#SelfCare: It Doesn't Smell Like Sandalwood or Gwyneth's Vag.
Self Care is getting deadset flogged at the moment. The trouble is, actually caring for oneself looks nothing like running a bubble bath, fondling your lady parts, listening to Enya with the scent of sandalwood or that £58 candle that smells like Gwyneth Paltrow’s vag. Whatever is wafting up your nostrils, the requirement for such “consumer” self care is often rooted in our lack of desire or awareness in the greater need to partake in the less glamorous forms of self-care, meaning instead we create a life we constantly need intentional breaks from before we fucking lose our proverbial shit in a proverbial shitstorm.
Well what is Self-care if not a candle smelling like the clacker of an American celeb?
Real self-care often makes you vomit a bit in your own mouth. You’ll prob have to swallow it again too. It’s uncomfortable, maybe painfully so – like say, the first 18 times you try anal (I've heard on the 19th its an absolute treat...). Or sometimes it’s boring, like silent missionary sex, when you can hear the junkies fighting in the housing trust units 2kms away. It’s very often doing the things we least want to do and looks nothing like a reward.
It looks like enforcing a boundary as tight as the WA border [*Refer Footnote] for when you will and won't work or speaking up for the way you will tolerate being treated by someone in your life. It looks like a choice to show up differently for yourself. It is risking displeasing / upsetting others or a willingness to let people go, whether it be a toxic friend or a romantic interest who can’t give you what you want. These things don’t feel like a trip to the spa for a fucking Swedish massage from Sven and his "magic thumbs", they feel like loss or sacrifice or pain that vibrates into your heart ventricles. Or they are scary, the kind of scary that creates a knot the size of Nadal’s (tennis) balls in your gut or your throat because it’s gonna take drawing every ounce of power from your own lady-balls (non-tennis) to feel you deserve to ask for or do what you need to.
Real Life Examples.
We’ve all been there, in the Dicksand, drowning in lust/love/endorphins … waiting for the casual to be serious, for the unavailable to become available. Self-care is walking away from sinking in the Dicksand because REALLY you want Peentopia (or <insert other relevant genitalian paradise>) with your perfect person. It’s calling bullshit on saying to yourself “IT’S FINE”, compromising on what you really want and the fact that you 100% deserve to be chosen by someone who is sure about you. This is the shit that in the moment, feels like we are losing, but self-care is letting go because in letting go we honour our real desires and don’t allow someone who doesn’t choose us to turn into a challenge on our self-worth that we’re trying to disprove. Letting go is reclaiming our power to choose and the future chance to be TRULY happy over instant/present gratification.
Sometimes self-care looks like taking time to heal or to do the work, to rewrite your past stories that create present negative behaviours or to stop pretending that a distraction is a resolution. Let me be clear there is no judgement here, I am an absolute fiend for the comforting distraction found in procrastination, sex, drugs, Tommy’s margharitas, dying my hair red and becoming a sassy (but fun) menace to society before I finally take stock and decide there’s shit to be sorted. In my own life this has looked like learning how not to play the "victim" when I get hurt and step into the power in my control over my response.
Maybe it’s telling your boss Margaret (Oh yes ladies, I heard the patriarchy are letting women into management positions now…my.my.my) that you won’t be working til 2am and doing half of Roy’s job because well, that’s fucking ludicrous but knowing that doesn’t make you a less dedicated employee (because you will still dedicate the shit out of yourself, doing your own job, during business hours) but rather that Margaret has herself a resourcing shortage and an employee performance issue that warrant a coupla cheeky convos.
GUYS SOMETIMES… (this is the boring part) Self-care is just eating a vegetable each day. For nutrients. For your body. Which needs nutrients for energy, to be well. Yes, because sometimes self-care is responsibility.
Self Care is Stopping the Tit-Punches.
Self care is stopping the exhausting daily ritual of continually tit-punching ourselves for just being human. It’s giving yourself permission to be less than perfect, realising even in your imperfection you are still being so much more than enough and you don’t need “fixing”. It’s allowing yourself to live and enjoy yourself in the “mess” without self-judgement, whether it be a messy loungeroom or a messy breakup. It’s dropping unrealistic high standards or ceasing the unrelenting pressure on yourself to perform, achieve and be everything and instead looking at yourself with acceptance, compassion and love rather than criticism. It’s taking time to recognise what you do achieve and everything you are, instead of what you are not. Like a leech on the buttocks of your life, these will suck your energy faster than a Hen’s Boat Party on Sydney Harbour downs the cheap Rose.
It’s in engaging in the self-care that focusses on how we genuinely FEEL good, every day that stops us from needing an escape hatch from our lives, to dive in the bath tub with a bottle of chardonnay and a straw seeking reprieve. Creating a life you don’t need a break from isn’t (necessarily) one where you quit your job and you chase waterfalls in a high-cut bikini, eating acai bowls #wanderlusting over everyone… It’s a sustainable life, at a sustainable pace that you feel content about.
