Archives for posts with tag: self-care

Sipping coffee and thinking about cautions and warnings and good advice at the last possible minute, and strong recommendations against very foolhardy actions. All of that? Don’t do those things! lol From the earliest “don’t put that in your mouth” observations from childhood to the latest-in-life reminders to “wrap it up”, “vaccinate”, “don’t drive drunk” or “don’t reheat reheated leftovers again, especially after they’ve been out on the counter for hours”… and the lingering, oft-repeated, equally often disregarded “what the fuck are you doing??” – Don’t do the thing!!

I’m just noticing, I guess, how frequently the cautionary advice in life is seriously fucking basic.

It makes sense to refrain from just picking shit up off the floor or the ground and sticking it your mouth. Just saying, we generally grow out of that impulse fairly young, but… I do actually know folks who are “bare backing” their casual sexual encounters and don’t seem to realize how stupid “aw, hell, I mean, they don’t look like they have vd…” actually sounds. Excuses about not getting the flu shot don’t sound more reasoned. People still choose – deliberately choose – to drive while intoxicated, or exhausted. People still disregard the basics of kitchen hygiene at home and make themselves or their loved ones sick with food borne illnesses, regularly (they’d never pay money to eat in that kitchen, though, and they’d raise hell if they got food poisoning from a restaurant).

Take care of yourself. Skillfully done, good self-care enhances a lifetime – potentially a longer one. I’m not sure it even takes more effort to heed wise cautions, and to care for ourselves with the same attention we bring to our jobs. Isn’t it mostly a matter of choices? Of listening? Of acting in our own best (long-term) interests?

What’s stopping you? What’s holding you back from a life well-lived, and from enjoying the results of good decision-making?

I reflect on my own failures to take my own best advice to heart. I reflect on how my emotional qualify of life can influence my practical decision-making. I consider where I can improve, and what choices I can make differently, every day. I find myself wondering if taking steps to practice the very best, most skillful, self-care has any positive outcome for the world… or just for me…

…Soon enough, I notice it is already time to begin again. 🙂

Sometimes self-care (or, just managing all the details of adulthood) is a bit like carrying all the groceries home without a bag, while riding a unicycle. Challenging, requiring extraordinary balance, and resulting in a lot of fucking juggling and shit being dropped. lol

There are dishes on my counter. 😦

My vanity is strewn with a couple days of earrings I’ve worn and not hung back up.

I haven’t  yet gotten on with my plan for re-organizing the studio to make room for my Traveling Partner’s music gear and whatnot.

The deck still looks like my landlord stacked all my potted plants willy-nilly against one wall (which is what he did do, and I have not yet restored order).

Well, shit. Still human. LOL

My nails need a touch up, the laundry needs done, the bed wants made (well, actually, it hasn’t said as much, I just prefer it made)… There are things to do, and at least for me, pretty much all of this tedious housekeeping and maintenance “bullshit” is part of my self-care; I do best in an orderly, tidy living space, that feels comfortable and cared for. It aggravates me and causes me stress when things slip, however briefly, and however inconsequentially. Few guests would look around and take note of the plate, coffee cup, and fork, rinsed and neatly sitting on the counter, waiting for me to empty the dishwasher of clean dishes. I do. That’s what matters; it nags at me. It reminds me of trauma, and past terror. Same with things like my unmade bed; who really fucking cares? Me. Laundry? Well, clean clothes are nice, and I’ve got weekend plans, and at least one item I’m thinking about wearing is in the laundry, so in a purely practical sense this is a chore that needs done, but…

I look around and allow myself to really see the untidiness as it is; not that bad. I allow myself to sit with both the acknowledgement that it isn’t that bad, and also the awareness that it is not as I prefer it. I allow myself to be aware that this feels like I’m letting myself down. While that’s uncomfortable, it’s also real – and okay. I breathe and let go of the stress over a neatly organized, rinsed, 1 meal stack of dishes on the counter. I’ve got this. Just needs some juggling, and attention to details.

Verbs. It also needs some verbs. Don’t forget the verbs.

Fucking hell, self-care is hard sometimes, yeah? Do the things. Do the stuff. Do the things and the stuff. Sort shit. Handle shit. Manage shit. Do tasks. Check in with self. Repeat. It’s a lot – and it sometimes feels like I’m doing battle just keeping myself on track with my self-care. Why the hell is this so hard? I get up and go to work every day like a fucking machine – how do I not also come home and relentlessly take care of me, also? (Easy answer? Not enough spoons.)

