Mama, Your Self-Care Is NOT Selfish
If you like sarcastic air quotes and dismantling of unhealthy coping mechanisms, then you’re going to want to continue reading.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been “bad”. I’ve been “eating like crap” all summer. Traveling has thrown me off my “routine”. I haven’t been to the gym in a while. I’m ready for school to start so I can “get back on the horse” and “get back in shape” and “start eating healthy again”. Expect, wait. What’s that? I stepped on the scale and literally haven’t lost or gained a single pound in who knows how long? Or maybe I have. I just can’t really tell because I’ve been around the same weight for as long as I can remember.
Yeah. Because all of that stuff is fake. It’s all a distraction I use to pretend like I have some control. I use my body and my weight and my strict eating habits as a way to feel in control. But when I became aware of that particular coping mechanism and started recovering from it, I started to realize how fake that “control” was. How I was never “helping” myself be “healthy”. I was distracting myself from my anxiety and letting it manifest in other ways. If you don’t cut something out at the root it’ll just find another place to sprout up.
My recovery from anxiety is a daily practice of finding that root and tracing it back to whatever unhealthy coping mechanism I’ve decided to employ that day. From obsessive “wellness” to relentless irritability. Those REACTIONS to my anxiety are the only things I actually CAN control.
So, I stopped getting on the scale a long time ago. I stopped dieting and counting calories and obsessing over every meal. I started saying yes to food I felt like eating. I started being nicer to myself if I did binge eat to numb some pain. Because the sooner I forgive my setback the sooner I can continue moving forward with my recovery. I started realizing that I AM healthy. 10+ years of a vegetarian diet and avoiding processed foods has kept my body healthy. I’m active. I shifted my mindset around regular exercise to be less about looking a certain way and more about feeling a certain way. I value the gym the same way I value therapy. I go because it makes me feel better. I don’t always want to go. I don’t always do a ton when I’m there. But the act of going in itself is an act of self-love.
I guess this is all to say, our number one job on this spec or dust floating through space is to LOVE ourselves. Do whatever you need to do to show yourself love because that is the ONLY way we can truly show up and love others. Like really, selflessly love others. For me that self-love looks like checking in daily to see what’s triggering my anxiety and trying to stay ahead of it. And when I can’t, still loving myself anyway. I’m more than my anxiety. I’m more than my waist line. I’m more than my messy kitchen. I am more. I am loved. I am here. And, for the record, SO ARE YOU.