Do I Have to?

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Creatively Hip

I fell into the river. The rough water quickly surrounded me. I received blows from all sides, and the river overpowered me. I was sucked into the current. All light faded from existence. I became disoriented. Where was the surface? I didn’t know where to go.

I spent the next year underwater. I was drowning and didn’t care.

I would lay in bed telling myself “I should take a shower,” “I should get out of bed,” “I should eat something.” My will to do anything was gone.

In the darkness, I reached out for a small light. She was a friend of a friend. She helped me change my “should” to “will.”

I began to force myself to do tasks each day: I will shower today, I will get dressed today, I will go outside today. In time I was out of the water and in the lifeboat.

Today I am in the boat. My “I will” list has changed. As I look at my life I have noticed my “I will” list changes with what I am dealing with at the time.

These “I wills” have saved my life. They helped me out of the raging river. I have kept going because I push myself, even if others have given me the “I wills” I had to do each day. I am the one who pushed myself. I am the one who completed the tasks.

My “I wills” are the positive things I do that are good for me. These things may not be enjoyable at the time, but after I complete them I feel amazing. I have an inner discipline that allows me to follow the task through to completion.

I dread going to my toning class. I go and power through even though I don’t enjoy the physical work required. I enjoy the conversation, not the workout. Afterwards, I feel refreshed. I have a sense of pride. I took care of my body. I am living a healthy life. My body feels better. I can feel the physical aspect of taking care of me.

This taking care of me is a new experience. In the past, I put everyone before me. In the process, I lost me.

I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learned so much the last two years. I have really enjoyed getting to know me, self-love is so important. “I will love myself for the unique character I am.”

These “I wills” have a life changing impact on my mind, body and soul.

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