If you ask me, and I know you didn’t but you’re reading this, so we’re going to count it all the same, in 2017 the name of the game was self-love or self-care. It was all anyone could talk about. I’m not knocking it because taking care of ourselves is important. It’s an act of political warfare. Audre Lorde taught us that. But, in 2017 at times I felt self-care got a bit jargony. I fell into the jargon at times myself. Doing a face-mask on Friday night and calling that my self-care when I’d be right back to the same self-destructive habits on Saturday morning.
I think societies trend towards discussing mental health and the “weathering” (wearing down of ones body/person due to stress because of racism, sexism, or systemic oppression) experienced by POC specifically is a positive change overall. It’s about time Black people realized you can’t pray most (every) thing away. We’ve got to do the work.
Last year, countless brands and organizations popped up centering self-care, self-love, and mental health as their mission. Again, all well and good. Except, I worry about the quality of care these entities are pushing. I wonder what mental taboo’s are still missing from the conversation.
Saying you’ve been depressed will no longer get you shunned on the TL. In fact, I see more people openly talking about therapy than ever before. But, I also see and am sometimes guilty of acting like treating myself to a manicure or glass of wine is what the real heavy lifting of caring for self is made of. And it’s not – those things are just icing on the cake of what should be a more robust and intentional care of self effort. I’m not knocking your bi-weekly mani sis as I know what a fresh set of acrylics does for ones self-esteem. I’m simply saying we can’t let the masks we use to heal our skin on the outside lead us to believe we can ignore what’s going on internally.
Some problems or joys in life are a result of things happening outside in. In my personal opinion, more are a result of things happening inside out. You can’t cheat the grind and while you may be able to run away from the world, you can never escape yourself. You bring you with you everywhere.
Meaning it would behoove you to get used to yourself. To learn what habits don’t need breaking and pay attention to those you should throw away or tweak. I’m not here to preach at you about self-love and care. I’m still learning how to be better mine. Still responding to texts I shouldn’t. Still beating myself up over the job I don’t have that I’m not even sure I want. Still holding on to people and places I shouldn’t because I haven’t figured out how to keep the love but let go. Still practicing giving myself grace for stupid things I said or not getting everything on my to-do list done when I said I would. Still telling myself I’ll go back to therapy when XYZ happens instead of getting my behind in a couch. I’m also still doing a face mask a week and living for the months when I can afford to treat myself to a pedicure.
I’m still a work in progress and unless you figured out the secret to life, in which case, tell me, you are too. So I’m just saying that in 2018 I hope we’ll all be more intentional about not only the conversations we have around what caring for self looks like, but how we do or don’t practice what we preach. Or else, I fear we’ll miss out on a chance to have real conversations that shift narratives of “the culture.”
This weeks: #GottisGuidelines?
Tell someone how you really are when they ask how you’re doing.
Stay in bed and cry because it’s better to let yourself feel something for once than constantly pretending you DGAF.
Do your mask but change your diet so the zits you keep trying to tame stop popping up in the first place.
Live from the inside out, and try to worry less about the outside looking in.
@gabgotti on Twitter + IG
Photo: Damola Akintunde