Self-care is not a bubble bath. I mean, it might be, if you’re the kind of person who feels they’re committing a mortal sin by allowing themselves to wade in hot, lavender-scented water with a candle or a book for twenty minutes, alone. If that’s you, then yes. Please allow yourself a damn bubble bath. Regularly.
You could be patient instead.
You could see that you are doing it.
The latch in the door that won’t close
could be something you now fix—
a sign of your attention, and willingness to mend—
instead of more evidence of your failings.
You could be sweet instead.
With all the missteps and the falls.
You might kiss the bruise on your knee—
or tend to the scar on your arm, with a bit of balm, and soft touch—
instead of hating it for the way it does its job.
You might see that these scars make you interesting—
that you quite like the scars on others,
because they tell stories without needing to speak.
You could be firm instead.
when you want to slip into ease,
instead of doing the difficult work that might change you—
instead of shattering that comfort that constrains you.
You could move just a little
in the direction of your freedom,
knowing the resistance is
only serving to build your bones.
You could be soft instead.
The way you would with your baby girl, or the feather that stuck to your pants,
or the tide that hasn’t yet come in—
because you trust it will come, as it has, as it always has—
every day around 2.
As long as you stand there waiting for the water to kiss your feet,
it will greet you—
it greets you every time you show up to the shore.
You could be kind instead.
You could love yourself into a new way of being.
Since there never seems to be enough hate
or blame, or shame, or punishment
to get the job done anyway.
You could run toward the world you want,
instead of escaping the one you don’t—
even as your eyes are blind, even though you cannot yet see, or feel, or touch—
what is waiting for you there.
I thought it was about social media. But it was about all of it. It was about being on, all the time. Being connected, and open to connections, and available, and expected to respond and expecting to get a response, and creating thousands upon thousands of tiny slivers of interactions to “connect” and “be productive” simply because I could. It’s actually worse than that. I had fallen into a very intentional trap laid by tech companies who only make money if I keep picking up my phone and putting my eyeballs on their apps.
I’ve learned to do the most important things in the morning: write, sweat, journal, meditate because it’s when I’m most clean and clear and sharp, by far. If I wait, the chances of those things happening falls drastically. And if those things don’t happen, my mind and life fall off track astonishingly fast. It’s practical. And practical every day equals profound. This is how you make your bones.
The phenomenon has revealed itself over time. In the beginning, traveling was nail-bitingly stressful and not fun at all. It took time for me to appreciate the concept of traveling without imbibing, to rewrite all those tracks in my brain that said the only way traveling would be a full experience was if I was drinking my way through it. For a while—like a couple years—I equated new places with the uprush of intoxication. It felt sad, boring, and incomplete to even imagine a vacation unpunctuated with cocktails, let alone actually do it.
I don’t like what’s happening with women online right now, particularly in recovery, spiritual, and so-called feminist circles. It appears there is a growing contingent of people who I would assert even six months ago had no awareness of the word privilege, and now feel compelled to call out other women on theirs at every turn.
I’ve become fairly obsessed with sleep in recent years. Since getting sober, sleep has become a true spiritual practice for me. It’s a daily, practical practice that I take as sacred and imperative to my sanity. It is probably my number one self-care practice and a total non-negotiable. With that, I bring you seven things that have brought me better sleep.