Self-Care as Catalyst

Crystals on my toilet. Incense nubs in my plants. Art by  Carol Roque . Photo by  Carolina Rodriguez .

Crystals on my toilet. Incense nubs in my plants. Art by Carol Roque. Photo by Carolina Rodriguez.

Internet! I've had a powerfully abundant/overwhelming couple of months. I've been freelancing for female owned wellness businesses (that's a thing I do), dreaming up a biz/life/community plan that I hope to be able to share real soon, plotting a pod with Ms. Katie Dalebout, writing and illustrating a zine with my love, answering questions for Vice via Toridotgovdotcom... and hustling at my full-time job. And trying to love my friends with all my might except my might is pretty depleted. And building on the relationships that are most important to me except I'm an exhausted and emotionally reactive puppy and I fall asleep during crucial conversations.

This is such a "well, duh!" thing, but I've been noticing more and more that what I give my energy to actually thrives. When I pour myself into a project or person, that endeavor blossoms like a tenacious weed (I think it's time we start praising wild tenacity over cultivated perfection, so to clarify: I like weeds). But the rub is this: when I have too many things -- too many vessels to pour myself into -- no one vessel brims with Rose. Everyone and everything gets the dregs of me.

We often think that we care for people and things we already love, but it’s also true that as we care for people and things, we come to love them. It works on us too: as we care for ourselves, we come to love ourselves. Self-care leads to self-love.
— Amelia Hruby, Radical Self-Love - Real Power

This ^^^ gem came from a zine I picked up at Chicago Zine Fest by my friend Amelia, and isn't it true? Self-love is discussed as though it ought to be automatic -- of course, of course you should love and prioritize yourself automatically. You are the only shining example of you in the universe and must treat yourself as such. But it really doesn't work that way. No amount of invalidated validation ever really convinced anyone of love. The way to prove love is through action and presence. When you show up for your people, fully and with enough energy to spare -- and listen to them or snuggle them as they cry or make art with them or prepare food for them or hide plastic Easter eggs full of treats around their respective apartments -- that proves love. Only that.

And so, when you're doling out your energy, make sure to reserve some for you. Catalog the things you know you need to be the happiest you, and if you're neglecting anything on that list, figure out which cup you can steal from. I will be donating my own energy to the Reflective Writing Fund and the Unadulterated Alone Time fund because I'm v kind and charitable... to myself. Sometimes. (All too rarely.) But when I am; when I put on my air mask first, when I say no to an invitation so I can go home and meditate or clean my bathtub or go to sleep at 9:30pm, I actually grow my energy supply. I become capable of giving more, which is what we all want. We're all trying to give more.

Just give to yourself first.