i first came across the concept of “self care” on tumblr, and it might have been as far back as 2015. seemingly out of nowhere, there were earnest text posts and ~aesthetic~ image posts exhorting me to “take care of myself first“, to “treat yoself” because “you deserve it”. these are usually simple, gentle coaxes: drink more water! be kind to yourself! remember to breathe! things will be okay!
it’s such a millennial thing, and for me to put it such a manner seems to throw shade on indulging in self-care. millennial is so often used to denigrate a certain behaviour or trend, and that’s not what i’m here for. i think it’s wonderful that we are talking about being kinder to ourselves, and to let ourselves have nice things.
i know that i’m speaking from a position of privilege, and there might be avenues of self care that are available to me that might not be open to others. at the moment, i’m looking at the minute internal adjustments that i make in the pursuit of self care.
before i came across that first text post telling me i could be kind to myself, it never occurred to me that i could. i have always been so afraid of being complacent and failing that i constantly remind myself that i’m not good enough, that i need to work harder than the next person. that’s stupid, because there will always be someone better, someone else to measure up to. these thoughts aren’t motivational, they’re restrictive and pressurising.
these self care posts on tumblr remind me to let it go and take it slow. to breathe, because i’ll be fine.
so i’ve been taking the steps for a while, making it habit.
one. starting my days early
it’s 6am, and my alarms ring, and i roll out of bed.
the rest of the house is sleeping, so i am as quiet as i can be as i brush my teeth, make my coffee, and wake my laptop.
it’s the silence, and the darkness outside my window reflective with light. the estate is still – but not the wind in the trees and not the insects in the trees. it’s the sort of quiet that tells me there is no one around. i am alone.
alone with my coffee, and the luxury of time i carve out for myself.
there is no rushing to shower, no hurried make up routine, no bread stuffed down the gullet.
when i was with my first job, i was forced to wake up early because of the time i needed to travel to the other side of the island. now it’s pretty much become a habit, but i’ve come to enjoy it.
on the flip side, i sleep pretty early between 10.30pm to 11pm. don’t bother texting me after 10pm on weekdays.
i’m conflicted about the true benefits of skincare. is it just a slightly deluded coping mechanism? are the expensive products yet another way to sucker money out of vain women? maybe it is all of these things, but guess what? i’m totally buying into all of that.
when i use an essence, or a serum, and my break-outs are kept to a minimum when my period rolls around, it feels good.
when i massage a heavenly-smelling, citrusy cream into my skin, it feels good.
when i touch my face and my skin feels healthy and smooth, it feels good.
when my life is falling apart, my skincare routine makes me feel as if there’s still something i can control: my skin. and because i can, i’ll be fine.
an outlet for my rawest thoughts, given undeserved form in words. a journal is a place for my ugliest self, distilled from the blackest arenas of my heart, a mess of anger, hatred, jealousy, frustration and despair. i ugly cry, and this journal is the result.
i don’t want anyone to ever see these parts of me, but if i don’t put it down somewhere, i would implode. so yes, my journal is my tool of sane reconstruction.
self care is inherently self-indulgent. there is danger of navel-gazing and selfishness, but there cannot be anything so wrong about wanting to live a little better in this one life we have.
now that i feel quite ready to take the world on, i can turn myself to think, ‘what can i do to contribute to my world?’