What I know about self care is that it is more than the bubble baths, the sweet smelling candles, pedicures, and facials. Although all of those things are important to treating yourself, they are not fundamentally self-care enough to truly care for yourself when you are broken.
I love coming to Creston Vibes at Creston Brewery for their Dope Open Mic. The hosts Kyd Kane and Bri are entertaining, woke, and . The first time I went there, I felt comfortable enough to get up and tell a story. I love this place. I love this vibe.
They engage the audience, small but mighty that it is, by encouraging interactivity with an out cry of “Love and Peace” when they say “Peace and Love”. This doesn’t sound very compelling or powerful. But when someone says “Peace and Love” and you loudly and proudly respond with energy, they are right, it does change the energy of the room and the energy flowing through you.
I appreciate that both of the hosts are young dykes, out and proud. I appreciate that they both are women of color. I appreciate that they use their voices to speak of love, peace, peace, love, social justice, and changing energy. They create a wonderful and safe space for people to speak their poem, sing their songs, or tell their stories.
Creston Brewery also has a LESBIAN brew mistress 😉 (and she is one of the dynamic hosts of Creston Vibes) and amazing and creative dishes. Last night, I had the reuben and tomato soup. The tomato soup just looked like a bowl of pureed tomatoes but it tasted INCREDIBLE. #hipster #trendy #localbrews #supportlocal
I wasn’t planning on telling a story last night but one of the hosts, Kyd, encouraged me to sign up. what the hell? LIke, literally, I know NO ONE there so if I fall on my face and look stupid as fuck (I don’t think I did but still…) it wouldn’t matter too much. Why the hell not?
The theme was self-care sessions. I wasn’t sure what I would talk about. What the hell? Total brain fail since this last year of my life has been a concentrated, focused adventure in self-care sessions. I literally created my own 30 day challenge, (Me) Fall in Love with ME Challenge, to solidify self-care/love practices for myself.
I talked about that challenge briefly. But I started out talking about the stages of self-care and how that changes as my kids grew up.
When my kids were little, I homeschooled them. It was such a blessing to be able to stay home and capture all of those special moments with them but it was also draining and exhausting to never have any space to myself, including my own body.
I remember when i was pregnant with #5. I was sitting on the floor in the kids’ bedroom, reading out loud to them. #4 was still nursing because it was important to me that each child get a full year of breastfeeding even if I was still pregnant. I was 8 months pregnant at the time. #4 crawled over my big belly, onto my lap, sort of, and demanded some “nursin’s”. I fed her and finished reading to them. I went to my room and just started sobbing because “I just want my body back”. I had an alien growing in me so my body wasn’t my own and a child demanding sustenance from my breasts. Again, not my own. I gave the kids everything I had including all of my hydration. At that time, my self-care involved going to bed and maybe getting a couple hours of sleep.
As they developed, my self care sessions changed. One day, I just decided, “enough”. I had had enough of never having anything for myself. I made a big, lush, and beautiful salad. I sat down to eat it and I refused to share. EAch one of the kids asked for a bite. I refused. I sat, not in peace, and ate my exquisite salad. Each bite was savored. I felt so triumphant eating my own food and not sharing. The kids didn’t starve to death. In fact, it was an important parenting lesson for me. After that experience, my kids thought salads were the best thing in the world because you know, if you deny a child something, IT MUST BE AMAZING and they must have it. My kids have eaten their vegetables and salads since that time. #parentingwin #selfcareispowerful
The next stage of my self care involved deciding to leave my ex-husband. He was abusive. He was so many things that were not loving to me or my children. That is another long sordid story but suffice it say that leaving a 14 year marriage with 8 small children and not having a job or a trade was not obvious as a self care session but it was a self care session because I deserved to be loved without violence. #uncomfortableselfcare #findingthejuicy
After leaving, I realized that every single one of my panties and bras were either stained or falling apart. For so many years, I had put myself at the bottom of the list for personal items that all of my undies were wrecked. I felt gross and unsexy. I decided that day that I will never put stained drawers on my body again. I deserved clean and whole underwear. I spent money that I shouldn’t have spent (kids still didn’t starve though!) at Victoria’s Secret. It was an investment in me and that is priceless. #noregrets #unseenselfcare
Within several years, I came out as a lesbian. I didn’t have many friends. I started meeting women online but it was challenging to meet them locally without a gathering place. I needed community. I didn’t know I needed community but I needed community. My family was unsupportive, more importantly, they were more than unsupportive, they were toxic and destructive to me. I met a few people. We started a lesbian community to enhance the existing community that I finally discovered. An important component of self-care is realizing when to ask for help and that you do not have to do things alone. Community is self-care sessions in a grander scale. I am never alone unless I want to be alone. I have a tribe that I have carefully collected and curated that love me AND love each other.
I could have shared so many other things but I got nervous. I didn’t write anything down prior to telling my story. Self-care is going to involve being more prepared. Self-care is going to ask how long I can talk and how long I have been talking. It felt short. It could have been long. Either way, I felt that going to Creston Vibes and trusting myself and others to keep me safe in an uncomfortable space while allowing me to explore new horizons was another self-care session. Staying in the same position (to me) means I am stuck. Expanding my reach, expanding my skills, and taking chances is another self-care session.
Thanks, Creston Vibes.
This is what I know about self-care…
Self-care is loving yourself through the shitty things you have done. Self-care is refusing to be a people pleaser anymore even if it means losing someone you think you love. Self-care is walking away from the abusive relationship even when you don’t know how you will support yourself. Self-care is forgiveness of yourself and others. Self-care is taking up space, not saying sorry for existing, or not making yourself smaller to make others feel bigger. Self-care is challenging yourself to be bigger, do more, and TRUST YOUR POWER.