How my mixed feelings on self care shaped how I feel about it today.

Self Care: Stephanie’s *current* Take

I’ve gone through tremendously wild pendulum swings of self care.  What it looks like to me, how I implement it in my life, dissecting what it actually means and feels like to practice it.  How it feels inside of me.

Back story, if you don’t know already, I used to be a hairstylist.  Hairstylist with the fancy salon job and the leave in deep conditioner and the pH balancing spray and the brazlian sugaring(ouch)  and the makeup, platform wedges, push up bras, shellac nails, and body scrubs.  Some of what I was doing was self care.  Some of it (most) was detrimental to my self.  

Then I went to massage school, quit the “beauty” industry and unleashed my inner “hippie”.  I didn’t wash my hair for months at a time, no bra, no socks, no makeup, no deodorant (I know), barefoot, music festivals, just like be Love man, everything happens for a reason.  I didn’t shave anything for years.  I didn’t wear anything name brand, I went vegetarian, cut off all my hair and swore off “beauty” products.    Some of what I was doing was self care.  Some of it was just plain unhygienic. 

So you can see my wild tendencies to swing the complete opposite way right?  So flash forward in my timeline, my boss reminded me that bras are a part of dress code (I now own 3(they’re comfy)),  I found a natural deodorant that works, wear makeup occasionally, still wash my hair once a month (it’s short, I can get away with it) and eat what I like (including meat).

Because some of what I was doing was because I wanted to, most of what I was doing at each level was because initially I wanted to.  And then some of it became a feeling of I had to do it this way because “Will I still be respected if I don’t rock 6 inch platform wedges for the full 12 hour shift?”  (news flash they didn’t respect me either way)  or “What will the vegans think if I buy a name brand shirt and eat a burger?”

And so as I’ve been honing in the pendulum on self care I’ve come to some very potent realizations that are worth sharing to you.  Self care changes as you change.  So let it.  The first time I ate meat after being a vegetarian for 2 years is still one of my favorite memories.  I had been trying for so long to force my body into eating vegan for many reasons.  And it simply wasn’t working anymore for my body or my current lifestyle (alot can change it 2 years).  So I listened to what it needed, and it needed a motherfuckin’ burger.  I went to a local restaurant where they serve meat from a local butcher, ordered a burger, ate that thing with a glass of wine and parmesan fries while watching a soccer game, and let me tell you, it was absolutely fabulous.  I felt so much relief and it reminded me that I’m the creator of my life.  So healing.

Another realization is:  If you want to heal the planet, you must take care of your self in the best way you can so that you heal yourself.  Because, you in fact, are a part of the planet.  I never wanted to buy new clothes because: sweat shops! Reuse! What a waste! Corporations feeding on idealized beauty standards so let’s rebel against them!  You get the point.  And I also knew that in my profession (instructor) one of the number one feedback pieces from students I’d get on what needs to be improved is how I dress.  They weren’t taking me seriously in my linen pants and colorful flowy shirts.  So I went to Kohl’s and bought full priced black and white clothes for the first time (ever).  Every time I put them on, knowing no body else lived in them, empowers me as the professional woman I am.  And how I’m worth looking like I know what I’m doing (because I do ).  It changed how I walk out into the world.  It changed my affect on people in a positive way, therefore the planet.  Another feeling of relief.  So healing.

I don’t eat meat with every meal, and am waste conscious.  I still honor my body by eating what it likes.  I still shop at consignment stores when I want.  I no longer feel guilty about buying something brand new at full price.  Both. And.

And now I’m leaning into another layer of self care.  

We all know alot of self-help agenda people (including me (Holla))  like to remind you of the rudimentary-ness of self care like boundaries, saying no, taking things out of your life that no longer serve you, saying FUCK YES when you get that full body yes.  And I’m also here to remind you of the lightness of self care.  The celebration of you.  (Really all of it is celebration of you…and then there’s like fluffy celebration)

After drowning in beauty products, then miles away, I’m leaning into the beauty isles at target once more.  Because I define my own standard of beauty.  And hey, so do you.  Beauty is defined from within, without outside influence.  Fancy right?  I created that affirmation 6 months into massage school.  I’m leaning into self care as pleasure, like buying myself a cute ass face mask (like cleansing mask not covid required mask) (a mask without sulfates ‘cause even though I’m no longer a hairstylist, ya girl still knows what’s good and what’s not), home making a hair scrub, laying down with my feet propped up the wall, listening to music and just.. Relishing in the fact that I’m a fuckin’ Queen.

