The Ugly Parts of Self Care: It can’t only be sheet masks and candles

Isn’t solitude terrifying? It’s cold, stale. And everyone insists on how necessary it is. It forces you to grow. Grow more accustomed to being lonely?

On the bad days, I sit on my bed distracting myself with sudoku and Sex and the City. I watch it over, and over, and over; until I drift. I tell myself, I should take a shower, I should brush my hair. But instead, I sit and watch. Worried if I turn away from my coping mechanism, I’ll remember again. 

My ribs ache first thing in the morning- fuck, I forgot to eat dinner last night. I drag myself to the bathroom to wash and fix myself as best I can. No longer participating in my seven-step skincare process, never forgetting toner. I look into my dark, sunken eyes and I try to remember the wide-eyed girl, who loved this part of the day. 

I walk to the kitchen to prepare lunch for work, and there it is. Last night’s dinner, which was yesterday’s lunch that I skipped too. I decide on coffee instead and add an extra scoop to the press. 

One step at a time, getting ready, driving to work, setting my day. Taking work one phone call at a time. Monday, Tuesday.. All the way through Friday. Until I can sleep all weekend. 

These are the moments no one tells you about. Crying yourself to bed, rubbing your own shoulders to calm yourself down. Telling yourself it’s going to be okay, to go to sleep and tomorrow is a new day. The moment when you realize how necessary this is, and it’s only going to get easier. 

Feed yourself, bathe yourself, dress yourself. As if you’re learning for the first time. These motions feel heavier on the bad days. The good days are lighter, you give yourself time to wash your hair, blow dry it the way you like. You tell yourself how good it looks. You feel yourself becoming warm again. You call your mom before bed and tell her you’re doing okay. Yes, I’m eating again, you say, Yes, work is going well. And you mean it. 

You promise to call her tomorrow and see her this weekend. The days are going by faster. There are still bad days. Your life comes to a screeching halt, but you do it all again. This is only temporary. 

Georgia O’Keefe once said she took an entire summer waiting to become herself again. How long will it take me?

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