Hard days look similar to easy days. We still smile, work, eat, talk, make use of our hands. What is oft-unnoticed are the hows. How it hurts to smile. How painstaking it is to finish labor you once loved. How unhealthy you eat. How the silences are longer than the talking; how few the ones whom you allow to receive even the silence. How you find comfort in melancholic music on loop. How your hands feel so heavy even if they are for things that nourish you.
It’s easy to say “love yourself” than to embody it. It’s easier to cling than to reparent one’s grown self and say, “You need healthy ways to care for yourself. This is not fucking it.”
When my mind is able to convince my body to do things it is currently not fond of, that’s how I know I am in a better headspace. I have been unwell since last weekend (Covid-negative. Only a nasty virus. My not-yet-even-keeled heart is a different story), but today my mind, though sloth-like, succeeded at encouraging my body to overcome indulgences and shift them to healthy habits.
Refrain from bingeing on sweets. Stop eating cold, nearly inedible goods straight from the fridge. Make myself proper meals: pesto pasta, warmed bread, papaya in coconut milk. Stay smoke-free for another day. Resume intermittent fasting. Drink the soft gels and vitamins. Pick up the dumbbells, let my arms and belly weep from the burn, go low for the squats I hate. Bike. Sit under the trees in our pocket of forested happiness (oh how towering they are now, these babies we once held as seeds!). Commit to finishing manuscripts I promised weeks ago. Shelf the mopey tunes and listen to soothing post-rock or Aimee Mann, or whatever’s jumpy. Mop the floors real good. Fold the week-old laundered clothes lying around. Meditate again. Write these difficult words:
“I shall make this a daily commitment. To be my own bestfriend, my own soulmate. To tell myself ‘I love you’ when doubt sets in or the need to source love from others presents itself. Relearn that caring for myself is neither selfish nor narcissistic, but simply cultivating more love inside, so I am well-nourished, ready, and do not run the risk of depletion as I pour some of that love outside.”