There are days, when the past begins to resemble a caricature. A fragment, a morsel of something that was important and sacred, a morsel of something that was important and necessary. But now, exists only in lines and grunts.
Memories of wisdom.
The aging process is beautiful when dealing with the past. It carries lessons and serenades, the kind that put you to sleep. I’m in that strange age gap between remembering blackouts in a foreign country and having a pager. In that strange place where the harsh introduction of carrying around your whole existence is in your pocket. I’m in that generation they call “X”.
If you’re soft and fragile, then you’re probably suffering from the same dilemma. If you were fed a false sense of God, a false sense of self, ideas stemming from books written by prophets, flawed men, flawed women, then we are sharing this insipid chasm together. So rest soundly, quietly and remember, we’re all just temporary.
In the meantime though, I’d like to invite you to care for this body, this soul. For the feet that carry you around, for the heart that mends and mends and mends itself. Self-care is a term that makes my piss boil. An overused term that sounds pretentious in its origin. I see it more as a mandatory deed, like breathing. A crucial ritual for survival. But just to set the record straight, I’m not into expensive or unreachable rituals. I’m not into rituals that need a sacred space, or tangible items. Don’t get me wrong, those things can serve as beautiful grounding tools, but all you need is yourself. A present and gaping version of yourself. A version that knows that death comes in many forms. But for the sake of having a mutual understanding with YOU, the reader, I will refer to it as self-care.
One of the main things I’ve come to realize about self-care is the lack of patience that we’ve acquired living in a world of constant and fast gratification. Self-care should’ve happened yesterday. Self-care should’ve asked us for permission. Self-care should have an app. Self-care takes discipline. A discipline seldom practiced in our lacking 24 hours. But it is doable.
Think of how we usually deal with the stresses of life. Think about your indulgences, your habits. Recall on your go-to behaviors when things get heavy and uncool. The key to self-care, and most importantly, self-love comes when we are fully present in those moments. Only then can we fully love others, respect others, respect the demons that inhabit our bodies.
I think about the perpetual death anxiety that plagued my existence up until very recently. I think about how I occupied my mind with useless chatter. About the thoughts that crucified my being into a version of myself that I never recognized. Only recently have I began to chisel away that excess. That sadness. That pity and uneven pavement. The present is a perpetual nuisance, one that reminds us to keep moving forward.
Sounds cliché, but once we accept death, we will begin to really live. Death is an understanding of our impermanence, the acceptance that we only get one chance, one time to get our needs met, to embrace what we were put here to do.
When we let go of our learned behaviors and our ideas of what the self looks like, we see ourselves.
When we say no to others, we are saying yes to ourselves. Self-care comes in the form of letting others down, especially if we’ve trained the ones we love to expect that we are available even when it means sacrificing time we should be spending on ourselves. I fear that most people don’t take time for themselves. We are conditioned to feel obligated to others and put ourselves secondary. This is a major fault in our design; we are made to be in a level-headed head space in order to serve others adequately.
Another aspect of self-care that I often practice is the keeping of a safe space. A place to rest your bones, a place to rest your soul, your heart. A shared space with your demons, who aren’t particularly roommates anymore, just visitors. Ones that you will be in control of banishing because sometimes, reminders of past-selves are important in the growth process.
Self-care is easy, but because of its simplicity, we have a tendency to complicate it.
Deaths are important. We die a million times in this lifetime.
We are different versions of ourselves daily, the key is to accept each death as growth.
As an aspect of self-care.
INGRID CALDERON is a Salvadoran refugee residing in Los Angeles. She's published in Leste Mag, Electric Cereal, Dryland, Seafom Mag, Anti-Heroin Chic, Occulum, etc... Her latest poetry book Zenith is published through Editions Du Cygne, a French publisher based out of Paris. Her goal is to be an anonymous voice that cuddles the masses. She wants to be relatable, not unique. Find her on Twitter @BrujaLamatepec.