I’m still learning to “pace myself” in life. lol I am reminded of a humorous song, and pause myself to listen to it. Smiling I sip my coffee and remind myself that all of it takes practice, repetition, more practice, iterations of improvement over time, refinements based on what really works – and throughout all of it, I’ll still be quite human, quite prone to fatigue, totally likely to let something go another minute, or overlook something that in some other moment felt quite important to get done. All of it totally okay, and very very human. 🙂

I check the time. My coffee is done. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I planned. I prepared. I packed the car before I left for work, eagerly contemplating getting out of the office “early” (I’d already worked more than 40 hours this week, before Thursday event started, and part of that on my weekend, it wasn’t going to be “leaving early” any more than my “extra” day off tomorrow is really “time off”; I was just fucking done). Looked pretty good from the vantage point of beginning the work day – at 5:30 am.

1:00 pm came and went. Pretty much every minute of the day had, at that point, be spent fighting one small work-fire or another – for other people – and data entry.  A fucking mountain of it. I’m not actually complaining about that; it’s part of the job, and I am both skillful and fast. It’s annoying to be offered “help” with it, and spend still more time fixing mistakes – and the more fatigued I am from the extended work hours week after draining week, more and more of the mistakes I have been fixing have been my own. So human. I’m convinced everyone I work with is pretty spectacular, and working to the absolute limit of their ability, generally. I fight back tears of frustration so much more often than people realize.

2:00 pm came and went. I missed a ping from my Traveling Partner, asking if I’d left the office yet. He’s eager to see me and spend time together. I message back that I should be done soon.

3:00 pm came and went – more things break. More things to fix. More questions asked. More questions answered. Support this thing. Find that data. Finish this task, then that one. Swamped by low-priority non-negotiable workload, the minutes… are hard. I’m… so done. I’m aggravated by the long hours I end up choosing to work because the work needs to be done. No back up. Team of one. I have a few snarling “fuck this shit” moments, feeling, in the absence of immediate direct stimulus to the contrary, unappreciated. Here’s the thing, though; I’m very much appreciated, and valued. I even recognize that. In the moment, it’s still hard to feel overworked. It’s hard to have to choose self over profession – more often than I want it to be. I matter more. …But…but… money is a shortcut to quality of life. Fucking hell. Some days I feel so trapped.

As 4:00 pm approached, I started wrapping things up, even while recognizing there was more I could do. Of course there is. Always. Very few people work for organizations that understand structured managed workload based on organized routines and interdependent orders of operation. Most organizations just race at break-neck speed from crisis to crisis, reacting – regardless of how well or poorly they plan. I shrug thinking back on the day. It’s a business approach that keeps me employed. I manage chaos. I gently and firmly seek to impose order on chaos. Chaos won today. I don’t really feel like talking about work. lol

I finally got out of the office. Into the car. Couldn’t get myself to start the car. Stared at my phone awhile feeling… distant. Cut off. Confused. Irritated. Overwhelmed. I just wanted someone to help me figure out what to do next… which, considering I just left work, seems odd to me now; I tend to be so purposeful. I called my partner. No answer.

I called my partner. No answer.

I called my partner. No answer.

Fuck! I feel… left behind? “Ignored”? (Way to take it personally, when I know I’m… what exactly? Shit. What the hell?)

I called my partner. No answer.

I start the car and start driving… a direction. A quiet observant voice in the back of my thoughts suggestions I am not actually in any shape to be driving. I try to process that thought. It’s hard.

Where am I going?

The phone rings in the car. I click the phone button sort of… habitually. I don’t feel present. It’s my Traveling partner. Just the sound of his voice… I start crying like a little kid. I want to say that the whole day has been mean to me. I want to cry because nobody likes me (so emotional, so not a real thing – just feelings). I’m trembling all over and notice that I feel cold. We talk. He says words. I heard sounds. I hear emotion. His soft tender tone. “Take care of yourself…” I hear him encouraging me. I feel soothed. He suggests my blood sugar may be low. He’s probably right; I realize when he mentions it that I haven’t really taken the time I need to care for myself today, at all.

The phone call ends and I feel energized, cheerful, recharged… and my blood sugar is still low. And I’m still mired in rush hour traffic. And there’s no where good to stop. My frustration surges again. Tears spill over…

…Where am I going? I’ve ended up on the freeway, a small salad later, and I am apparently headed south for the weekend at a decent clip, thinking… okay, I can do this, this is fine…

Brake lights. So many brake lights for so far ahead. We sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Creep forward. Sit. Creep. Sit. Creep. Sit. The guy ahead of me is reading a newspaper with the overhead light in his car on. Creep forward. I figure maybe I should get off the highway, and take a rural route, and slowly move over just in time for the exit I want.

