As a child of the 70’s I spent my time after school watching Speed Racer, Tom & Jerry, and Godzilla movies after school in the basement rec room of our townhouse with my brother who was 10 years older than me and my sister who was 8 years older than me keeping an eye out.
As I watched cartoons in the basement alone, I used to bump. I loved the sound of the springs and the bounce of the couch as I bumped forward and bounced back in rhythm to the music on the TV or in my mind. I sat in the same spot and I bumped. I bumped a worn spot in the couch and a bald spot on the back of my head. It drove my family crazy and they thought I was strange but I loved the feeling of movement. Even at 6 years old, I knew what I needed to do to take care of myself. I also was super lazy and loved TV so much that when I would have to pee, I would hold it as long as I could and instead of running up the huge staircase to the bathroom on the ground floor level, I’d take my tiny body behind the couch and pee.
Yea I was a super lazy child. And I was bold. My Mom kept cleaning the basement, she is obsessive about cleanliness, but it still stank in the basement and nobody could figure it out. Also, nobody wanted to hang out in the basement…but me so I happily bumped.
One day, I really had to go and I thought my brother wasn’t paying attention to me… I must have done it before, but I went behind the couch to pee and he caught me. The gig was up I was shamed and got a spanking and to this day 40 years later, my siblings still tease me and judge me about me peeing behind the couch.
I realize now, I was totally practicing self-care. It was misguided but it was…self -care.
Moving my body makes me feel better it always has even when I didn’t realize that it did.
When I was 8, I was a avid Jehovah’s Witness. I believed. I read everything and my imagination was 50 times more vivid than it is now and reading the scary stories of the Bible really got my imagination going. I had nightmares about the multi headed beast in Revelations with the tiger’s heads and serpents tail. I could visualize myself in the lake of fire. I saw the world being destroyed by Jesus when he came back as the avenging angel to kill all of the sinners who would sic their dogs on us, call us “Nigger” and put water hoses on us when we simply knocked on their doors to offer an opportunity to hear the “Good News”. My body needed to move all of that religious stress in a way that my mind just could not process so I watched TV and I bumped. It was the rhythm and movement that calmed the forces of my mind and allowed me to just be.
Fast forward 2018. I left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, over 30 years ago. Now, the personal “Armageddon” I was afraid of happened. I am single, child free African American woman in NYC over 40…with debt and my acting career just did not happen. I worry about finances struggle with loneliness and am distinctly aware that 10 years passes in the blink of an eye.
So, I move my body. Through it all, I practice radical self care by any means necessary. I have no choice but to develop grit and be resilient. Though the years, I’ve developed a kick ass tool kit and when I remember to use the damn tools, they work.
When the orange man took the presidency I was like fuck, I gotta start drinking and be drunk through the next 4 years. A friend who was with me said,” Nah. Don’t let that asshole take your joy. You’ve never drank why start now?”
She was right. At the end of the day, the world is how it has always been, racism has always been here it’s just gotten a reboot. History is like an echo and we are back to the time when blatant racists feel comfortable evoking free speech and whine like bitches if they have to deal with the circumstances of their words. We live in a time where EVERYONE (I mean black people, women, and marginalized communities) can have our collective voices unite on free social media and be a force to exercise our free speech and ability to respond to whatever is said to for and about us.
In this time of constant triggering….self care is beyond necessary it is vital.
So, I dance.
I run, walk, jump.
I pick really heavy things up and put them down again many times.
I take time to spend with the people who authentically love me and want to be around me.
I work to let go of procrastination and take daily actions.
Through my personal practice of self care, I recognize that me being happy, me taking care of myself me connecting to my joy is my act of resilient resistance. I make sure I am aware of what’s going on in the world but I don’t allow myself to be immersed in the constant cray cray.
Taking steps to self care is not some effortless activity. It takes work and mindful action.
June 2018 my 5 day in home Rhythm Therapy Journal 2 Self Care journaling course is the perfect way to design your own daily personal practice of self care.
Wanna join me? Click the production tab at the top of the page and sign up.
Remember, self care is the ultimate act of resistance.