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Travel Post 4: I pretty much lost my shit (or why self-care is vital).

February 13, 2014

This is about how I pretty much  lost my shit.

In just a few days, my little company turns two years old. So strange. I can’t remember what life was like BS (before Stark). Or before I had a baby. Or before I met my husband, for that matter. Even though all those things? Individually, doesn’t even add up to 8 years total! I really can’t get over the idea of time. You think you kind of get how long an hour, a day, a week, a year feels, and then things like hitting 30, being a mom and/or launching a business happens. Then you realize that you had no idea what time was before. Or if you did “get it” at some point? It’s different now. Just as I’m sure it will be and feel different in a few years time.

I’m doubly or triply feeling that weird time thing these days. I’m 2/3 into a 3 month long trip with my baby and husband, and it feels like I’ve been away from home forever. As much as I’m enjoying this time (guess who just ate a delicious coconut gelato for dinner while strolling the cobbled streets of Rome? THIS GUY.) I’m also getting completely run down. No, that’s putting it mildly. I’ve also had episodes of being a complete stressed-out and slightly crazed feral cat-person-thing. I’ve been exhausted and pretty miserable. Not all the time, thank Jupiter, but enough to be, you know, noticing. And I think I know why. Why? Because I haven’t really been taking care of myself (see previous parenthetical statement as evidence…gelato for dinner. What would my mom think?).

Apparently extended travel with a baby isn’t all that relaxing. Huh. Who knew? It’s pretty easy to put yourself really low on the priorities list, and sooner or later, something’s gonna give. Travel isn’t always easy. Or even enjoyable. We’ve had days when we’re weren’t prepared to be out so long. We’ve gotten lost. We’ve forgotten to eat (well, at least the baby remembered to eat, and my boobs are always available.). We’ve gotten wet and one of us had a poopy diaper and we didn’t realize because he’s actually quite potty trained (not naming names). We got annoyed with one another over dumb crap because you’re so mopey when you don’t get enough time online will you just enjoy this architecture already?, and other modern problems. Our bed isn’t awesome, we’re sleep training the baby AND the shower is tiny. I’m tired, and can’t just take a bath with an entire bottle of wine. I miss my cats. Wah. It’s like, I’m not unwinding, people! *grinds teeth* And so, enter feral-cat-person-thing. Not pretty. Then? Worst of all? I feel SO GUILTY because I’ve basically worked 2 years for this, I have lived ultra-frugally to fulfill this dream Adri and I had of wintering. And here I am not feeling so great. Ugh.

Anyhow, I looked at myself in the mirror the other day and whoa. My hair was fuzzy. My eyebrows were unruly. My skin looked like it felt sad. I looked exhausted and one eye was really bloodshot. My feet were full of BandAids (I didn’t see those in the mirror, but they were near the floor that I glanced at in self-defeat). I felt like howling at the moon and raiding some trashcans and possibly swinging from some clotheslines. You know. Feral stuff. Let it be known that I generally find this to be unacceptable, and so you know what I did? I took a walk in the sunshine by myself (there hasn’t been much of that in Italy these days, lemmetellya). I had a cappuccino at the bar, which I ordered in my imperfect Italian. I did yoga. I signed up for an online course I wanted to take. I bought a new pair of boots because I actually needed them and they are SO cute. I wore lipstick. I got the baby a toy for the joy of watching him play with something new. I read a really dumb romance novel and laughed and loved it, and ate cuore ciocollato, and didn’t save any for my husband (oops). I gave said chocolate-less husband extra hugs and kisses. I treated myself.

Because, yeah, ok maybe I’m basically on vacation and the whole damn winter is a treat, but sometimes? Mama just needs to actually take care of herself first, screw seeing those historical sites/emails today.

I know we can all relate to this, whether you divide your time between school and a job, babies, teenaged kids, pets, teenaged pets, loved ones, illness, travel, sports…whatever it may be, life gets in the way, as they say, and sometimes you forget to date yourself a little, and let yourself be spoiled. By you. (Hmm…on that note, anybody here really celebrate Valentines day? Because we don’t. Is that weird?) That’s why I want to give you a major high-five if you’ve ever bought from Stark. Or if you’ve treated yourself to high-quality cosmetics before. Or if you’ve ever bought skincare of any kind, ever (I assume you have.) Because you’re actually sending out a signal to your brain (and heart) that you are taking care of yourself. That this is for you. Your skin. Your time to yourself to use a product you enjoy, that you love the smell and feel of, that you choose to use because it nourishes you in a way that matters to you. Hell, you just like it. It’s important to you. And that’s valid.

It’s so easy to fall into a cycle of not prioritizing yourself or your needs (or wants!), and that never works out in the long run. Why? Because you’re not being true to yourself. Saying no to yourself once in a while is fine (and needed, in some cases.) But constantly? Sucks. And sucks the life out of you. I felt guilty for being tired and being on “vacation”. But not anymore. I feel how I feel, and that’s important to me, so I have to react to it. Ignoring my feelings because they are inconvenient isn’t going to work. There.