(SeLoFest17 Post: Day 2, click here for day 1.)
Around the summer of 2016, I was at at a paradoxal high in my love life but personal low. I was once again battling an intense depression while in a relationship that was bringing me a lot of adventure, travel, new knowledge, and of course, love.
I knew, even before I began the relationship, that if I did not figure out a way to save myself, that I would not be able to continue this or any relationship. But I did not have the resources I needed to take care of myself. I had spent 2015 and early 2016 shattering all of my comfort zones, which made for an extravagant lesson, but concluded in me being, unsurprisingly, completely uncomfortable (Who could have ever guessed, right? /Sarcasm) I found myself, through the choices I had made, in the middle of nowhere (20 minutes away from Bordeaux) in a big, cold, cobblestone country house without a job, my money was running out,and I was in a relationship that while was loving, fun, and adventurous I knew was temporary due to many other qualities in the relationship and my partner that made it so that it would never be stable or what I needed. Everything about my life was aimless, I wasn’t sure where I was going but I was sure I didn’t want to go there, and I did not know how to take myself out of that situation.
Once again, unsurprisingly, I entered into full crisis mode once time started to run out on my relationship, and my living arrangement which up until now had been the only stability I had, however uncomfortable it had been.
Through the full grace of love and the blessing and privilege that is my family and my parents, I was able to get out of that situation with minimal harm to myself. I had undergone a severely damaging period of my life, the constant self-hatred and lack of self-care had made my mind felt sick, and my body heavy. My foot had been hurt during roller derby practice and ever since, the rest of my body had continued to block. I physically, mentally, and emotionally felt blocked. It was because of the space my family and friends held for me during December and January that I was able to start this process in February. Being ok takes work. And not everyone knows what that work looks like. But if we don’t try, then we’ll never get it.
I we do not actively try and take care of ourselves, then we cannot hope to feel better. I am so grateful for my mother and step-dad for everything they did. But I have to take care of myself as well.
The Prompt: What activities do you do to take care of yourself? What aspects of yourself have you let fall behind and could use some taking care of? How are you actively hurting yourself?
Activity: Make a list or diagram of things that you could do to take care of yourself. Divide it by: Mental, Physical, Emotional, Community, and then one or two Personal things. For example perhaps you’re a parent, or you’re very spiritual, or you’re an artist, and you need to make a special list for things you need as a parent that you may not need if you weren’t a parent.) Ask your friends, use google, or think about past methods or things you’d like to try and come up with some things you can do every day, and other things you can do weekly. Consider learning to cook different meals, something that’s good for you, or any kind of physical activity that might be appropriate for your body and health, such as stretching, yoga, walking, swimming or dance classes. Under “community” think about how you are giving to your community, whoever that may be. Your family? Coworkers? Online friends? Consider what you can do to give to others and be helpful, always keeping it realistic. Maybe it is listening, or writing, or reading someone’s material; helping someone with groceries, taking care of someone who is sick, or making food for your family. Even if it’s something you’re already doing, if it’s conscious work that makes you feel good about doing it, and it’s for the benefit of others, put that in your plan.
In your journal: Using whatever creative method you want (drawing, painting, writing, collaging, or all of the above) design the final draft of a plan for you that you feel fully confident and committed to following for at least the next three months. Feel free to start a group for accountability with someone, I volunteer as accountability buddy! 😉
Me, late January 2017, working on the publicity for my expo at La Rochelle in an apartment overlooking the now familiar port. So many priceless memories have happened in this exact spot.