As I come around the curve of the ramp, I start noticing more how noise sensitive I also am. I’m also pretty nearly blinded by all the high intensity headlights that are so popular now; no divider, nothing to stop assholes with their high beams on from really fucking up my vision completely. Aging sucks ass. Fuck. I can’t see well enough to drive safely, I’m feeling reactive and noise sensitive – this shit isn’t about work at all, and it is very much about self-care. I turn left instead of right. Even though I’d been on the road at that point for almost 90 minutes, I was far closer to home than to the freeway headed south. lol I don’t even feel frustrated by the long drive home; I’m relieved to be out of the traffic.

My Traveling Partner catches up with me on the phone later. We agree that doing my usual early morning drive just makes sense. No one has hurt feelings over it. I mean, we miss each other, and yeah, I’ll admit I was crying for some minutes once I admitted to myself that I was not going to make the drive tonight – just pure disappointment and longing for the company of this human being I love so much. I’ve been home a little while. Car’s already packed. Some healthy calories later, a couple big glasses of water, an appropriate amount of cannabis for the need of the moment, and some unmeasured time meditating, I realize I didn’t write – again this morning. The sudden blast of resentment that blows through my consciousness catches me by surprise – without surprising me. I get it; it’s time to take back my time. 😉

It’s time to begin again.

Oddly, the title on this one has nothing whatever to do with the content. There’s probably a metaphor in that, somewhere. 😉

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about breakfast. It’s quite early; I got up at 5:00 am, and on a Saturday morning, many breakfast places that are not of the 24-hour variety aren’t even open. I’ve got time to consider it. Do I even want to spend the money? Leave the house? Make the drive? Do I even know where I’d want to go? When I consider the effort and bother, is it greater or less than the effort to make breakfast at home? (Less, so much less. lol) I spend a contented half hour on Google Maps searching “breakfast near me”, entertained by the fantasy of having breakfast out.

I straight up love breakfast out, and brunch is probably my favorite meal, ever, followed closely by high tea at the other end of a day. Lunch? Lunch is generally a compromised meal, taken hurriedly at my desk, while I work, or grabbed along the way on a weekend day. I rarely sit down for a proper lunch. Dinner? Meh. Dinner can be fancy, simple, elegant, ordinary – all the things – it can be at home or out, just as with breakfast and brunch, obviously, but dinner? It’s grown to bore me, somehow. I do my best with it. I rarely daydream about dinners. lol Thanksgiving. High holidays. That’s where dinner has some appeal for me, generally.

Here it is Saturday morning. I’m awake. I’m hungry. I have no interest in messing up my clean kitchen, or doing so and then having to restore its sparkle. lol I don’t have on hand the sort of things I both enjoy and can easily have, which also support my dietary needs. Well, that’s not entirely the case… I could poach a couple of eggs and rest them tastily on a bed of wilted greens, and eat them with some fresh fruit and hot coffee. Totally a thing I can – and do – have for breakfast, regularly. It’s not what I want. I want the fantasy of breakfast out. lol

We dream of the things that are often just out of reach, whether that’s for always or for the moment may be a matter of circumstance – but it could also be a choice. This morning, I’m definitely in decision-making territory on this one. I could go out to breakfast. Totally could. Is it the wise choice? Mmm… possibly not. As mistakes go, though, it’s not super costly (from this vantage point, before making the possible mistake)… I’d earnestly like to talk myself into it, or out of it, but at any rate, the indecision is beginning to shift from delightful moment of contemplation of a much-loved meal to feeling a tad aggravated with the whole matter; I’m hungry. My blood sugar is probably starting to decline.

Here’s the part of the journey where I have to commit to self-care or foolishness, and either admit that I am not going to care for myself well, or quick fucking about and take care of this fragile vessel! 😀

The fantasy, of course, is an elegant brunch on the order of a feast – seemingly endless choices, exceptionally well-prepared from only the very highest quality ingredients, offered at an honest price – and all at my whim, with an excellent cup of coffee, besides. I get some major mileage out of my daydreams; there is no such meal to be had within miles and miles and miles. LOL I could, however, drive to a restaurant specializing in breakfast, once they open, queue up with all the other folks seeking an exceptional breakfast, deal with the stares and discomfort of being a plump middle-aged woman eating alone, make a careful choice from a limited menu and drink a fairly terrible cup of shitty diner coffee with an otherwise agreeably delicious meal… easy win there. Lots of choices.

Making a choice, even an “easy” one, can be… hard. Too many options. LOL The options are all rather similar. Too little variety. Americans, in general, seem to have a fairly limited palate, actually, and don’t much go for “weird food” (anything that isn’t entirely ordinary and generally fairly bland and familiar), this inevitably limits what is available. Businesses tend to cater to the greatest demand.

