On Self Care

Self care. To me this is a new term. I didn’t grow up in a family where time was taken out to take care of ourselves. We never took a vacation. I thought that was stuff that only happened on television. The most self care that was happening was maybe a nap. As the years passed maybe I would get a manicure. I thought that was a big luxury which happened maybe twice a year if I was lucky. Lately I’ve been hearing about self care more and more from my friends. I’m older now and my friends are professional women. Massages and acupuncture sessions are booked regularly. Weekends away and retreats are on the schedule. I still think of those things as luxuries that I would never take part of. Why? Maybe I feel like I don’t deserve it. Maybe I don’t work hard enough for one. Then I say that out loud to someone else and they tell me I’m crazy and that I’m one of the most hard working people they know. 

Some of you may remember that I had bronchitis three times in a six month period starting last October. I was sick for a month each time. That’s when I started hearing that I needed to take better care of myself. I’m overworking my body. Rest more often. It is tough when you work for yourself. I have yet to find that “work/life balance” that I read so many articles about. I tell myself that I am bad when I am not doing something, anything. If I’m not working on my photography business, I am working on 1am Beauty. If I’m not working on 1am Beauty, I am counseling someone. Now I’m not a counselor but it’s in my nature to help and guide people and everyone knows it. I love helping my friends but it is getting to the point where I am losing myself along the way. A friend texted me a few weeks ago: "Don't forget to take care of yourself!” I need reminders that the caregiver needs care too.

Yesterday I didn’t do anything. I shot a wedding the day before and it was a 14 hour day. My feet were ready to escape my body by hour six. I soaked my feet for a little bit when I got home and told myself to book an appointment for a massage. I’ve had a gift certificate for a local massage studio for six months now and have yet to make an appointment. I couldn’t tell you what I was waiting for. I suppose I was waiting for the point where my body was waiting to give up on me. I think women feel like that they have to do it all. Keep working. Always be working. We don’t want to let anyone down. We don’t want to let ourselves down. In the process we break down. A little bit here. A little more there. We get tired. We get resentful. We get sad. (Sidetone: when I say “we” I mean me but I’m hoping I am not alone in this.) 

It shouldn’t be a bad thing to want to take care of yourself. I shouldn’t have to feel bad to say “no”. No, this project can wait. No, I can’t do this for you right now. No, I will lose my effing mind if I have to listen to your shit anymore. We’ve all heard the phrase “you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself first”. I’m changing it to "you can’t take care of someone else if you can’t take care of yourself first”. That doesn’t mean the “Wise One” or “Buddha Mama” (nicknames friends have for me) is gone. It just means that Mama is taking time for herself more often. And that’s ok. I’m washing away the guilt of wanting to take care of myself.

I am getting an hour and a half massage this evening. I will enjoy every second of it.