An ever popular buzz word. We are bombarded with the importance and necessity of implementing proper self-care into our lives. Part of the quintessential modern woman’s vocabulary.
We are told how essential self-care is to ourselves and to our lives. How we require self-care in order to be better partners, friends, workers and moms. Accompanying the idea are a variety of products created and marketed to assist us in our journey to self-care nirvana. Oils, clothing, journals, classes, jewelry, nutritional supplements………the options can be overwhelming and infinite.
We are all drinking the self-care Kool-Aid. Lapping it up.
“Give us more! Show us the way!” we cry credit cards in hand.
Thereby missing the entire point.
I am not a product naysayer. I love stuff that is designed to make life better, easier and more fulfilling.
The reality is that self-care can be relatively easy and does not necessarily require a million different accessories.
Recently, in my own life my lack of self-care and attention gave me a hard bitch slap across the face. Because I felt I was doing a pretty decent job of self-caring this reality check was painful not only to my physical body but my fragile ego.
Tribe, I am going to tell you a scary little story about my self-neglect.
I hadn’t been feeling myself, lately. I thought I may be coming down with the flu and I could not seem to shake a persistent lethargy and foggy headed feeling. Also, my lady bits started feeling and smelling “differently” from my normal.
Now, before you go wagging a finger at me for too much sex or being secretly self-righteous because my “30 Day Sex Pact” post rumpled some of your personal feathers…..hear me out….. I thought after playing Dr. Google that I had a case of bacterial vaginosis. I tried unsuccessfully to home remedy. Monday, I decided to make a Gynecologist appointment and get my vagina taken care of. With a Wednesday appointment being what they had, I waited. Feeling wilted and insecure and deflated. Berating myself for not changing out of wet workout clothes, bathing suits etc. Feeling guilty because our sex pact abruptly paused. Feeling concerned because I never had an issue like this before.
Tuesday evening….get ready for a gross/ shock/ gag response here- a tampon fell out of me and into the toilet.
HOW DID I FORGET AND LOSE A TAMPON INSIDE OF ME??!!!!
And here’s the kicker. After I quickly consulted my birth control pill pack a horrible recognition came over me: FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS??!!!!!
A new wave of fear crashed over me. This can be serious. I am absolutely sure I have a raging infection. I immediately contact my gynecologist’s office after hours and request an on-call physician contact me and advise me of what to do. Should I head over to the ER or just wait until my scheduled appointment? Do I have TSS? Am I dying?
After waiting several hours and not hearing from a doctor I decide I am heading to the ER. “This is what our health insurance is for”, I tell myself reluctantly.
At the ER the doctor and nurses are kind. They tell me how common this is. They reassure me that I will be just fine. They examine me and I leave with enough antibiotics to cure a small village.
For the remainder of the week I rest, take it easy and listen to my body. Each day I feel a bit better and the fog and fatigue recede.
This brings me to a new awareness: I thought I was so in tune with myself. I now understand that there is more work to be done.
Self-care for me includes meeting my most basic needs: Healthy foods, adequate hydration, proper sleep. Fulfilling my emotional needs with writing, reading, meditation and exercise. But it also includes being present in the moment. Existing exactly where I am in the current space and time. A skill I have yet to acquire as evidenced by “forgetting” a tampon.
You may ask yourself why I chose to share this obviously uncomfortable and embarrassing event? Because, I believe that by sharing I may assist in erasing the stigma surrounding women’s bodies. I remove the shame of feeling alone and dirty and substandard.
I have learned a valuable lesson and have been humbled.
And I will never do that again!
What are some of your favorite self-care practices? How important is self-care to you?
xxxxxxx always real,