A few days ago my mom and aunt came to visit me. In preparation for their arrival, I became incensed at myself, shaming myself into the work, the cleaning I thought needed to be done. I had a moment where I thought, okay, maybe I can kill myself by working too hard. I was fighting waves of nausea, pain and fatigue with every medicine I could, determined to be presentable and enough. When I finally admitted how stressed I was to my aunt, she told me, lovingly, that I was being stupid. That they were coming to see me, not examine the dust bunnies behind my door. So I let go. The toilet was clean, I told myself, the boxes are put away, this is how and where you live. Their visit was wonderful.
That breaking point showed me something about myself, however. I am in command here. I can still make my fingers and toes wiggle. My body might hurt so much I think I will crumble, I might fall asleep every time I stop moving, but I’m the goddamn fleet admiral of the Callista Navy. I can make choices, and my body will go until it can’t, until it literally starts to break down. I can make the choices about how I spend my energy, and how hard. I know that sounds simple, but it was a revelation for me.
My emotions do not control me.
My body does not control me.
I control me.
Mistakes happen, though. Today I was distracted. I’ve been doing emotionally heavy work and I let myself get off schedule. I was so eager to start my research that I took my water to the computer right away. You probably know where this is going. Totally forgot to take my meds. Which means as I write this, I’m getting brain zaps. I took command of the fleet without gassing it up, so to speak, and my sleep is going to be dotted with nightmares and sudden, sweating jolts. I’ve sailed these seas before, to stretch the naval metaphor, so I know what to expect. But this is the first time I’m going in swinging, saying, I control me.