when one thinks of activities and items that fall under the umbrella of "self-care," one generally thinks of warm and fuzzy things. things that make you feel good now. slippers. silky slips of underwear dotted with ribbon roses. Bath & Body Works Vanilla Sugar body cream. baking cookies on a rainy afternoon. a real grown-up vacation to someplace exotic where clean towels multiply like Gremlins and pina coladas grow on trees.
bored the other night at work, i did a quick search on Amazon.com using the following keywords.
self-love: 36,284 books
self-care: 21,158 books
self-comfort: 3,383 books
self-nurture: 1,924 books
i know many of these books serve a purpose. i'm sure i've read many of them. i'm sure a number of them rest on my bookshelves just waiting for me to crack them open so they can SAVE MY LIFE.
here's the thing though - i don't think a single one of them tells you that an act in the name of self-care can often feel like someone has scraped the innards of your soul out with one of those little grapefruit spoons with a serrated edge. sitting there raw and exposed and bleeding, you try try try to wrap your noggin around the fact that the Someone who did this to you is YOU, and you did it as an act of self-loooooooooove.
yes, it's called taking care of yourself and sometimes, it sucks ass.
we go to the ob-gyn. we go to the gym. we go to the dentist knowing that we are putting our tender mouths into the hands of a strange Egyptian man who knows all the Muzak tunes by heart and wears Drakkar Noir, the same cologne your high school boyfriend wore (oh God, please don't try to make out with me, Dr. G). we go anyway, because we know the torture we endure today is nothing compared to the torture we will be forced to endure as a toothless geriatric gumming scrambled eggs while the rest of the world masticates Kobe steak with their cared for canines.
yeah, so you do things that you know know know in the short run are going to hurt like the dickens. you shell out $550 for a plane ticket home for the holidays even though you'd rather, oh i dunno, pay rent. you get tested for the breast cancer gene even though it scares you shitless, and it might be easier to not know that you're that much more likely to die (or not) breastless and alone. you decide to draw some emotional boundaries that greatly change the landscape of your day to day life, and you sorta loved that landscape, bumpy and uncertain though it was.
but you sacrifice in the short run because you know you deserve more in the long run.
self-care is eating eggs now, so we can have steak later. i just wish they tasted better going down.