This is the first time in my life I have given myself permission to not quickly resolve or solve any emotions that cannot be simply labeled as happy or good. This is the first time I am allowing myself to sit quietly with feelings and emotions that are uncomfortable, a bit murky, and a bit muddled. My normal mode of operating is to identify that an emotion isn't "good" and then figure out how to not feel it as soon as possible. I thought what I was doing was healthy, but lately I have been realizing I wasn't resolving anything, I was just suppressing the emotions and feelings and slowly over time it became much more unbearable.
And it isn't that I swept these feelings under the rug. It was more, if I could put a label on it, assign it to a pretty little trinket box, it made me feel like I took care of it. The feelings were "managed" because I organized it after a brief acknowledgement of "Yup, yup, you're there. Cool, cool, now let's put you away so you don't bother anyone."
In my earlier journal entry, most people who know me in real life, who I have always shown up as my lighthearted, light filled self, are having a bit of a time adjusting that I actually am not that ALL the time, and that itself is OK. My husband every morning the past week has been asking "Are you feeling better now? Are you ok now?" and I have started to tell him "I am allowing myself to sit with my feelings. There is nothing wrong with me, I am just being, and right now me just being looks like this."
For the past few months I have been doing so much acts of self care because I didn't realize how much I was, am hurting. And you know, it isn't a particular or singular thing, person, or event. It is just years, upon years of suppressing waves and bouts of sadness, anger, disappointment, of not standing up for myself and not creating stronger boundaries to protect my peace, my time, and my heart.
In a way acts of self care have been a way for me to self soothe without realizing that's what I was doing. Often times I think of self care as more of acts of rewarding myself for working really hard or getting through a difficult season, but lately I have been doing acts of self care as what I think the actual purpose is, to CARE FOR ONE'S SELF.
And I feel dumb to even be admitting this. I mean literally, No Duh Einstein! The words are literally SELF CARE. But sometimes the proverbial apple just has to smack you in the center of your face for it to register a bell. And sometimes, in my case, it has to smack you a couple of times before you notice "Oh! Ow! Fuck! That hurts, why are you throwing apples?" Self care shouldn't be something we do for ourselves just once in awhile when the going gets tough and we made it. It should be an act of kindness we give to ourselves daily. To care, nourish, tend, and hold space for myself feels kind of foreign and even selfish and I recognize there is a voice inside of me that goes "Wow, you're really self absorbed aren't you?" (Weird, it sounds like my Mom's voice... but let's not get into THAT.)
My Acts of Self CareHere are some ways I have practiced caring for myself these past few months and perhaps they will inspire you: Painting my nails (I've been loving deep red, and dark blood red almost brown), wearing perfume, taking long baths with essentials oils and CBD, wearing pretty slips and silk kimonos, brushing my hair, massaging my scalp in the shower, using a pumice stone on my feet, listening to records, baking fresh bread, baking pies, making crafts, lighting a fire in the fireplace, lighting candles, working by candlelight, listening to sad ethereal music, long conversations with people I feel safe with, meandering through bookstores and taking pictures for my "dream library", taking hot yoga classes, wearing screen fatigue glasses, organizing my sweaters, buying art books, listening to new audio books, and buying pretty everyday objects for our home (glassware and flatware).
Something to Believe - Weyes Blood
Loose Garment - MUNA
Crying All the Time - Alexandra Savoir
Fade Into You - Mazzy Star
Glimpse of Us & Die For You - Joji
Both Sides Now - Luke Sital-Singh
Song to the Siren - This Mortal Coil
The Departure - Max Richter
Flown - Julianna Barwick
And anytime I have done these acts I feel momentarily happy and then feel that pang of angst again and I know that doing these acts of self care isn't the answer. The answer is to sit with it and take it one bite size piece at a time. And let each bite linger and not be so quick to identify and label and rather just hold the emotion for a bit and notice how it feels coursing through my body. The goal isn't to be rid of it as soon as humanly possible. The goal is to let it be known to me so I can look at it with honesty and openness and acceptance. And then after that, I can plan to take action. But it is a slow process and in my own self soothing way, allowing myself to romanticize the slow process of unearthing, unboxing, and unwrapping the tender and sad things that I haven't given my attention to.
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