JUST DO IT? I’m not a fucking Running Shoe....
Now, this is all fine and fucking dandy isn’t it.… but apart from general awareness that we aren’t necessarily engaging in non-glam self-care, there is another reason we don’t all as Nike says: “Just do It” and in reality it feels harder than a cheerful morning boner in the back. That reason is that we lack the confidence to speak up or the belief that we are worthy and deserving to ask for more, or that it will look like we are failing, or that people will question our abilities. These beliefs are brought to life in our inner dialogue, as we question ourselves.
My suggestion here is to EMBRACE THE EGO as a tool to craft an inner dialogue to support your change. Ego gets a bad wrap frequently due to its inherent association with the arrogance of a man walking round with a huge dong banging against his thigh, but the ego in fact has a really positive useful role in boosting our self belief. The ego is the voice of supreme confidence, the voice that says you’re everything and more, the voice that gives zero fucks, the voice that says “I’ll do me thanks” or pipes up with, “Oi if we want more, not only do we deserve it, we will get it”. This is the inner dialogue we need to hear for change, for courage, for worthiness
Ego Positivity: Call in the Inner Dialogue of the Absolute 10.
I have spent time with a lovely male human of late, who I realise possesses a certain mindset that could be useful to us all in channeling our positive ego inner chat. He is a delightful paradox of confidence and a highly endearing humility who therefore (only somewhat in jest I believe) frequently enquires how it feels for me to be "in the presence of an absolute 10 [out of 10]”. I of course in turn LOL because it's super cute/I love it and respond with, “I am not sure, I will let you know when I am sitting by myself after you leave”, after which someone has to call an ambulance to rush him to hospital for a full new set of skin because *OUCH* was that a 3rd degree burn…
But this is mindset we need to channel. The 10 out of 10 mindset.
WHAT IS MY INNER DIALOGUE WHEN I AM CHOOSING TO CARE FOR MYSELF, AS A GODDAMN 10 OUT OF 10 HUMAN….?
It sounds a bit like this…
· Have I earned this? Of course I have.
· Do I deserve the best? Of course I do. Nothing but the best.
· Can I say no? Of course I can because I only say fucking YES to things that are actually a FUCK YES.
· Is this person rejecting me? God lord no. They’re not where I’m at, so I’m letting them go.
· What if I lose them? The only people who leave when a boundary is put in place, are the people who were unfairly benefitting from it not being there. Those aren’t my people.
· What if someone thinks I’m lazy? I don’t care what other people think… I am an absolute machine, I know that.
· Am I doing enough? Yes. Everyday I fucking show up, do my best and that is fucking phenomenal. No further questions. Thanks for coming.
· Am I enough? I am a fucking 10 out of 10. That is the highest you can get. Of course I am. *BOOM*
I know many will read this and think - that’s ridiculous, because I don’t believe it for a second. You might not consciously believe it BUT turns out your sub-conscious mind will. Your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between pretend and real, it’s one situation where “fake it til you make it” is actually a very effective strategy, to genuinely start to change your beliefs about yourself through your inner dialogue. So: embrace it in all its ridiculous glory.
Alternatively, you can also embrace the ego mindset of *someone* who thought “I will make a candle that smells like my vagina and it will sell on a global scale for £58 a pop”…..
This feels relevant.
This isn’t meant to be a shopping list of all the ways you can go “OMG I don’t do that” and shame yourself for it, but rather to bring awareness to how you can start choosing yourself, to give yourself the best that you so deserve. How to start calling back your energy; truly caring for yourself through compassion, nurture and responsibility and to give yourself permission to do that and to create the inner dialogue that goes along with it. This energy means you can live a sustainable life, where cooling your tongue in 5 Aperol Spritzies under the fairy lights at The Oaks (Neutral Bay, not Double Bay [Eww] ) or lighting the wick on a cup full of wax smelling like Gwyneth P’s lady-flaps can be for your sheer enjoyment and not a last ditch effort to reclaim your sanity before you stick a takeaway fork in your eye.
And as you read that, I am sure I have captured what we are all thinking…. I will stick with Sandalwod Boxy, I will stick with Sandalwood.
[*Footnote: Fucking McGowan has since invalidated my hilarious WA boundary metaphor forcing me to add this footnote so I don’t look dumber than ScoMo playing the ukele on national television after using Jenny as a human shield. Come March 3rd the WA border will become as loose as the rest of Australia and should no longer be used as an example of a solid boundary. I would suggest deferring to the traditional metaphor of "a nun's cunt" for inspiration on how tight your boundaries should be]