Low self esteem is not an issue for me. In fact, I probably think highly of myself more than most African American women because I understand the history of this country, the impact of chattel slavery, and the concept of religion over spirituality. I have loved myself for a very long time. I went natural at the age of 15 in 1991 when no one at my school had natural hair. I have always adored my dark skin, my full lips, my African self for a very long time. I know the opposite of this too. The intense teen years when my body was getting way too much attention from potential molesters and not enough from my Dad. Having to squeeze my hips into boys basketball shorts instead of shorts now designed for women. Yep, I have been there and I rejected all the European notions of beauty around the body and myself pretty early.
So you can understand who when people start talking about trying to love themselves I just kind of roll my eyes on the inside. It's so easy to just look at yourself and say, I am beautiful, right? Of course, but as I have dug deeper into my own spiritual journey, I realize that self-love can take many, many forms. As a single mother with 2 very busy tween and teen I am constantly on the go. I mean constantly. I never stop. I sit to eat and to sleep. Most mornings I am dragging out of bed, being coaxed to get up so we can all be on time. It is a broken record. Not once, until recently, did I tie self time to self love.
My intentions are always good. I always plan to meditate, chant, workout, and sleep more. Those are the things that I need more of in my life and for me that is self-love. I am not the person who doesn't speak their mind, or won't wear bright colors or strapless dresses. I always hit the dance floor first but pause time is not and has not been my specialty. I feel guilty when I sleep in, when I check out, when I don't answer my phone when in reality, that is exactly the self love I need to be engaging in on a regular basis. I don't tend to myself daily enough. Sure I get regular pedicures and haircuts, I even get massages but have I really given myself time to just me.
My children join me in the restroom, last night my daughter watched me chant and each morning they jump in my bed. Slowly, I am weaning them off Mother-time-is-my-time. I am reclaiming my bed for sleeping from my daughter who vows to sleep with me forever. I am incorporating my prayers and chants throughout the day, I am well, even doing this, blogging during my morning break. Heck I am actually taking the 2-15 minute breaks at work and a lunch. I am meeting with a personal trainer, I have a Nanny whom we adore, I am going to mediation service on Wednesdays, I am teaching poetry and using the money on ME, not the kids or a bill.
I recently purchased a trip to Branson, MO and decided to go alone. I decided that I had already taken the children but that I had not been out of town alone that wasn't for business or art my entire adult life. If I have a boyfriend, maybe I will take him, but for my birthday, I am going alone, to shop, to write, to rest. I know it will be hard to slow down and I might have 3 anxiety attacks but between now and then, I am going to work at it and I am going to look forward to it.
At the end of the day, I still find time for my children. We all eat, talk, laugh, sing, shower, and go to bed. I am a work in progress on my self-love. I got the other stuff down, but now it is time to take it to a higher level, and well, taking care of me is a very very good look, in just a few weeks I see the difference in me. I see how little time I was actually spending on myself and I see how spending so much time running the kids around is a way to cover what is ultimately dressed up fear. I am peeling away the layers and I am seeing more of the person I dream about. How can you enact more self-love into your life?