At the age of 9 or 10, I decided that I should do my own laundry. “Mom, you’re not allowed to touch my clothes anymore,” I told her. And so it began.
Every day I wake up, I make my bed. I exercise. I see a dental hygienist twice a year like clockwork. I get regular facials. My house is always clean and tidy and my whole life is organized. Outward self-care has never been (and will never be) something I need to seek out. It’s in my DNA.
It only took me 33 years to realize what true self-care meant to me. It wasn’t about getting moisture treatments for my hair, making sure I was getting all the glowing vitamins I need for my skin to shine. It hit me hard and it wasn’t pretty. I hadn’t been taking care of my heart. I hadn’t been allowing myself to feel the array of feelings that one can have. There was always a polarity – feeling good and feeling bad. And if I felt bad, I had to get rid of it.
What a shame. My twenties were spent making sure I was successful, clean, dressed well and happy. If only I had allowed myself to feel the spectrum of feelings: angry, sad, tickled, adored, humbled, afraid, surprised, stricken, lustful, guilty, ashamed, loved, admired, respected… the list goes on and on. I never let them in. I didn’t know how to feel something without drowning in it and so I managed to avoid it completely and all together.
Self-care to me means listening to my body, to my heart and ultimately to my feelings. The wisdom that each feeling can bring, even the dark earth shattering ones. To truly be with the feeling, in the darkness of it, in the unknown of it, instead of resisting it with all my might. Now, more wise, every day after I wake up and before I go to sleep I stand in my body. I ask myself how I am feeling – the way you would your child after you pick them up from school and check in with them. Samira, “How are you feeling?” I wait and I feel. Sometimes I dance, sometimes I cry, sometimes I punch the air, sometimes I hear myself out. Every day it’s different and that’s the beauty of our feelings. A feeling left unfelt can create tension, cause me to need external people or things for validation, and leaves me constantly seeking for an insatiable thing that doesn’t exist.
All I need is myself. To be with myself and to allow myself to feel, every day, not only when it’s convenient.
– Samira Far