Okay, so it wasn’t the WORST day ever. It only felt like it?
We all have those places + people that bring us back to the “worst moments” in our lives, when time stood still and we floated above our bodies, ears ringing, able to have only one clear thought, “Is this really happening to me?” A lot of them I’ve learned to cope with, like passing the bench in Washington Square Park I was sitting on when I got the phone call that Aaron had died. Or when my phone rings with an unknown “347” number and my blood freezes in my veins, like all those times when my stalker changed his number to trick me into answering my phone. There’s one trigger, though, that I’m still struggling to keep my composure through, and last week, it got “trigged.” Triggered?
And that’s how I ended up having The Worst Day Ever. Or, at least, a No Good Very Bad Day. I hate when people are vague about this sort of thing so I’ll just tell you: my shitty ex had 15 minutes of fame. More like a whole day. Shoutout to all my friends upon whose shoulders I was able to cry (or more accurately, elucidate why so-and-so was an asshole in no uncertain terms. Friendies! I love you!). And then something AMAZING came out of the whole wretched experience: I discovered a few things that made me feel — not just better, but AMAZING! Imagine that! The day went from being the WORST, to being a pretty good day in the end! BUT HOW? Now I shall share the magic:
1. The Self-Esteem Workbook! That my therapist gave me! Is magic! As an atheist, I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to “self help” and the like. Don’t get me wrong, I fully embrace and trust in therapy, but it’s been taking a lot longer this time around to feel any improvements. When my therapist told me she was giving me a book to work through, I was willing to try anything, but upon first read-through, I grappled with some of the concepts. Let me tell you, actually *doing* the exercises is such a horse of a different color! I’ll write more about the book in a separate post, but this time, I did an exercise where you rate your various qualities objectively and it was illuminating. Instead of fixating on the worthlessness I felt at that low point, I had to focus on thinking of myself as a human being with worth.
2. Rhyming my pain! Betcha didn’t see that one coming! Blame it on the fact that I saw Hamilton last Monday, but I’ve been walking around now wanting to rhyme EVERYTHING. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a GENIUS. I’m eating the words from every time I said that Hamilton was too popular, no, it is completely deservedly popular. Inspired by the passion and rhymes of Hamilton, I found myself trying to rhyme in my head how upset I was. Once started, I was on a roll! I strongly recommend having an internal poetry slam for your feelings. And now I feel so much better!
3. Doggies! I don’t think I need to explain this one, but just looking at adorable fluffers takes me out of the moment for a second and lets me escape.
4. Cooking! I used to claim that I couldn’t cook. Little did I know that I was depriving myself of an incredible joy! I once had a counselor tell me that she found measuring ingredients and chopping vegetables very meditative and soothing, and it’s really true. I made some tacos and guess what, at the end of which, not only did I feel accomplished, but I also had tacos! Forcing myself to focus on measuring and chopping really did the trick!
5. Putting good vibes out there by commenting on other people’s blogs. Like hello, all the lovely blogs I read are the reason why I love blogging. Your stories, your lives, your creativity, all that you share. Blogs have been my escape and my passion for such a long time, and that’s all thanks to YOU! The bloggers! So it only made sense to spend some of my Worst Day Ever reading blogs and, while I’m there, dropping a comment in my wake. After doing this a couple times, I felt my mood improve. That’s right, you’ve heard it here first, commenting on blogs makes you happier! Science proves it! So go forth and comment (on this post, haha! Just kidding. You can comment on any of my blog posts) and be happier for it!
6. Misery loves productivity! I threw myself into a really interesting project and by the time I’d emerged, I hardly remembered what had upset me so much in the first place. Hours had passed and I’d produced something I was really proud of. And then I had the idea for this blog post! Look at me, oozing creativity everywhere like a snail trail! (ew sorry for that gross image!)
7. Candles are my absolute weakness. Remember the candle baths I used to take up in Harlem? I love lighting candles — so many candles that my former roommate used to see my expansive display of novena candles and snarkily ask, “Who died?” and the Wednesday Addams in me always wanted to reply, “My soul.” But CANDLES! Warm, flickering, flattering candlelight always takes me back to a place of calm and relaxation. Don’t let anyone dampen your candle enthusiasm!
8. Everybody has haters! One of my favorite Twitter accounts, @dog_rates, recently got put on blast for, basically, inflating the ratings of his dogs. UM, it’s a comedy account. Not just that, it’s my favorite comedy account, which means it’s BRILLIANT because I have amazing taste AND a great sense of humor. The fact that such a harmless, funny, awesome human being has to deal with trolling and idiocy as well is a good lesson to learn: even the best people have to deal with negativity from time to time. It can be really inspiring to see how they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep on ratin’ dogs. Seriously, follow this account. It’s so worth it!
9. Pinning up a storm! There’s a reason Pinterest is so great: it’s a lush Eden of visual inspiration. In just five minutes of pinnin’, I found delicious hummus recipes, hilarious political cartoons and scads of inspiring eyeshadow looks! Or should I say, “pinspiring”? You know how much I love a good portmanteau!
10. Music …makes the people…come together…YEAH! Nothing makes you feel better than boppin’ around your kitchen to Cee-Lo Green’s “Fuck You” or warbling along to Fiona Apple’s “Pale September” or screeching out “RABBIT, WHERE’D YOU PUT THE KEYS GIRL?” with Tori Amos’ “Cornflake Girl.” I am a huge believer in the healing power of music, and when extraordinary circumstances befall you, it’s a sign to switch up that playlist and go for broke.
Typically, I’m not much for “self care,” like, I don’t really know what that means? But I’ve been trying to untangle the mystery and I think these 10 things might be my key to “self care.” What do you think? WHAT IS SELF CARE? And do any of these work for you, too? LMK!