Self Care Sundays
A weekly column for your soul: featuring Melanie McCoy
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” — Audre Lorde
I get to a point every week where I realize: I should have eaten more, I should have stopped to drink some water, I should have taken ten minutes to just sit down with my eyes closed to breathe.
These moments of realization often come when the knots in my upper back have already turned into headaches and my body feels weak with exhaustion as my mind is racing to keep up with everything that I have to do.
I’m competing with myself to be better, to be more productive and efficient for everyone else. I started this column as a way to help womxn and femmes of color to connect with their own vulnerabilities so that they could heal from the violence of whiteness and patriarchy, from the first edition onwards, I forgot to apply this column to myself.
“We don’t always have to be strong, we aren’t superhuman- we are human.” — Melanie McCoy
This Sunday I am trying to be softer with myself by setting boundaries: like not answering or looking at emails past 8pm, prioritizing regular meals before being productive, NEVER reading the comments on my published pieces and finding the time several times per week to do whatever I want to do.
I connected deeply to Melanie’s words when I read her responses. As someone who struggles with prioritizing the basics of self care, Melanie reminded me of how crucial it is for us as femmes and WoC to check in on each other.
What does self care mean to you?
Self-care means joy. I can honestly admit that self-care has been a foreign concept to me. I’ve been able to provide self-care tips to others, but have failed to take my own advice.
Self-care isn’t some set and cutesy list about smiling more, picking flowers, etc. I suffer from depression so my self-care is as simple as remembering to eat, or because I haven’t cleaned in a while that it is time to clean. Oh, of course later on smiling more and picking flowers (because it’s fun lol). Self-care is just a practical act.
What are some of the things that you do for self-care?
I write my tasks and assignments on a white board calendar. I’m a graduate student and sometimes can be very overwhelmed. Once I complete that assignment I like to cross it off on my white board, because it makes me feel good to say that I am accomplishing some goals.
I call people and let them know I’m depressed or having a difficult time, when I call my team up they always step up. They will check in and ask me have I eaten, if I remembered to set up an appointment with a therapist (something I still need to do lol) and also tell me the things they enjoy about me or what I have accomplished. I like to pray with my grandmother on Fridays.
In addition, I clean. I can be so messy at times so I get it done.
One of the things I do EVERY morning even as the African spiritual practicing outcast radical Christian I am, is pray in front of my altars. I talk to Jesus, my ancestors (including my mother. Asé.) and the Orishas. This makes me feel well, because it makes me feel comforted and ready to take on the day.
What advice would you give to womxn & femmes who are just learning to put themselves first?
My suggestion would be to ensemble a team of women and femmes who can become your accountability partners. We typically are the ones who will look out for one another anyway, while the world will overlook our needs because it’s too busy taking from us all. So why not be intentional about it?
We deserve to have circles and teams that we can choose for ourselves- WE must take care of one another. Sometimes we don’t have the strength to take care of others or ourselves so we need that feminine energy to step up. Being surrounded by love is crucial. We don’t always have to be strong, we aren’t superhuman- we are human.