Two days ago I walked into a piercing shop and spontaneously re-pierced my nose and introduced a brand new septum piercing to my face. To some people this may not seem like anything unusual, especially those of us who live in Portland, Oregon. Tattoos and piercings are a normal everyday accessory in this town. For me, there is something deeper. It means I am coming back to myself; re-infusing my life with where I began. This is not to say that where I was just a few months ago was a bad place; it was just a place where growth was begging to be allowed.
Everything Johnny and I took on over the last 7 years of our marriage was evoked by honest intentions. Our desire to serve and care for others was the core of our union but the truth remained: we were young and naïve. We allowed our wellbeing to take the backseat and we took on too much weight. For a while we thought the state of the world was in our hands. And while I haven’t let go of the desire to live a life that takes that into account, it wasn’t our burden to bear alone. We felt isolated from our spiritual friends as we took a very narrow path.
This stems from my childhood growing up in the church. I was taught extensively about how to be a servant but not how to set boundaries. This is a common issue in Christianity as I see people give everything they have for others and feel guilty for taking care of themselves. Did we forget that Jesus sat down and ate nice meals with friends? Or that he commonly went off on his own into nature? I love the foundation I received as a child but as I’ve become an adult I’ve had to learn how to instill healthy boundaries. Many people have seen what happens when you don’t take time for yourself and only serve others: BURNOUT.
This is what happened with Johnny and I. We tried to live out of our ideals without the boundaries and ended up resenting our situation. I will spare all the details of our situation and give you the bullet points:
-Johnny and I have only lived alone for a few months in our marriage
-We have had 27 roommates in 6 years
-We have hosted over 100 people in our house
-Meanwhile our house was fully ripped apart with no kitchen for 3 of those years
The first time we realized we needed to do something for ourselves was when I miscarried a pregnancy 2 months in. This was during a time where we had no kitchen and people were living and staying with us. Ultimately I am an introvert who does not like to be around people during emotional times. This was awful for me. I told Johnny that it was finally time we do something for us. This led us to planning a 2-month pilgrimage to South Africa. During that trip we were inspired to come home and save up to buy land. Unfortunately this meant we continued to live with people in order to save more money for that dream. Now that we own land we realize it may not have been worth the neglect we showed ourselves for 7 years.
My neglect also brought on my allergies. The stress of the house coupled with all the dust and mold I was breathing in during the remodel triggered my hereditary predisposition to allergies. Thankfully nutrition and self-care has saved me from that “life sentence” but I don’t ever want to go back to that place.
That said the time is now. It’s the year of Johnny and Bailey and we’re coming in hot. We have never really allowed ourselves any luxuries so a few of the things we’ve done for ourselves so far:
-Johnny bought me a massage for my birthday
-We got gym memberships so we can go sauna at night
-We’re extending our tiny house in the backyard so we can fully live in it and are separate from roommates. Up until now we only used that space to sleep in and as our living room. Now we will have all the amenities.
-We are both letting ourselves relax more and do things we love…just because
-Johnny has bought “new” clothes and started dressing how he likes.
-I have cut my hair off for a change and pierced my face.
Also, we began confronting things and people in our life that we’ve been avoiding. We are being more communicative with the people in our lives and setting healthy boundaries so we don’t slip back into the place we were.
These may seem like simple little things but it’s all helping us go back to the chill people we were before we tried to take on everything. I will always want to be a servant in my life but if I speak of the importance of self-care and boundaries then I need to put that into practice.
I felt like I lost my power over the last 7 years. I felt like I lost a part of myself that I love. These simple piercings are another reminder that I have some control in my life and that I don’t have to withhold “luxuries” from myself anymore. These simple acts make me feel more like myself, more in love with my husband, more in control and more able to help others because I first cared for myself,
Bailey Patrice & Jonathan David