Self-care is now a “thing.” So is self-love. Now that’s a game-changer if there ever were one, especially for today, Valentine’s Day. Self-care and love, or Thing One and Thing Two, are as quirky as their namesakes in Dr. Seuss books.
With flaming fluoride toothpaste- blue colored hair and bright red onesies, Things One and Two don’t care about their weird appearance, even as full-time residents of the all-too-weird Whoville. They’re in love with themselves. They love to do for themselves.
Doing for my self is something that is hard to fathom. I cannot bring myself to have a mani-pedi done more than once a year. Having both luxuries performed at the same time is even more indulgent. While my wardrobe has expanded exponentially over the years, I always waited for prices to come down and in the mean time, lost out on discontinued designs.
In this respect and many others, I am not my parents’ daughter. I grew up with the idea that quality trumps all, no matter the price. I, however, have always held fast unto money. I always wait for my one-cent penny as change. I don’t mind going back into CVS to adjust the price of an item I already purchased because I forgot my coupon at home. I always compare the prices for necessities among competing pharmacies.
Ironically, my nuclear family thinks I’m wasting time and expending an unwarranted amount of energy calculating costs, traveling, attempting to manicure my right hand with my far less graceful left one.
That unused Christmas greeting card that I never remembered to return still haunts me to this day. I don’t even remember the cost but I do know that it was the equivalent to those consumer-beware clauses on almost all over-the-counter medications: I could have purchased my out-of-season 99 cent/pound watermelon for the day.
I don’t mind spending money on food, otherwise known as fuel or nourishment for the body. Still, I think more than twice about buying that black bean soup when I could have my maybe $2 meal of a roasted sweet potato with an egg-white Swiss scramble or my slightly higher-end meal of a 4 oz. piece of salmon (that comes in packs of 8) with my organic black forbidden rice ($4.99 for 7 servings which I could stretch to 8.)
My version of self-love is one that doesn’t mind spending extra in order to deter hoarding or abundance. That is to say, I buy what I need on a day-to-day basis, like fruit, so as not to over indulge while also ensuring freshness.
I buy my GMO-free nut butters, when I can, in individual one-serving squeeze packets instead of the jar.
It’s not a matter of convenience, you see. I don’t mind scooping out from a jar and measuring the number of tablespoons per serving. I don’t mind using a measuring spoon, a butter knife to level-off any excess, and then a serving spoon to transfer the resulting amount onto a plate for consumption.
I buy these packets out of self-love; so that I don’t have to fret over whether or not my serving size is accurate. One less thing to over-analyze about.
Time is the crux of self-love and self-care. It takes time to love yourself.
After denying myself the trending 2016 planner and calendar stalls and kiosks at every corner amongst resolution-abiding citizens last month, I finally caved in yesterday and have accepted that yes, I do need an agenda to schedule my life.
Hustling does that to you. Interviews, socializing, dinner reservations, deadlines - working from home on both the familial and professional fronts is a legitimate job: Enter 2016.
As for jobs, well. I decided to splurge on the self-care front with a double whammy before one of my biggest interviews to date: I straightened my hair and had an extra-long wearing manicure done.
Update: the interview was rescheduled and my insufferably flattened out hair and scuffed up black nail polish in only two days’ time are making me rethink this newfound self love regimen.
All that said, I have made peace with this because I’m better for it. My cuticles are no longer painfully chafing and I had a good dose of much-needed serotonin. Still, I’d rather do for others. And so I purchased a gift for a friend. The issue here was not that, but that I, who lives within walking distance of Citibank and its ATMs had, in deference to staying active and prepping for job interviews, had counted on someone else to drive me to withdraw cash before buying said gift. I ended up having to use a multi bank ATM and paid a $3.50 fee to pull out my own money.
The self-loathing kicked in.
Not one to self deprecate - I never put myself down and always carry my head up high - had thought that if I could only go back and had done this and/or that, this would have never happened or that could have happened.
Self-love is not equivalent to having pride in one’s self: keeping one’s back erect, and believing whole heartedly in one’s capabilities.
There is a clear and definitive difference in those two concepts and I’m just beginning to realize this now.
Giving back and contributing to society requires energy and that internal force is a direct byproduct of caring for one’s self.
Just like It takes money to make money, investing in your corporeal form pays back manifold.