I finally get sufficiently frustrated with the entire concept of breakfast or brunch or meals or choices that I smash up a couple hard-boiled eggs in a bowl, microwave them with a drizzle of olive oil, some sea salt and black pepper, with some left over veggies, and eat them contentedly. It’s enough. It is, in fact, sufficient to the point that I lose interest in food entirely for the time being… and just…

…Enjoy the metaphor of a foggy morning – remaking the experience with choices…

…And begin again. There’s an entire day ahead to enjoy. 🙂

Every choice we make has a result. An outcome. A consequence. The things we seek in life come at a cost, even when the cost is “only” time.

I am drinking a lot of water today. Tap water. Canned scented fizzy water. Iced tea. It is a warm day, and staying hydrated makes sense as basic good self-care. I definitely don’t want to let myself become “dried out” on a warm summery day immediately after getting tattooed; it’s not ideal for healing skin to become dehydrated.

I’ve spent much of the day, rather unexpectedly, sleeping. Sure, last night was a late night (for me), and I didn’t get to bed until sometime shortly past 2 am, but today is Sunday and I could sleep as long as I needed to… and somehow still woke up at 6:30 am. I went back to bed. Got up at 8:30. By 10:30 I was feeling like I could nap… and I “laid down for a minute”, which resulted in waking up sometime past noon. So the day has gone. Between naps, I have meditated. Showered. Tended the container garden on my patio. Done dishes. Read. It’s been a full day, and I am content, but there is nothing to argue with when I say I have spent most of the day napping. lol

The tattoo is gorgeous, although not yet finished. I feel more me, when I see it in my reflection. It builds on a much older tattoo, adding context, size, and a suggestion of greater-than-obvious depth of meaning. The colors are vibrant. The work is a collaboration of visions; mine, and that of the tattoo artist doing the work. There are unexpected moments of discovery for me, as I examine the color work more closely over time. Here, too, self-care matters (for all I know, I’m sleeping so much today because my body wants that for healing time after being tattooed for more than 4 hours). Drinking more water, getting more rest – those are only part of the basic self-care involved in this tattoo being gorgeous a really long time. I keep it clean, cool the modest amount of inflammation with ice packs now and then, and keep it moistened gently (and hygienically). I never ever touch it with unwashed hands while it is healing. I keep it covered from the sun. Small things that all matter. My shoulder is a bit stiff from the small amount of inflammation caused by being artistically “attacked” with a tiny needle for hours, and that’s to be expected. The surface of my skin stings a bit, but mostly only immediately after I’ve cleaned it and re-moisturized; like any abrasion sort of injury, it doesn’t like being touched. The price I pay for this beautiful art is a small amount of discomfort, and some time spent caring for it. (And money; an artist’s time is worth paying for!) Seems worth it.

Hilariously, the big driver of getting this particular work done was primarily to balance the considerably larger tattoo on the other shoulder. Fail sauce is liberally poured over that notion at this point, as the new work is quite a bit larger than the piece I sought to balance. LOL I’m not even bothered by that; I already know what is needed to make that right. (Yes, for me, the balance and hint at symmetry do matter. 🙂 Other things may matter to you.) 😀 The other reason to get this tattoo is simply the experience of being tattooed, which I have notice tends to provide me with some fairly profound pain relief for a couple days – no Rx required. 🙂 Feels good, today, to feel good.

The day has been entirely spent on self-care. I notice at some point it is also Mother’s Day. If you’re a mother, well happy day to you, then. 🙂 I’m not, and the awareness of the day comes and goes.

I notice I am already feeling rather inclined to nap, again, but it is past 7 pm, and tomorrow is a work day. I make the necessary mental adjustment in my approach, and hold onto the awareness that what is needful, now, is to stay up until it is properly bedtime, based on my own needs, and then call it a night at that time, to get the best shot at a good night’s sleep before work. My sleep has been disturbed since the last party weekend down south. I yawn and laugh at myself – it’s only taken a week, but it looks like I’ll be back on track tonight… unless of course, I wake up at 2 am. LOL

I see the new ink reflected back at me in a mirror, coming back from getting yet another delicious cold water-y beverage. Grapefruit scented fizzy water tastes very much like summer, somehow. It’s gone quickly. The tattoo, of course, is still there. It reminds me of new beginnings, and longer journeys. It reminds me that beginning again is largely a matter of will (my own) and choice – and there are verbs involved. It reminds me that the journey itself is the destination.

I smile contentedly, unconcerned with whether this post is sufficiently meaningful, insightful, or “worthy” by any measure but my own. The evening sun through the window warms me gently. Tomorrow is soon enough to begin again. There is time tonight to take care of me. 🙂