It has been an interesting Summer so far, has it not?
Perhaps interesting isn’t even the right word. But I’m personally so exhausted of hearing words like “unprecedented” and “challenging” and “troubled” to describe our current moment. Not that I have better words. Things are certainly challenging and troubling and unprecedented.
I’ve written here in the past about my personal grapplings with social anxieties (I’m secretly an introvert, believe it or not!), and with short and longer term depressive episodes. And it’s a fantasy to imagine that these things have taken a backseat amidst so much turmoil on both a macro and micro scale. My emotional state is impacted by my immediate surroundings as well as by the news and global events. Some days just reading the Twitter trends is enough to send my future hopes into the bin for the rest of the day.
I struggle greatly with such present and vitriolic division, and one of the broader ideas that exhausts me and saddens me so much is the depth and seeming permanence of us vs. them rhetoric. I see it do so little good and so much active harm. But day after day, regardless of the subject at hand, there everyone is on Twitter screaming at each other about how the “other side” doesn’t get it.
This isn’t a ‘good people on both sides’ justification, either. Just a remarking on how outside things impact my inside stuff. And how I imagine they must affect yours, too. It’s interesting to me (and my overworked therapist, one imagines) to examine the ways my ego and my body respond to negativity and how that negativity often directly impedes my own progress and success. I can’t even count how many posts don’t get written here, or how many emails don’t get returned because I’ve spend the day reading the Washington Post to the end, and end up clicked off, unable to exert any further energy or time. “What’s the point?” my depressive brain thinks. “Everyone is already mad anyway, so why bother?”
I haven’t had a work project in a few months, which I know is not ideal for my mental health. I do best when I have a thing I care about to point my energy toward. And I haven’t felt safe enough to return to escorting or in person work just yet, so many of my days are spent consuming news, working out, and masturbating. Which sounds ok from afar, but doesn’t feel like any kind of personal advancement, up close.
I guess my point here in talking so much about myself, is that it’s worth taking some time to investigate how things are affecting you. If you don’t think you have the luxury of lots of free time in which to do that, I encourage you to make yourself some time. Maybe just a Tuesday night where you get in the tub alone and really check in with yourself for a couple hours. See what hurts and what is being neglected. Self care can take lots of forms, from spa days to scheduled masturbations.
Self care can feel a bit like a millennial buzzword and is often poorly defined. I had a yoga instructor years ago who spoke endlessly of using a yoga practice to take “inventory” (rather than “self care”) of which parts needed attention and which parts could be pressed further. We don’t all inherently do this kind of inventory well, and end up with parts (physical or emotional) that are crying for care or relief that are ignored for the sake of “going to work anyway” or “have to do/try harder.” I’m not fond of the “sleep when I’m dead” way of living, and I implore you to respect yourself enough to admit what’s hurting.
You are important and deserving of care. But learning how to do that can be a real fukkin challenge now and anytime. I know.