Selfish is such a dirty word. We are taught, as young girls, that SELFISH is something you should definitely not be.
And then we grow up.
We give ourselves to school. We give ourselves to our friends. We give ourselves to our boyfriends. We give ourselves to our husbands.
OK, occasionally, we get our nails done or we go for a pedicure or a girls’ lunch, but when do we give ourselves to OURSELVES? When does that EVER happen?
Have you ever spent an hour, sitting quietly, cross-legged, all by yourself, asking “WHO AM I?” I will tell you, it’s an interesting hour. I had no idea what I would discover and, frankly, I thought I would discover that it was a waste of precious time. But, I was wrong.
I discovered that I am peaceful. I think about all kinds of things that have no relation to making money or to forwarding my career or to any result whatsoever. I discovered so many things: I am absurdly curious about the people of the Polynesian Islands. I would like to be more fluent in French. I really like to run as fast as I can until I can’t catch my breath. Sometimes, I worry I should go to South America, just to see the Mayan ruins before something unforeseen happens. I love pounding Natalie Merchant songs on the piano until I’m sweaty. I wonder about people who live in apartments in midtown Manhattan for 40 years, and have sitting rooms and drawing rooms and ballrooms . . . and do they throw balls? I hate long fingernails. I love soft, silky pajamas and fuzzy, oversized sweaters and I love strawberries at their peak. I love Joss Stone and anything James Taylor wants to sing. I get all furry when I listen to a deep, rhythmic bassline. And I like to drive really fast and take corners on the accelerator. Hmmm. That’s who I am. When I’m not taking care of anyone except myself, that’s who I am.
Most women I know never allow themselves a moment, let alone an hour, to breathe and ask the questions they need to ask. But, until we find ourselves, we are unable to show our girls how to be whole. It’s scientifically impossible. Our girls do what we do. If we neglect ourselves . . . guess what? We are their ultimate. When my four year old and I put on our matching aprons and start making pancakes, she says “Look at me! I’m just like you, mommy!” She wants to BE me. And that’s a beautiful reminder to me to be the kind of woman I’d like her to be.