We sat in our seats on our way to the Bahamas with everyone I considered important at the time. I knew how much my mother had worked to make it happen for the 9 people who made up our traveling party. So, when the flight attendant told her “In the event of an emergency, make sure you secure your mask first.” I didn’t understand. My mother sacrifices everything for me and my siblings. And as a mother, she would surely give her life such that the life of one of her children be saved. So, why would she leave me gasping for air…suffocating…while she secures her mask? Why would she not make sure that I could breathe first? I was a child and as bright as I was the bulb dimmed on this one for a moment. And I must honestly say that I don’t remember when I realized that she would not be able to secure breathing for me if she was not breathing. But, when I learn my lessons I really learn my lessons.
I have carried the concept of me first into my adulthood. Sometimes seen as selfishness, it is anything but. My focus on me does not represent a disinterest in you. It represents a determination to attend to myself in order that I am better able to be attentive to you. I take care of me in order to be there for you.
I am not the mother that will dress her children in designer clothes, the latest shoes, ipods, smartphones and new hairdos while I look like a “raggamuffin”. I used to understand but, resent that my mother would shop at Saks Fifth Avenue for herself and Ventures or Payless for her children. But, now I get it. She put her mask on first so that she could later put on our masks. She had to dress the part of corporate america and in order to succeed, she needed to look like she belonged. If she belonged, she won the contract, we lived in a beautiful home and had what we needed.
So, I will buy my designer jeans at a few hundred each because I fit. I fit with the other models with whom I compete. I look the part and am thus booked for more parts. I buy my jeans. I book the gig. I buy their jeans (on sale, of course).
I take care of myself first…in order that I may take care of my children. I may one day have to sacrifice my life for my children and in many ways have already done such. After all I can guarantee you that I would not be where I am were it not for the needs of my three most precious possessions. Yet, as much as I am willing to sacrifice, it serves no good if I sacrifice my “self”.
Selfish mom/friend or loving mom/friend? You decide. But, in my mind it will always be Me First!!!