For a while now I’ve been thinking about/ around what taking care of myself looks like. I’ve zeroed in on tending to my heart and how I felt (feel) for as long as I can remember. If you’ve been around any of my spaces on the internet, then you know I share these aspects of myself often and quite freely. Still, in the last couple of years, I’ve yearned for an equal or perhaps just a similar amount of care for my body. While this has remained an intention for an embarrassingly significant amount of time, I’ve been interrogating this. This interrogation however stemmed from the belief that there is indeed a problem: my lack of emphasis on my body beyond it being a home for my heart and mind, that I value first and maybe only.
In the process, I’ve come up with several working theories that could explain what can be referred to as ‘the othering of my physical self’. One of the easier and possibly fastest causes I arrived at for this is that my mind has always been not only an endless space filled with wonder for me to explore but also one where I could exist however I wanted or imagined. As a child, this especially amazed me but I’m also well aware of how tightly I’ve held on to this childlike part of me. Besides this, there are a number of much less appealing reasons this practice of othering has stayed. There are several ways that this has been reinforced as a good thing in my short lifetime, often unknowingly by ‘authorities’ in my life. This has allowed me to overly function paying little (honestly, no) attention to the limits of my physical body. With this, I’m often able to get everything I need done, which is sometimes a lot, but this has worked exceptionally well for my (required/ requested) output.
In ruminating on all these possible reasons, I hoped to use them to formulate ways, practices to better care for my body. I’ve however been very hard on myself in the last couple of months. ‘Now that I have time to rest and be intentional about it, I must. Let us rest’, I say, maybe shout to myself in my head. There’s been a back and forth in my mind about what rest and taking care of my body mean. I had subconsciously projected onto myself ways that this was supposed to look for these practices to qualify as centering my physical wellbeing. All of my failed attempts, specifically concerning the ways to cope with the world as it is and has been, have found me in an endless cycle of berating myself closely followed by what I think are weak attempts to be gentle with myself. Although I’m far from where I’d like to be with this, I’ve been fixated on the ways I fail and continue to betray this body more than the numerous small ways I nurture it. These little gestures count and remain valid ways to start, to be as I try get better at occupying space in and moving through the world in my body, at treating it with all the tenderness it deserves.
So this is mostly an extended note to self to hold myself in kindness in this, through this and all my other ‘-ings’, my processes and in this time specifically, through the transitions. To you, hold, it’s okay if you don’t have a firm grip yet, gently and softly hold yourself. When you don’t feel like you can, allow others to remind you how, allow them to hold or catch you, whatever the case.
Living Is Trying and Trying and We Are Beautiful for It
Yes, I’ve got all kinds of misery;
I’ve got it and it’s got me.
But I’ve been growing the language to cast it out,
And the fear to dance it gone,
And the bravery to let something kinder take its place.
I can’t help but think of myself as some kind of beautiful for bothering.– Upile Chisala
Be Kind and Have Courage,