The Need for Self Care

Prioritizing self care is one of the most valuable decisions I've ever made. It's a recent decision, made when the trauma of ingesting American politics reached unbearable levels of emotional and mental toxicity.

One day a few months ago, my body almost involuntary began to reach for something that I could control. In the very early hours of a November morning (after that somber November nightー you know the one), I clicked out of my news feeds, turned on some music, and began organizing a closet in my apartment. That moment became a worship experienceー each newly folded article of clothing whispered "I am;" the sound of the broom hummed "It is well." For the first time in weeks, I felt as if I were on solid ground. I knew then that self care, the practice of honoring as sacred the needs of my whole being, was not a luxury as I had originally thought. Instead, it was an essential act of resistance to an iniquitous world that feeds me poison then chastises me for still being hungry.

To practice self care is to insist that all of who I am is worth tending to. The refusal to accept the pecking order that places poor and black low on the list begins with first thrusting my life higher up. So now I take time to cook big breakfasts of eggs, kale and rice. I light a candle and boil water for tea. I sit down, and say "no" to proddings encouraging me to internalize the latest vitriol from political leaders. I didn't make that mess, and will not wallow in it. I am not the problem.

To be clear, this isn't willful ignorance. I'm not avoiding the necessary work that must be done to right wrongs. It's really the opposite: I now recognize that the world I want to inhabit requires more of my attention than the world that perversely thrives at my expense. There's too much work to be done, and the contributions within my gifted being are too valuable to be given anything less than utmost care.