I’m not just the passenger pulling down an oxygen mask to save myself; I’m the pilot, the weather station, and the flight attendant. Hell, I’m also the runway, the landing and the mid-flight midnight bag of nuts.

I must come first. Right?

I’ve always struggled with the idea that taking care of myself first is selfish, but it’s a default of my thinking, so when I go on auto-pilot, myself and everyone around me tends to experience turbulence.

After a long time, I executed on a plan that will benefit me, while placing me in what I’ve always perceived as a nightmare environment but it was done purposefully because the fight requires I continue to find higher levels of discomfort.

Unfortunately, on day one, several other hats were tossed at me, as if to say,

“What are you gonna do now with your discomfort, your time and well thought out self-care plan?”

If it sounds extreme, it’s because for me it is.

My daughter shared an exchange between her and another person.

Out of nowhere, Motherhood, Childhood, Human Resource Director, Teacher and Childcare Advocate hats begin floating around my head screaming, “You gotta say and do something!”

This was discomfort times ten, and because it was my first day, and hers, I thought, “What the fuck?!”

My other thought was, “Maybe it’s just her. Maybe I’ll just let it go and see if it happens again.” Cause not taking action sometimes feels more comfortable, at least until it builds into palpable anxiety.

But my daughter said something that made it clear what I needed to do. She said,

“He makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to go back.”

Although the exchange she shared had a spidey-sense weirdness to it, it wasn’t strong enough for me to not take her back. Not until she said those words.

You ever watch Tony Robbins do his rituals before he goes on stage, or the cold water thing before that?

I felt like him right before speaking to the crowd, except instead a shooter comes in, and shit goes haywire. Outside of the water thing, I actually have no idea how any of that would feel. I’m just trying to portray how it might feel to enthusiastically prepare in such a ritualistic way and then be confronted with the need to protect the lives of your loved ones.

Do I still come first? No. The oxygen mask goes over my child’s face. My child comes first, synchronized with the hats I breathe beneath. I tip each one and hand her a lesson.

What you feel is your intuition. Listen to it. Follow it. Even when others suggest you ignore it, don’t.

Mom is your advocate, and what happened, regardless of whether your perception is misunderstood by another account, will be addressed directly with anyone whose actions have affected you.

Mom knows who to talk to, what to say and do to make an impact that could get someone released from their position
. If this happens, know that it is not because of you, but because of them. All of us face the consequences of our actions, not just at home, but everywhere.

Part of me wanted to scream at the responsibility I felt, but I can’t walk away from the kind of potential abuse that might be aimed at those who can’t speak for themselves. So, the lessons for me on day one were:

I need to be first most days, but won’t always be, and the actions I take towards self-improvement, are not as much about me as they are about those I’m intended to serve.

Sometimes a snag arrives much sooner than expected. Find gratitude that although I didn’t expect to pull out Plan B just yet, at least I have one.