These pictures are long overdue. The last time we had family pictures taken was 6 years ago.
SIX years ago.
And the reason why brings me to tears.
If you were to look at anyone’s camera roll, you wouldn’t see pictures of me. Well, maybe my face, but surely not the rest of me. Izzy was almost one when we last had family pictures taken… and although I have a gazillion of her and my boys over the last six years, there aren’t many of me with them.
And although it hurts my heart to the core, it is apparent that my insecurity and lack of love and self-respect has unfortunately engulfed me to the point of being absent. But even more sobering, is that insecurity is just the start. It’s like the first domino in a long line of dominos- and once it’s been hit, it hits the next one, and then the next one, and so on.
Insecurity causes low self-worth and a lack of confidence. And when those dominos fall, the natural thing to do is isolate. Isolation breeds wrong perspectives, judgments and negativity. All of which were prevalent in my life.
Well, no more.
Enough is enough.
At the beginning of this year I made a choice. A choice to invest in ME. It is apparent by looking at the interior of my house that I spend many hours a week investing in rescuing garbage and making it beautiful. I can be in the depths of fatigue, but if I see something free on Craigslist, I’m in my car in a nano-second, following my GPS to its destination.
Is rescuing garbage wrong?
No. As I sure love the chase and rescue.
Is it wrong that I don’t allow myself to be rescued?
So I started the year off by making small choices every day.
I changed my eating habits to a low-carb, high fat diet, which is contrary to how my family eats. That means making two meals every night for dinner and increasing our monthly food budget.
I buy clothes for myself (so foreign) on a regular basis. Up to this point it was just home décor or clothes for my family as I didn’t want to be reminded of how “bad” I looked.
I buy fresh flowers for my kitchen island… just because.
I light candles at night… even when there is no one home… just because.
I was elected as an officer for the Executive Committee Board for a non-profit org in my community. (this Board seriously fills my cup!)
I schedule time to dream about what’s next for Audra.
Contrary to what a lot of us were taught, investing in yourself doesn’t mean that you’ll drop the ball in being a friend, wife or mom. It means the converse of that, actually. It means that your cup doesn’t have to be on E while barely functioning anymore. It means that when the days and weeks start to add up, you’ll be able to pour out so much more into the lives of those around you.
This transition wasn’t easy. And the pull to run back to my comfortable couch of isolation of “doing everything for everyone else” was brutal. But in the words of Libby Moore, “If I don’t think I’m worth investing into, then who will?”
You matter. You are valuable. Even if you don’t feel like it… you are.
If you’re reading this, I hope that the still/small voice in your heart whispers that it’s time to invest in YOU. Start small. Small accomplishments lead to greater successes than shooting for the moon.
These pictures are a milestone in my journey. A 10 month mark of believing (even when I don’t want to) that I am valuable. They represent bravery and boldness. They represent freedom.
I didn’t think I had it in me.
And maybe you don’t either.
But start small.
Light that candle.
Buy yourself some flowers.
For you are worth it.