Self-care has become a trend.
Frilly fabrics, pedicures, facials, glittery positive affirmations, candles and flowers floating in a warm bubble bath, glamorous vacations, retail therapy and the works without THEE work.
The painful work.
The difficult work.
The unpretty work.
Yes, I am coming into your home and walking out with all of your stuff with this one.
Because a fresh hair-cut or beat face does not make your soul vibration any higher when you’re leaning against the wall in the club bathroom, music blasting, post-obligatory-mirror-selfie, and still fighting emptiness. Or when you’re sulking in anger about how you just knew your most recent heavily contemplated and timed post was about to do NUMBERS on The Gram (or The Book) and it failed to meet your arbitrary “like” expectation, triggering feelings of unfulfilled validation stemming from an adolescence defined by beliefs of inadequacy.
Somewhere along the way, self-care has been packaged quite efficiently as “escape” and “sublimation.” Fleeting distractions. Applause. Surface-level smiles. Shrouded, cloaked inside the cheerful clatter of brunch mimosa glass toasts, is the large silence. The quieting of neglected tear ducts that have been praying for the last 3 weeks or 3 years that you will genuinely ask yourself, “Where am I hurting…and why?”
Actually caring for ourselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually has been successfully reframed as avoidance activities.
Anything to dodge probing of the painful variety.
We have been trying to sell the world and, ourselves, artificial imagery of relaxation. Farce mastery and control. Physical polishing in lieu of emotional liberation. Inside, our souls are as tense as ever, panting under the pressure of upholding appearances whilst getting away with not healing. All you’ve been doing is carrying on. Performing.
You have to dig deeper, my love.
This is not to undermine the value of rewarding yourself, celebrating life, and treating your body as the temple it is. You deserve to unwind and rest. You deserve ALL of the good feels and a break from life’s commotion. However, these things cannot be done in the place of authentic vulnerability with yourself and deemed “self-care.” The soul work needs your attention, too. Set the ambiance and then please dive inside.
In a time where we will take our clothes off for social media more easily than we will take our facades off alone, it is imperative to address and undress the root of our issues. No longer can we go on calling ourselves Butterflies without earning the metamorphosis.
A caterpillar undergoes a series of sheddings, breaks out of its skin, and essentially digests itself inside-out to emerge as a new beautiful creature. This remarkable transformation requires an all-consuming unraveling of everything the caterpillar has ever been, done, and known. The chrysalis is necessary. This isolated and intentional imploding and molding.
Becoming inside itself.
Creating, shuffling, and shifting solely with the contents life gifted it. Separation from the noise and elements other than its own DNA. Suitably, you become a Self-Care Butterfly by going inside yourself. Despite how daunting this task seems. Because you are a capable, courageous caterpillar who does capable courageous caterpillar tings and you already KNOW what’s on the other side of that chrysalis, fam! Flourish!
Self-care is necessary breaking.
Self-care is necessary stinging.
Self-care is necessary discomfort.
Self-care is necessary.
Self-care is rebuilding.
Nourishing your biopsychosocial wellbeing and health is intense introspection, confession, detection, and reflection. It’s identification-led transformation. It’s levitation. It’s elevation.
It’s therapy. It’s journaling. It’s church. It’s a process involving peeling, pain, and grief.
Plunging and purging. Crying. Admission of shame and guilt.
An unleashing of suffering to reach the sunlight beyond the cloud.
It is a holistic release.
It is Healing.
You have to participate in the process to obtain self-acceptance and continue to grow.
Do not be afraid, young caterpillar.
You are a masterpiece learning to master peace.
Your marvelous wings are waiting for you.
*Orginally published on Black Girl In Om
Lacrisha is a thugged out therapist and writer who likes to spend her spare time participating in sophisticated ratchet hippie thug scholar things like lamenting adulting and reading books. She is a proud alumna of both the illustrious Howard University and North Carolina Central University.