My situation has significantly changed over the course of the last couple of years. See previous post “Leaving Your Shell Behind”. A once ‘important’ HR Manager, with over 12 direct reports, making money that I would honestly not know what to do with now, to a budding personal trainer, weight loss champion with much more road to tread, trying to get enough in the bank to make my car payments, let’s say every facet of life has changed with my new way of living.
It may have been just weight I lost, strength I gained and a corporate life I left behind, but I have had to reclaim my new identity as I have literally started over from scratch.
(I am going to put an advisory here for explicit language because, well, let’s face it, I tend to need it)
Over the last year, to help make ends meet at home, I have been cleaning once or twice a week, out side of the house. I barely have time to get my own cleaning done, but have found some solace in scrubbing, sweating and listening to music really loud while cleaning public toilets, wiping sticky hand prints off the walls and… vacuuming.
What does this have to do with weight loss, starting a journey, or anything really but a realization that we all need to suck it up and just do sometimes? Well, the following story happened last week and in the moment I thought, “How perfect”.
I have a very detailed routine now when I go to this commercial property to clean. Music set; hair tied back; bucket ready and spray bottle in hand. I came to realize last week that I move swiftly. My mind is sharp and my body able to crawl on all fours if needed and get up without making it a circus side show. My body keeps up and I’m happy. Win #1.
I vacuum second to last, as I finish up with mopping – makes domestic good-sense. The vacuum I have has seen better days. I’m certain it’s older than the building, but nonetheless, it gets the job done. The cord is fraying, the entire thing is dusty as heck, and there is this one Hoover encrusted plastic shield that houses the little attachments that I never use. That shield as been the bane of my existence for almost a year.
Without fail, that frickin’ thing falls off at least five or six times every time I vacuum. I pick it up, put it back; pick it up, put it back; pick it up, put it back. It happens, relentlessly, it happens. And each and every time, like a fit of passion in the sheets, I gradually get hotter and hotter under the collar. I pick it up once and think, ah… this is new. Second time, I get a little perturbed. And then by the sixth time I want to throw that entire fuckin’ thing out the window.
As I went to pick up that shield last week for the last time before wrapping the crusty, old cord around the one good knob and the other that is hanging from a thread, I said to myself, “What the hell am I doing?”.
Now, dear readers, I know you well – and being outside a situation makes perspective clear, crisp and new. What are you saying right now?
Adina – you could have just asked for a better vacuum.
Adina – you could have taped that shield to the face of the vacuum and moved on.
Adina – why didn’t you just take it off so it wouldn’t push you to the edge of wanting to destroy a perfectly good artifact from the past, the window and your self-image?
These are all wonderful questions and I never once considered any of them, Do you know why? My perspective was only that which I knew. I felt like I had to put up with it because I needed the money. I felt like I had to put up with it because I was emotionally invested in the people I was cleaning for and didn’t want to let them down. I felt like I had to put up with it because… insert any frickin’ excuse.
It was in that very moment that I realized the following:
-I needed the money, yes. But after all was said and done (time, driving, gas, parking, Sunday time away from my family) I was literally taking home $20
-I wanted to help out the business owners, but that didn’t mean undervaluing my time, efforts or life. I may be starting over, but I have the experience enough to know what I am worth
-I couldn’t do it anymore. So I quit.
I quit, which I hate doing. I don’t like committing to something and then leaving it behind, but like Tim wrote a few weeks back, sometimes Giving Up is ok. But it was much more about what the shield represented in that moment that struck me – what I thought I needed, what I didn’t know, and what I was afraid of.
The Vacuum, its shield, that experience reminded me of all the crap I used to endure, day in and day out, that I now know I had the ability to change. I endured that situation for so long until one day that scratched piece of Hoover plastic fell and I really didn’t want to EVER pick it up again. My shield, or the shit I needed to let go (so to speak) was the uncomfortable summers with chaffing thighs and sweating back fat; plus size shopping; not fitting in airplane seats; being out of breath after doing ANYTHING; having a tough time getting down and up from the floor to play with my kids; being told I had a pretty face (I hate that one); having high cholesterol, blood pressure and knowing diabetes was just around the corner; getting that look from the doctor during my physical (and not being able to fit in that paper towel thing they make you wear during your pap test)… I could go on. My shield, that pain in the ass I didn’t realize I could change, reared its ugly head as a morbidly obese person.
And while I may not be where I think I ultimately need to be, I had decided two years ago that I would no longer pick up my many ‘shields’ as I knew life was worth experiencing in a healthier version of me. I have tossed many a shield. And as I continue to find others, I need to decide on their fate – but it’s only up to me to do it.
I feel as though sometimes we just don’t know. I do believe that. And even if we do know what our options are for that shield, sometimes it’s having it fall on our bare foot one more time that makes us realize we can walk away; we can tape it up; we can ask for something better.
Are you ready to make that decision?
We’re here to help.