So what I want to get at here is that as you go through your life, your needs and wants are gonna change. And it’s up to you to not get caught up within a certain identity and to instead change with your current reality. To keep an eye on being a rebel as an identity because being a rebel can be its own cage. And to C E L E B R A T E you first, because you’re the main event. You know you’ll always be Earth conscious and people conscious and white supremacy conscious and we must dismantle the current government system conscious. So take a break from it all once and a while and put some avocado on your face and lay down.

Do what brings you JOY even if at one time in your life it brought you disdain. You’re allowed to change. Throw away that piece of plastic instead of recycling it if it’s easier right now. That ease will lift the vibrational field around you raising the collective to a higher state of being, thus reducing our footprint. Do what lights you up because that’s what’s gonna heal the planet. More LIGHT. Don’t let yourself get caught up in whatever cause you’re invested in letting it be another thing you feel guilty about. Have fun. Have A LOT of it. Do what works for you until it doesn’t work. Check-in frequently, really listen. Show up as your whole self. It’ll all balance out as you go, I promise. Your must is to do what really truly feels good (even if it’s hard) (especially if it goes against a current belief), do what lights you up, and brings you joy. Honoring you and your shifts honors the planet and her shifts. Healing you, heals every one, heals our Mother. You don’t have to be the change that you wish to see in the world all the time.. Be you as you are in each moment. You’re always Loved and that’s always enough.

Letting go of someone right now, doesn’t always mean saying goodbye forever.

You ever get that nudge in your body that is telling you that times up with a person? Whether it be for reasons that are unclear or completely staring you in the face, you know you need to say goodbye? I’ve been there
too. And I’m here to tell you, that when two people need to be in each other’s lives, somehow they’ll end up crossing paths again. There’s usually a lot of people who don’t make this cut, the one’s who needed to be in your life for a period of time, never to be seen again. Then, there’s ones that come back, when it’s right to come back. That, I believe, is a God send.

Life can be most of the time unknown, who am I kidding, it’s always unknown. I’ve learned to trust the nudges, the guidance. Whether or not I always act on the nudges, well, that’s another topic. There was one
particular time though that I chose to act. I chose myself. And it ended up being one of my best decisions, I think. The nudge to take space from a person because it was causing me pain to be only friends with
them after being romantically involved, realizing that they had moved on. How many of you have acted like a friend, only to be thinking inside, “Damn I wish things were different.”? Yeah, that was me. It felt brutal.
And it felt even more brutal to say over the phone, I need space from you, so I can let you go.

And it was what I needed. I took space for myself to grieve what once was, and it hurt like hell. The good hurt. The hurt that brings you into your body, that connects you deeper to your source. Over some time, I was beginning to look up again, open to other possibilities. Excited for what could be in store for me, curious even to newness.

And then, we reconnected.  As friends.  The sense of desperate jealously was gone from me and replaced with joy of being in their life once more.  The kind of feeling where you know it’s right, where it feels good.  
And it feels good to feel good.  Somehow our friendship deepened and expanded.  Flourished, even.  We opened up to each other even more.  

We naturally fell into each other again, all the way. Yes, romantically. More open. More presence. More Love. Deeper Joy. Child-like. Laughter.

I didn’t know that was gonna happen when I ended our friendship initially. I had no motive. I just knew I didn’t want to keep feeling that way. This showed me how powerful the universe and I can be when we work together. How powerful you and the universe can be when you work together. That true and beautiful things always show themselves, because they are true and beautiful. So, you, trust the nudge. The future is always unknown. It’s never real. What’s real is what’s right now. Do what needs to be done to feel good in this moment. Say goodbye, or quit the job, or move across the country. Whatever you do that’s true inside of you, will always be the choice that’ll support you. And your people will always show up, always. Some times, you need space to learn some more things or to realize your own wants and needs before deepening relationships. It all comes in Divine Time. Trust it. Trust you.

With Love,

Stephanie Lee