekeeping? Finishing some chore left half-completed? Loitering in the living room hoping to hang out with my partner when he takes a break? The day started to develop down that commonplace path, in spite of having taken the day off (and planned the long weekend) with the intention of spending a major portion of that time enjoying creative time in my studio. A fairly typical outcome for me; I’ve got priors. lol I really do need this time for myself, spent creatively, and yes, also spent entirely in my own head, with my own thoughts, focused on my own needs and agenda. I don’t think I’m unusual that I struggle to follow through on time for myself and my own needs. It’s a pretty ordinary challenge for a lot of people (perhaps especially women, but certainly not exclusively women).

So, today I “held my ground” (with myself) and pulled my focus back to creative endeavors after breakfast. Well, after the breakfast dishes were done, and I’d updated a shopping list for later. Okay, and also after finishing a project I’d left sort of dangling. And, yes, also after I got a quick trip to the store out of the way. LOL See what I mean? This is a tough one for me. Self-care is often most difficult for people who most earnestly need to invest time in their self-care… which makes a lot of sense, if I consider that the reason some of us have this earnest heartfelt unmet need is 100% due to the lack of fulfilling it in the first place, rather chronically. I can do better. I need that from myself.

So, I made my second coffee and headed to the studio. Started up my computer, and loaded a file in which I keep a variety of inspiring images, and items that are likely to “tickle my imagination” and become new work. The slideshow slowly progresses on the monitor to my left, while I write. In the background, I hear my partner handling business with a customer on the phone. It “feels like home”. I breathe in and feel the sense of safety and security of “home”. I breathe out, smiling. It’s a nice place to find myself in life. “This too shall pass…” my anxiety ominously whispers in my head. I just laugh silently; I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, and count myself fortunate to enjoy it at all. The future is an unknown, I remind my anxiety, and I’m okay with that.

I sip my coffee and consider the blank canvas in front of me, and the images in the slideshow. Most of these images are appealing landscapes (mostly my own photography), colorful sunrises and sunsets, and bold flowers shot very close up, filling the screen with silky texture, interesting shadows, and brilliant color. I consider that thematically. Seems like I want to be painting landscapes more than abstraction, presently. I continue to drink my coffee contentedly. Is this “where I’m at” presently?

…My Traveling Partner sticks his head in the open door of my studio to share words about work. I listen, staying engaged and present. I don’t count it as a distraction; my door is still open, by intent. I’ll close the door when it comes time to focus, when I know I’ll want to be left entirely alone with myself. In spite of how badly I know I need that time, I’m also aware that my partner values my presence, and that “feeling rejected” entirely sucks, especially if that feeling is conveyed by someone we love. Finding balance between the shared connected time he (and we) need with the alone time that I need to be mentally well has one very important requirement; I have to make (and take) the time I need. There is a “sweet spot”… but actually doing the verbs is on me.

Self-care is so often almost comedic in its difficulties. I’m the one person I can also count on to be right here with me… and the one person who also knows precisely what I do actually want and need most. Counting on anyone else to ensure my needs are met, with those two details in mind, is… a bit crazy. So… I’ve given up on that. It’s lovely when my Traveling Partner meets needs I have. It’s splendid when my work environment and job meet some of my actual needs. Same with friends, with family, with circumstances… it’s wonderful when needs are met through happenstance or healthy relationships or mutual support, but… learning to count on myself to meet my own fucking self-care needs? That has had soooo much value (and so much less “crazy” to it). It’s too easy to be frustrated when some Other does not meet my needs… but it’s exceptionally foolish to expect them to in the first place.

So. Here I sit. Images and inspiration filling my thoughts, as I prepare for a day in the studio. It’s lovely. I’m glad I made the time – I need this for myself to feel entirely well and whole and complete. I’m even more appreciative that having made the time, I’m also taking the time, to do the verbs. Needs met? Looks that way…

…It’s time to begin (again).