Permission To Love and Care

As tomorrow is Christmas, I find myself really reflecting on this year. This year was one for the books. So much of this year was and became about me learning more about myself, who I was and what role I played in romantic and non-romantic relationships and how to take care of myself mentally and physically. Self care was really important this year, but this year really challenged my idea of what self care looked like for me and what I wanted and expected from it, but also how I expected to show up and love myself. Self love I realized was a difficult task to undertake when you’re use to putting others before yourself. It was difficult for me to become comfortable with it as well. Putting myself first this year was the hardest part, to realize and see I don’t have to carry everything on my shoulders and that I can give my shoulders a break and take the weight of the world off. I had to prioritize myself again and that was new to me.

“Prioritize” was the word for me last year and I really did prioritize myself. I took yoga for the first time because I wanted too. I went on more dates, dated more people who I was actually attracted too and not people I wanted to change, and took more risks. But 2018, I didn’t do that, I played it safe, I fell out of the habits I had built for myself that made me better, kept me sane, and bettered my overall health. I stopped doing yoga, I stopped writing or even taking a tablet with me if I had any ideas on the go. Hell, I didn’t even attempt to write down anything I was thinking about. I would have an idea for a piece to pitch and immediately cast it aside and let the thoughts of the day take over. When my therapist stopped practicing, I didn’t even attempt to look for another one. I couldn’t even be bothered to care for my mental health at the time. Work, friends, relationship, bills, everything else took over my thoughts and energy of doing anything else and I let it. I didn’t try or attempt to keep doing the things I was doing before to help myself. 

I started to feel more self doubt about everything I was doing, at work and in my writing to where I stopped writing all together. I didn’t feel like I was good enough and didn’t understand why I kept going. What's the point? I kept asking myself, I forgot the happiness and the reason why I begun writing. I forgot how yoga made me feel and how it made my body feel before I began doing it. I forgot how great and wonderful it is to have a therapist, someone to talk to outside of your friends and family and to have that consistency to depend on. I remember a friend of mine, he was a light in my life at the time, but he also like me was always trying to find ways to balance loving yourself while also loving others. He taught me the motto of loving myself and putting myself first. His voice rings through my ears as I constantly have to remind myself there is nothing wrong with putting yourself first. As a Black woman, as Black women, we are accustomed to playing the role and putting others first, forgetting who we are in the process. We are the wife, the mother, the friend, the partner, the employee, we are everything to everyone else, but how do we show up for ourselves? I feel we as Black women so rarely give ourselves permission to be ourselves and to love ourselves. To fulfill our goals, our dreams, and I want that to change. I want that to change for myself.

I’m still learning how to balance it all. I’m still trying to figure it out. I am still on the journey of putting myself first and making sure I show up for me. If there is a book to ease or crack this mystery of showing up, but also still loving yourself, I tell you I would have figured it out by now, but there is no book. I’m just trying to figure this out like all the Black women before me, day by day.

Let me know in the comments below how did you learn to love yourself, how did you learn to put yourself first and show up for yourself, and what are your methods towards self care.