You've had days, maybe even weeks, where you've put off taking care of yourself.
Someone in your family needed you. The extra vet appointments and the trips to the compounding pharmacy. The special store for the special food. The clever ways of disguising medication. The softest, warmest places to rest. The help getting up and getting around.
You have been due to see your dentist and get a haircut. Take a vacation. Exercise. Eat well.
You skimp on those things because you reason someone else needs you more. That if you can just get through this next rough patch, then you can relax a bit and care for yourself.
We both know it doesn't work that way.
If I were sitting beside you right now, I'd tell you that it is a good thing for you to schedule that haircut, and visiting the dentist is definitely essential. You can make the time to prepare food for yourself that is nourishing rather than scarfing down what is easiest, making yourself available to serve others.
I could be sitting down with myself having this same conversation. I am this person, too. I started seeing it show up in my art, of all places, and realized that one of the things I could do was to create things because I felt like creating them. Because they were interesting to me.
Like this elephant.
I am fascinated by these creatures. Their social structure and families. Their wisdom. Their memories for landscapes and seasons that help them navigate. Their care for one another.
I felt like I needed a reminder that someone, somewhere sees me and gets me. Someone knows when to call me on my stuff and when I need gentle encouragement. Someone who tells me that it's okay to make time for the things I want to do, even if that means I have less time available to give to others.
I've been working on her for weeks in little bits at a time, and now that she's ready, I definitely see that the effort was worth it.
So this is your reminder to take care of yourself and that someone, somewhere sees you. <3
I'm Shannon, and I love and am loved by four Great Danes, four cats, and one horse (four Danes, one cat, and one horse are no longer walking this earth). Here I'll share stories of my adventures in grief photography for companion animals, my own grief journey, and thoughts on caregiving.