Let’s Be Real

Author: Karen Porter, RHN

For almost 30 years Karen battled severe IBS, & anxiety.

Forced to re-evaluate and take her health into her own hands, she started looking into alternative methods to help her heal where the traditional medical approach had failed. 

Karen’s health, and consequently her life, entirely shifted and she felt compelled to help as many women as possible to feel their absolute best!  

I didn’t think it would start this way. Let’s be real. Well, I’m going to get real. I didn’t think this would be my first post, but then life happened, as it does, and that just got me to writing.

Whoever said it’s great to have a good cry, must experience it differently than I do. We hear things like, “it’s good to have a good cry” or “crying releases tension and makes you feel better”, or other statements like that. Am I the only one who doesn’t feel good after a cry?

I can tell you today, that last night’s cry did not make me feel good. I took a picture and thought of posting it. I didn’t though; not because I didn’t want to post it without make-up, but because it didn’t actually show the magnitude. To be sure, the combination of bloodshot eyes and puffy eyelids is not a good look for me. And, the last time I woke up this thirsty was after a night of drinking in my younger days!

What happened last night was really quite innocuous. I was volunteering at the retirement home that I do every week, so there was nothing unusual there. I’ll tell you another time how volunteering (along with mindfulness, meditation, gratitude, continually reaching out and engaging even when I didn’t want to) really helped me out of depression. I actually agreed to do more volunteering at a time when I wasn’t doing very well, but it was suggested to me it. For me, helping others came back two-fold (or maybe ten-fold!) Anyway, near the end of the evening last night, a bright young woman of 93 years (!) wanted to chat with me after the others had left. She told me she wasn’t really having a good day because she’d had a bit of a falling out with her son. Her son and family had previously lived nearby, but had recently moved three hours away. He told her that at Christmas, he wanted to pick her up and take her out to his place for a few days. That seemed like a normal thing to me. Then she told me how much stress it would be for her to leave the retirement home, to spend three days away, and how she didn’t want to put a damper on the festivities because she was having some trouble with her balance and she was a little lightheaded at times. Although she uses a walker this woman gets around just fine and is really with it.   But she was stressed for two reasons – the upset with her son, and the thought of what was involved in leaving her environment for a few days. I immediately saw myself as her son. It’s hard to describe but I actually felt myself slipping more into the emotion of the situation than I had planned. I was looking at her, trying to respect and appreciate what she was saying, but thinking, “If you were my Mom, I couldn’t imagine you staying in a retirement home over Christmas and not being with me/my family at Christmas.” It just seemed so wrong to me. I tried to sympathize with her, and see both sides, but clearly I was in the child mode. I did understand her stress though, and her wanting to stay in control of the environment she’d grown comfortable with. I know with age comes less flexibility, but I just couldn’t imagine her not being with her son, her family, at Christmas. My tears just started and could not be stopped. I had that internal dialogue that says, “Hold it together, what the heck are you doing? How professional is this that I’m standing here balling my eyes out? If the staff see me they’re going to think I’m not fit enough to work with elderly people.” Then the moment set in where I realized I was a volunteer, and not being scrutinized for my work! Seriously, was I going to be fired from my volunteer work? I guess it goes back to my professional financial days. Even when studying nutrition, I was told not long ago by an instructor, “Under no circumstances do you ever get emotional with a client/cry.” But I wasn’t in a working relationship, and I think in that moment I had to realize that I was just suffering with the human condition. We are humans and life does not always go as we’d  like, or how we planned it to go

I realized when I was standing there talking and crying, not only was I thinking about this woman and her son, I was also thinking about my Mom. My Mom and I were close, and perhaps that’s why I was having such trouble with this woman not wanting to leave to be with her son at Christmas. I could not imagine my Mom sitting at a retirement home for Christmas and not being with me. Since my Mom’s passing this year, and the grief of the first few months has softened, I tried to look at things in a positive light and instead of saying, “How could this happen? She was too young. I was at this retirement home with people in their 90’s and my Mom hadn’t even turned 73,” I tried to tell myself that I was lucky to have had her for 50 years.

So my conversation ended with the woman at the retirement home. I suggested that she wait and see how she was feeling, and maybe she would reconsider, or maybe her son would have to try to understand and respect her decision. I tried to sneak out of the retirement home, not really wanting to be seen after crying. I don’t recover well from crying, and it’s clearly evident on my face. Of course I was nabbed by the woman at the front desk for a conversation that only helped my tears further along. I had trouble shaking it off on my way home. Was I supposed to try to “turn the page” on my thoughts or just continue to think about my Mom? Luckily, shortly after I got home, I went bed, so the crying stopped.

I still dislike the fact that I broke out crying when I was out. I really can’t say that I’ve only been emotional since my Mom’s passing though. To be honest, I’ve always been emotional. I’ve always been emotive and empathic too. (That’s a lot of ‘e’ words!)

Though there are parts of it that I don’t like (emotions that might have me crying at a time when I wish I didn’t), if I look at it in a positive light, I’d like to think that it’s what makes me pretty great to work with. The fact that I’m emotional and empathic, combined with my passion to help people feel the best they can, is what I have to share!  Your thoughts and concerns interest me – deeply.  I want to help you achieve your goals, and they will become ours together.  So using that extra emotion I have, I’ll take the bad with the good…and I guess it’s not so bad after all.

You May Also Like…