I danced yesterday at Dance Tribe and then took myself into Santa Barbara to pick up some vinegars that I love so much from this fantastic place, Il Fustino, in the Public Market. I also had a coffee and the most delicious peanut butter cookie and then a very small cup of salted caramel ice cream. I shared the cookie and ice cream with a friend who danced with me. It was very yummy.
I didn't have a lot of time. The trip to dance is almost an hour and then there is the dancing and the trip back home and soon the time away becomes a lot of hours. Add to that the vinegar excursion and I was away for a good part of the day.
And there was this bit of guilt around this. For no reason really. But it got me wondering why this was so. Why being out triggers this response from me. My peanut butter cookie and salted caramel ice cream friend suggested that maybe it was a sense of not being deserving. I tried this idea on. Thought about it at that time and then again throughout the rest of my day and into this morning. I am not sure if that is it.
But whatever it is, it started a long time ago.
I went to law school when my kids were young. My middle daughter was just born two weeks before. My third came along my second year of school. I remember applying to go to law school. Wanting to use my brain. Wanted to feel that intellectual stimulation that comes from my mind being challenged in this way.
But there was more to it than just that.
I needed to get away from my kids. I needed to be separate and to have some down time. But getting a sitter and going out for a coffee or shopping or to the movies or even just a walk alone with my dog did not seem to be enough. Was not a worthy enough endeavor that I could justify taking myself away from my children.
But law school, this was substantial. This had merit. This was important enough that I could leave them.
I loved law school. I loved learning about the law and being in an environment with others learning, too. And I loved being away from my kids. I missed them. And thought of them a lot while I was gone from them. And missed them some more. But it was ok. It was really good actually. And it was purely for me.
It was self care.
I felt a bit of guilt about it but not too much. Leaving them to go do this thing just for me, it was ok. Again, because it was a worthy enough activity.
So back to yesterday.
First off, I don't have kids home anymore. I do have a still young dog at home but she is really fine on her own. And I have a husband but he is fine, too. And yet I felt this sense that I should not be gone too long.
I could justify each part of it. The dancing part. That has value. The trip to get the delicious vinegar, that was ok, too. As was the quick cup of coffee and those tasty treats. But still there is the sense to rush home. A constant looking at the clock that continued through the dancing and into the rest of the day.
I tried on the homebody idea. Perhaps it is not guilt that I am feeling. Perhaps it is discomfort. I wrote about that last week. That sense that it was safer back home. And so maybe the worry I feel is not because I think I should be home but because I feel uncomfortable not being home. But this did not sit right on me either.
Whereas I do not love to travel away for many days, being away for just a day - or a few hours in a day - does not make me uncomfortable. And so, though the guilt of being out is there, anxiety does not play a role in whatever this is that I am struggling with.
And so I am stuck with a not knowing right now. With a not knowing why that nagging sense that I need to get back lingers in my mind each time I venture out. A not knowing why I feel that after taking care of the things I have to take care of I can't slow down, veer off the path, take a step back, and take care of me.
Because that is what this really is. The dance and the coffee. A walk. Law School. It is all really about an honoring. Of my needs. And a nurturing. Of my soul. I will have to practice doing this more. So that eventually it will feel as good as I know it is.
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Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.