Getting to know myself better has brought about a lot of self-revelations. One of them being that I actually am quite a romantic. I haven’t celebrated Valentines day pretty much ever, though. Mostly because I don’t agree with this whole commercialization of love thing. But I admit to going through a ‘I don’t celebrate Valentines because there’s no one to love’ stage, too. I’m from the early 90s, folks. We found a lot to be really angsty about.
I’m ready to embrace this ‘romantic’ in me. But I am going to do it on my own terms.
Right now, I’ve decided that my terms include 1. a desire to fracture ‘love’ from commercialization as much as I can, 2. to focus on self-love rather than ‘someone to love’ and 3. recognize that ‘self-love’ means learning how to practice self love even during low energy moments of chronic illness.
I put together the following Celebrate Love on My Own Terms list (or: things that I can do to enjoy life and focus on self even when I don’t really feel good) and thought I’d share it.
- Listen to a podcast. My very favorite is This American Life and a lot of people seem to like the related podcast, Serial. I don’t care for Serial, as the subject content pisses me off. But This American Life has a wide range of stories to listen to, from stories about Christmas to dolls. I also enjoy listening to podcasts about herbalism, herbalism, herbalism, and more herbalism.
- Listen to a book on CD. This doesn’t have to be expensive, you can check out books on CD from your local library! I have every Harry Potter book on my computer, and especially on holidays, we like to sit around as a family and listen to these old favorites.
- Find out how to do something you’ve always wanted to do on youtube. I taught myself how to cook with a cast iron pot by watching youtube videos. There were some that were pretty good and some that were super corny, but because I am interested in the subject, I found them all entertaining. And once I felt more like moving, I tried some of the recipes–and they were delicious!
- Take a shower. But not just any old shower. An ‘attention’ shower. I got this idea from this book. When you get into the shower, direct your water at one particular area of your body. When the water hits that area, say ‘hello (area of body)!’ and spend a few moments with your entire attention focused on that area of the body and what it feels like with water flowing on it. Then you move on to the next area of your body, on and on until you’re done. In many ways, better than a massage!
- Breath deeply. And remind yourself as you breath in and out that you are breathing the same air the dinosaurs did. Imagine yourself breathing in the essence of your favorite dinosaur. Tall, stately, elegant. Fierce, unafraid. Graceful. Harness the power of their breath.
- Put on freshly washed lounging clothes. There’s nothing better than putting on a nice freshly washed outfit. If you can manage it, slip into the outfit straight after it comes out of the dryer. Or, conversely, if your clothes are too tight, too scratchy, etc nothing feels better than slipping into a well worn comfortable outfit that was worn just enough to feel like ‘you’ but not enough to be ‘dirty.’ Indulge in what you prefer.
- Toast up some bread and put some peanut butter on it. If you have had time to think ahead, get some artisanal bread, if you didn’t, don’t worry. Regular old toasted bread with some peanut butter gives lots of protein, and tastes great too!
- Drink water. But not just any old water (unless you like it that way!). Get some fruits you like (They can be fresh or frozen. Benefits of fresh, they will taste fresher, of course. Benefits of frozen, you can just rip open a bag and dump), a big container, put the fruit in the container and then fill the container with water. Put it in refrigerator if you like it cold, if not, letting it sit on a counter is just fine. After a day of sitting, you have perfectly wonderful fruity water that keeps you hydrated, is super easy to make and is a special treat.
- Cuddle with your animals. Cat’s work especially well here, they love to lay near warm beings and with just a gentle touch from a human, they often turn into major purr bots. And purr bots are a gift from the Gods.
- Watch happy videos. Like this. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or this.
- Read this book. No really. Read it. It’s ‘written for couples.’ And it’s written by a guy who I am pretty certain is probably pompous dick and has never had a social justice-y thought in his head. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a life-changing book. It’s been the single most influential book for me in recovering from childhood trauma. It’s not necessary for a partner to read it with you to get benefits from it and it’s not necessary for you to have a partner. Give yourself the gift of tools to negotiate life.
- While your at it, read this book too. It introduces the concept of ‘shame’ in a way that isn’t talked about often and really details exactly how pervasive ‘shaming’ is in US culture. Give yourself the gift of tools to negotiate the destructive force of shame.
- Listen to your favorite soundtracks. Ask yourself which love song you wish was written about you. Play that song. This is my song. Well, one of them. 😛
- Put pretty nail polish on (or have someone do it for you!). Then admire your handy work anytime you need a picker upper.
- Take a long nap. And then when you wake up, listen to music or one of your book on CDs so that you don’t feel guilty.
- Meditate. But don’t just meditate. Meditate to Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs.
- Read this great blog post about sex. Do some of the ideas in there on your own.
- Do absolutely not one single thing. Remember that this is your body and your time and your life and no matter what, you are not obligated to ‘self love’ or ‘self care’ or ‘celebrate’ or do anything you don’t want to do or don’t feel like doing.
What ideas do you have? What have you done yourself? Leave your thoughts in comments!