This month’s column is a bit of a self-care reality check. A good friend recently sent me this article, which digs into the not-so-“treat yo’self” aspects of self-care. Here’s my take on it…
F E E D Y O U R B O D Y
Check your calendar—when was the last time you went to the dentist? Had a Pap test or a prostate check-up? Met with a therapist? Physical and mental wellness, although sometimes anxiety-inducing and time-consuming, are ultimately important and empowering. Think about it: The more time you take to fill in a cavity, address an STI or talk out anxieties with a mental health professional, the healthier—and hopefully longer—your life. I realize these are not always simple actions—I have major anxieties surrounding visits to the gynecologist, hence why I book a therapy appointment the week before AND the week after my visits. I also realize that not all of us are able to afford healthcare. (If that’s the case for you or someone you know, please follow this link to a webpage that helps locate low cost, and in some instances free, health services.) But know that you’re not alone. All human beings have these big, complicated bodies where both terrible and wonderful things are harbored. But if you take care of that complex bod, perhaps you can take care of someone else who is sick or in pain.
F E E D Y O U R B R A I N
The word “finances” makes me want to animorph into my cat so that I can curl into an impossibly compact ball and sleep for hours, with only food and bird sounds to worry about. Can’t capitalism just turn into one big awesome festival where we dance to Jackson 5 and pass money around as needed? No? Okay, point is: If we have the means to pay bills, we need to pay them. It’s just how this works. So take a deep breath, pour a warm, smoky glass of that classy bourbon you (sorry not sorry) splurged on, and spend the 30 minutes every Saturday morning to check your online accounts and pay your bills. Good news: Virtually all of it can be done online these days, so feel free to sob a little bit in the privacy of your own home…and not in line at the MVA as you go to renew your vehicle registration for 135 DOLLARS.
F E E D Y O U R S P I R I T
This is a hard one for me: Be vulnerable. Ask for help. Do not be ashamed. Life is hard.
I am a sucker for stoicism. I like the idea of people thinking of me as the non-complainer—the happy-go-lucky, positive spirit goddess in their lives. But I do get sad and distraught about this sticky life. I know I should call one of my beautiful friends when I’m feeling down, but I don’t, because I don’t want to burden anybody. But what in the world are friends for? I challenge you to call a friend or family member the next time you’re dealing with something that feels too heavy for you to carry alone. Yes, therapists are great, particularly when you’re working through trauma or you have a mental illness. But if it’s been a bad day and you need someone to listen, I think being vulnerable with a loved one is the answer. When we open up, most of the time, we bond closer together. Just recently, I finally opened up to a co-worker after a hard work experience. I had withheld being vulnerable in front of her to protect my pride/give off the impression I could handle anything, but damn, it felt so good to open up to her—and I think she would agree that our conversation brought us closer together. That, in turn, makes our hardest work days a little bit better, because we know we have each other’s backs and can confide in one another.
T R E A T Y O ‘ S E L F
Okay—this column was a bit heavier than previous ones, so I have to end on a lighter self-care tip: Did you know there is a website that allows you to watch a live feed of puffins? That’s right. Live footage. Of the cutest bird on this planet earth. Find it here. You’re welcome.
For my “wise words heard” this month, I quote author Mawiyah Patten of the aforementioned article: “The painful self-care I am doing now is coming to terms with the fact that I have built my life around performing only the best parts of myself for other people, or performing for myself to project an image of who I would like to be.”
We are inherently flawed, my friends. Make it a practice to be mindful of your actions and words. Don’t exhaust your spirit trying to please everyone—be true to it, even if it’s ugly and displeasing at times. And remember: You are all worthy queens, kings and all the non-binary royalty in between!
Breathe deep, live your truth, pay your bills, take good self-care,
P.S. Email me with worries, affirmations, and/or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org