I never declared 2017 as “my year” but it ended up being so. It is my first full year as a working class citizen. I’m living in my own apartment and I’m working at a job that I genuinely enjoy. So naturally this idea of self preservation has come about; I want to preserve this space for internal growth I have created. Self-care has morphed into a buzz word. Along with “woke” and “activist”, it is becoming rather annoying to see and hear on every social media platform and every conversation in the black community HOWEVER, it does still hold merit.
Self-care is synonymous with self preservation and peace of mind. It is a routine used to protect your mental and emotional health as you face harsh and overwhelming conditions. As I progress in my journey, I am learning how to be unapologetically selfish. I believe most people concerned with obtaining full equity/equality deserve to be so. Many times, our ideologies cause us to be too selfless, exhausting ourselves for everyone else’s comfort. I don’t ever want to stop caring, but in order to be able to help others, I need to know how to help myself first. Here are the 5 ways I have effectively practiced self-care.
1. Cutting People Out Of Your Life
Not everyone deserves your time and attention. If you’re anything like me, you care, alot. Too much, at times. You check in on friends that never do the same, you are always the first one to make plans. You make it be known that you are there. If you are the only one in that relationship taking initiative to preserve it, you probably should fall all the way back. That isn’t to say something negative about the other person. This individual just might not be able to put the same energy in to make the relationship fruitful. So for my own sanity, some people got cut off. I just cut someone off a couple of hours ago. But hey, I know what time I’m worth and if our watches aren’t ticking the same, you gotta go…for my own sanity.
2. Not Negotiating Your Ethics and Morals
“My name is MY name”. I say this quote multiple times a week. (Any fans of The Crucible? No? Okay). Basically, it is a declaration of stance. You’re name is you and if you bend who you are, your name is tainted. This is more internal than anything. Will you be able to live with yourself? I wouldn’t be able to. Therefore, I hold tight to what I believe in. I’m not giving in for anything or anyone and if I find myself in an environment where I’m being challenged to bend who I am and what I believe in, I will remove myself. I won’t stay for status, money, reputation, or a person. THAT I can live with. This is not to be confused with being open minded vs. close minded.
Above everything else, I consider myself a student. I graduated from University in May of 2016 however, I still look over old lecture notes on various topics, and I currently have both a calculus and precalculus app downloaded on my phone. Not only do I relearn some lessons, but I also use coursera and put myself through free courses. Eventually, I will go back to school. However, in the meantime, self taught lessons keep me on my toes and give my mind some other content outside of the brutality faced by black, brown, and LGBT bodies.
4. Speaking Things Into Existence
This has been the greatest switch for me in the past year. I’ve recently come across people expressing their fatigue over the good energy talk. Well, I will continue to talk about good energy. Why? Pardon my french but THAT SH*T WORKS and I am very passionate about it. What it won’t work for: ending racism, sexism, classism and any other -ism you think of but spiritually, it is the reason my cup is filled and my plate is full. It’s not ignoring the cons and negativity of life but rather acknowledging them, accepting them, and knowing you will be okay because your life depends on it. It’s a positive surviving mechanism. I know more things will go wrong in my journey, I may find myself in a predicament worse than any predicament I have been in thus far but speaking the positive outcome into existence is setting in stone the idea of “by any means” necessary. It creates a drive in me to get whatever I need accomplished, in order to ensure that what I desire or need will be in my possession.
5. Putting Yourself First
This is ultimate selfishness. There is a negative association with doing things for your own benefit but sometimes, it is essential to longevity in life. Whenever a new endeavor is in front of me, I ask myself “do I want to do this?” This applies to your personal life and professional life. We are so programmed to hold onto certain social norms that we forget that we can say no. Let me remind you…
IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO
Set those boundaries for yourself. Put yourself and your feelings first. Being uncomfortable is crucial for growth but so is an establishment of your space. Every once in awhile, put your own feelings and priorities first and watch how much your environment changes for you.
Putting yourself first may also include doing things you have been holding off on. Take that vacation. Go get that trainer and put the gym back in your life. Start that cooking class. Attend more paint and sips. LIVE.
Breaking patterns is not easy. Establishing patterns is even harder, but the change I have seen in my wellness through my new approach to life reminds me that it is worth it. This is all because I have incorporated self-care into my daily diet. You don’t ever want to forget about the injustices happening in the world. At the same time, while fighting for freedom, it is important to avoid becoming a mental and emotional slave to the images and current events that fuel us to keep fighting. Establish that freedom in your spirit and let it serve as an example of what freedom feels like in society.
An Ode to Self-Care.