Self-care is a divine responsibility.
At a young age and as women, most of us (well I won’t speak for everyone) have an abusive, bipolar relationship with ourselves; a battle with who we are on the inside vs. who we are on the outside.
Why did I eat that ice cream last night?
I should have been using moisturizer since I was 12.
Run and Lift weights today. Your pants feel tight.
Why did I let him break my heart?
Why was I so nice to her?
My mom is a genius.
She has a certain air about her that inspired me to be the woman I am becoming today. Throughout my bipolar relationship with myself, my mother remained consistent in her attempts to bestow upon me the importance of loving ones self. She always had her own spin to offer on how to do so.
Within this journey, she taught me many valuable lessons, but most importantly she always gave me the freedom to just be me.
Although, with many of her opinions thrown into the mix I fell victim to her Italian-mother-guilt.
She was in the beauty industry and she always took care of herself physically. She was always in heels, always looked beautiful, and always had lipstick on.
It would only be right that so many of her lessons started with the idea of clothes, and feeling good, working-out, and how to wear my hair. But they always developed an underlying metaphor to be the best girl, woman, person I could be.
As I approach my thirties, she in her no bullshit demeanor says,
TinaMarie, mommy has been wearing lipstick everyday since she can not remember; it is time you wear lipstick everyday.
Yes, I know what you are thinking, she still refers to herself as mommy and I’m 29. Or you’re thinking, “what the hell does this even mean”, and I will get to that.
We happen to be at the mall shopping when she nonchalantly brings up the lipstick. So like any good daughter, we stop at the make-up counter.
Now, as a preface, I love make-up. I love to feel pretty, but I am not an avid lipstick wearer like mommy, but she knows best.
She buys me three; one for everyday, one amazingly deep red that I am obsessed with and then just a gloss to wear when I do not have a mirror to reapply.
I start wearing my lipstick every day, reapplying and fixing as needed. It became a ritual, a necessity, and truly something I enjoyed doing for myself.
This process seems so vain, but for me, it was such a realization of appropriate self-care and specifically the self-care I needed at that moment.
The last few years have been a transitional period in my life. I lost my grandfather who raised me as his own. I moved out on my own after calling off a wedding five weeks to the date to my childhood love. I lost friends, I made friends.
I experienced many highs and lows and lost what I truly needed during this time; love for myself. I had been everyone else for so long. I was a teacher, a daughter, a granddaughter, a yoga student, a fiancé. I took care of all those things and in return I let it all define me.
I never took the time to stop and put my lipstick on.
I never made it a priority to look at myself and the woman I had became. I didn’t take the time to be proud of all the experiences that made me who I am on the inside and the outside.
Taking part in a small self-care practice can be anything that allows you to breath, stop, pause and be mindful of the moment and have gratitude for who you are as you.
I was going out on a date and caught myself, slowly and carefully drawing my deep red lip-liner around my lips and smiled. This lipstick ritual was so much more than I could have imagined. It seemed so self-indulgent, but it was the furthest thing from it.
All of my mothers lessons and opinions always added up to one message; take care of yourself. She loves me so much and she just wanted me to see myself the way she does. It wasn’t about the lipstick or the beauty on the outside.
The lipstick was an analogy to take time to look at myself and enjoy me.
As women, we get so caught up doing and being everything for everyone else. Take the time to do whatever it is to rejuvenate and create happiness because no one can take that away.
Take a walk and notice the surroundings like the left-over cherry blossom petals on the side walk. Cook a great dinner and sit with a candle alone. Draw a bubble bath, anything where peace can not be distracted. Take it all in.
When I started this practice of applying and re-applying my lipstick, I learned many things on a deeper level.
I would look at myself slowly. I would say kind things in my head about myself.
It’s time we treat ourselves how we treated all those others we so meticulously took care of before in life. Treat ourselves the way we would treat the love of our lives, because in fact the relationship we develop and nurture over time with ourselves is the one that matters the most. We will set ourselves up for consistent heartbreak if we do not love who we genuinely are.
Let’s look at ourselves slowly, embrace our imperfections.
Let’s look at ourselves slowly, notice what makes us real and unique.
Let’s look at ourselves slowly, be excited to take care of ourselves.
Let’s look at ourselves slowly, nurture who we are as girls and women, and feel grateful for every bump, wrinkle and bruise we have on the surface and within.
As I sit outside drinking my coffee with the shore breeze blowing through my hair I can not help but giggle at the imprint of my pink lipstick on my white coffee mug. Let’s take care of ourselves girls.
Let’s listen to our mommies!
Wear lipstick ladies, be you and feel damn good about it, every minute of everyday!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Brenna Fischer / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo Credit: socialspice.de/Flickr Creative Commons