My favorite part of flying happens about 15 minutes after I board. It isn't the part where my kids aren't settled yet and trying to figure out what to do next. It isn't the flight entertainment agenda in my head that is trying to be sorted out and coordinated with two kids. It isn't seeing the excitement of flying drain out of my five year old, and the reality of having to stay in a tiny seat for the next 3 hours, be quiet, and not play with the tray.
Nope... my favorite part happens during the inflight safety talk we hear over the loudspeaker. You know the one, "in the event of emergency, put your oxygen mask on yourself first." Ahhhhhhh I love that part!!!
By helping others first, or ignoring the mask altogether, a person will begin to lose his or her ability to recognize faces and shapes, and eventually pass out. Hence, the flight-safety demo that reminds passengers over and over to take care of their own mask right away. Seriously this is a thing and completely true, you will die at 35,000 feet if you don't get oxygen quickly.
What if we did that all the time and not just in a crisis? What would happen if we started behaving like a toddler and screaming, "me first!" I mean really putting yourself before your kid and your family. Wait is that even possible???
Ok here is the problem with it... other people, husbands and extended family included, expect us to not put ourselves first. It isn't a conscious I'm going to kill the mom activity but it really does happen like this. We, the mom, keep doing and helping and fixing and cleaning and doing and helping and fixing and getting sicker and sicker and sicker and maybe even a little resentful (hopefully). So a little side story....
Right now I'm having my first no kid week in as long as I can remember, YEAH!!! Like I always do I had a 100 things planned including going to a seminar, getting a massage, soaking in a hot tub, hiking alone, yoga, the works. On morning one of my self retreat away from kids, I fell down the stairs, actually I bounced down the stairs. Coffee and computer went flying and I bounced on my ass down to the bottom. After the panic passed and I didn't think I was dying anymore I just laid there and felt the pain and irony of the fall. I'm not kidding that this fall on my ass incident happen after I planned to do a workshop this week called "Oxygen on yourself first". How does the fall relate to the oxygen metaphor? I fell on my ass because in order to fully get that mask on me, I have to stop completely. Stop doing everything!!!! All the activities I planned were for me but still doing and going. I have a chronic illness and when your body gets to the level of attacking itself, you don't get to keep running around anymore. Driving and doing and going is Doing. Now I've been not "doing" for 3 days and in bed pretty much the whole time and I finally can say, my nervous system has calmed the fuck down. Now I'm ready to go out in the world and do just a little each day. Today I'm getting a massage, tomorrow I am going to a yoga meditation session, and Saturday I will soak.
You never know when something big will happen that we have absolutely no control over. I just met a lot people who were in Hurricane Michael. A natural disaster, totally out of their control and many people lost everything from it. Where we are at physically when these events happen is critical to how we react and get through them. We are taught and instructed about having water and food stored up for a disaster. We are taught how to make safety plans with our family for a fire. But what about the safety plan for your body to be able to handle the stress of a crisis? I'm talking about resiliency and mojo to bounce back when we are pushed to the max. If you already have a diagnosed chronic illness, you know where your at and there is not a lot left to give. But many people are right on the brink of a diagnosis and a BIG stress in their life is what tips them over the edge. For me it wasn't a disaster but a birth, which for your body is like a hurricane coming through. This is why it is critical for you to get the oxygen on NOW and start saying, "Me First!"
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