Taking care of myself has been a real struggle. Continous evalution of my time, energy, and work is done when i feel depleted and unmotivated to continue.
While at the feminist encuentro, I went to a workshop titled, Los Cuidados: un deseo, un derecho o una obligacion (To Take Care: A desire, a right, or an obligation). It was a workshop to reflect on what it meant for us, as womyn, to take care of others such as children, family, partner, and/or society. We each had to ask ourselves, “how do i feel about taking care of others, how does it feel to take care of myself, am I able to ask others to take care of me?”
I was thrown into deep thought about how easy it is for myself to want to take care of people around me. I try not to worry about people because after all, people will do what they feel like doing, regardless of my feelings, and regardless of whether or not they are harming themselves. But I do turn deeply considerate about those who I care about, I can be very self-less. And if I am selfish, i feel guilty, as though I still haven’t made time for such and such person. And finally, maybe, towards the end, will i begin to consider myself.
I have to remind myself to be selfish. When I am selfish, I am aware of it because it feels great and it becomes neccesary. I realized that sometimes, even though I may want to help, I do not have the capacity to do so. And so my problem becomes about being able to communicate my needs and what I can and can not do. And I am finally accepting that I have a real problem expressing my wants and needs because I do not want to be demanding, or high maintenance, or disturb anyone. Yet, there are so many people around me who are quick to not take up responsibilities and can announce 10 different reasons why that is so.
So I go back to my own process. I am finally pronouncing that I must practice communicating my needs. I have to advocate for my own well being. I need to use my voice not just for the cause, but for myself. The week before I went to Mexico I worked beyond 12 hours every day, making sure I would not leave anything pending. It was my way of allowing myself to leave, for just ONE week, and not have what I am responsible for fall apart.
Well, I love me. I want to be better at taking care of myself. I have been consciously practicing self-care at the mental, physical, and spiritual level for 2+ years now. And now I need to practice my communication more. Tengo que exigir mis necessidades. I have the right to not commit to things, to say I can not take something up, and i have the right to ask people to respect that. These things may seem simple and common sense, but really, it takes work to take care of yourself and to do it well.
So now I try to balance my engagement with the world vs. my own self- engagement. I am the most important person in my life. I will redefine what it means to take care of others. I will fight for my own space and my own time. I want to take care of my body and feed myself well. Exercise. Draw, read, write. I have the right to do NOTHING. And I do want others to care for me. I don’t need to be taken care of because I can’t stand on my own two feet, but I want those around me to be considerate towards me. And when im PMS-ing and on my period, i most def. need some chocolate, some one to make me tea, someone to hold me when I cry because I can’t help but feel the emotions, and I need warm socks, and comfy pillows.
Yes, I pronounce my needs. This is where im at. And if i went this personal, its because everyone should evaluate their needs, capacity, and care for others. It is our right to care for others or not. And from a feminist perspective, womyn shouldn’t have to be constant care takers. Our partners need to be better at taking care of themselves and family. And If we take care of our partners, it should be our desire to do so, not our obligation.
The state/governments also need to take up some more responsibilities because when budget cuts happen, social welfare gets butchered, and guess who picks up the pieces… WE WOMYN DO. We work more, volunteer more, and remain unhealthy. Think about all the teachers out there and how the great majority of them are womyn who are losing their jobs. If teaching K-12th was a male dominated career, would school districts pressure men to over-fill their classrooms beyond capacity, or cut their health benefits, or fire them without consideration.
At my job I am currently advocating for mental health days. You know how you ask for sick days, well I want my mental health days. The days I chose to stay home or take care of my personal business and not have to lie about being sick.
What are your needs? What should the government take care of in our society? Are you demanding your personal and societal needs?