I’m ignoring something. I’d consider it the biggest step I need to take in my life right now, after the divorce.
The volunteer I work do is not good for me. Over the years, more responsibilities have crept up, official and unofficial, on and off-site of the facility. It’s too much.
I’m not blaming anyone but myself. I love to be needed. I am a caregiver. And the work I do not only cares for the animals, but for the other volunteers whom I consider family. I am always willing to consider a heavier load if it means someone I love can stand a little straighter and wipe their brow in relief.
But there is too much load to go around. I pile more and more on my crippled back, and the people I want to see stretch and smile and joke just pick up another, heavier load to tote around themselves.
I don’t miss the people or the animals until I walk in the door. My entire drive there I think about how normal people don’t work such an insane schedule.
Then, I am there and caring for the animals and people and I scold myself for ever thinking I could leave.
All of that is subjective. My emotions, my guilt, it’s my perception of the situation. On top of that is a raw fact that I have been ignoring.
I volunteered yesterday morning. An hour into it, the right side of my back was spasming. By the afternoon, I could not sit still to watch “Finding Nemo”. I took a painkiller for the first time in two weeks. And the pain did not go away. Now I’m sitting here, 700 NaNo words behind with a huge to-do list on the counter top, and I’m still in so much pain I cringe at the idea of picking up a cup.
If I were good at listening to my body, I would have left my husband a long time ago. It was telling me I wasn’t happy long before I took that vacation and felt that twinkle in my smile and said out loud, “Oh! THIS is who I am!”
My body has been screaming at me to quit for over a year. It begs for time to heal, relax. I beat myself up for beating myself up, but continue on. I can’t believe that there’s not a compromise here. Surely if I just twist this way, or only carry the buckets in this hand, or take a five minute break and use an ice pack…
No. Nothing has changed the fact that I am causing myself pain.
But if I quit, how will I be important and special? Caring for the animals makes me different. Without it, I’m just some woman who lives alone and works a job she dislikes.
I’ve been struggling with this for a few months now. I’m trying to learn how to be good to myself. Really I am. I hope I learn soon.