Self-love for today and always
Bottom line: you always gotta be your own Best Boo. To thine own self be true. Love you. Then love some more, and love others. Meanwhile, especially if you were playing solitaire this Valentine’s Day, here’s our Black Self Care Checklist.
- STOP WAITING. This is the most important message your heart will ever hear.
- LOVE YOUR BODY. Right now, skinny legs (or whatever) and all. Be comfortable. Set aside time and space to lotion your skin and exfoliate your feet. Stretch. Get yourself a gorgeous new bra, or decide to never wear a bra again! Dress to the nines, or spend the day naked, whatever you feel. Cue up your jam and dance while you make coffee in the morning and floss your teeth at night. Admire your pedicure. Rock a toe-ring.
- BOOK TRAVEL. If you’re “over it” in Oakland or just bored in Baltimore, and you’ve been hoarding Frequent-Flyer miles since before COVID, start booking. Black-owned travel companies, beginning with the iconic Travel Noire, specialize in curating experiences with Black travelers in mind. Start by checking out TN’s city-and-country guides for inspo and info.
- USE YOUR GOOD STUFF. Like right now, starting today. You know that fabulous cashmere sweater you splurged on but haven’t worn yet? Because why, exactly? No more excuses. Tonight’s the night, even if you are dining alone on Trader Joe’s Channa Masala. In fact, especially if you are dining alone on TJ’s best. Ditto for that perfume you’re hoarding for some undetermined special occasion. The special occasion is right now — ditto for your grandma’s Limoges china and all the rest. Take the metaphorical plastic off the sofa. This is not a dress rehearsal. This is your actual life.
- IT’S ALL IN THE EDIT. Give yourself permission to curate and eliminate. Look around your life. Is something really bringing you down? You have three choices. You can accept the situation exactly as it is and live with it, change it, or dump it, finally, and move on. Start with small stuff. Those shoes that hurt your feet. Don’t love ‘em? Out they go. That scratched-up, raggedy ol’ non-stick frying pan your (ex) mother-in-law gave you? Please. You deserve better. What about that string of pearls you got for your Sweet Sixteen or your graduation? The strand that broke about 40 years ago? Again, what are you waiting for? Take it to a jewelry store to be re-knotted (the cost is generally just a couple of bucks per knot!). If you have trouble fastening and un-fastening the clasp in back, have the jeweler attach a larger clasp so your strand is easy to put on and take off. And wear those pearls! Every blessed day! If Harry Styles can rock his pearl necklace with sweatpants, why can’t you? Pearl experts say that pearls are almost like a living thing, and when they are deprived of regular contact with warm human skin, they lose their energy and luster.
- BYE, FELICIA. But it’s not just about the literal and material stuff. Also give yourself permission to shed people and situations that make you feel just not right. You know that frenemy who always gets in her little passive-aggressive digs at you over brunch? The ones about your dating history, your incredibly poor lack of direction, or how fast you ate that appetizer? Insist on kindness. Also: if you’re still mooning about an ex, Valentine’s Day really is the perfect time to let that person go, once and for all. Do not drunk-dial. Do not ask yourself why, why, why, for the millionth time. Give yourself permission to delete that stash of painful emails, voice mails, texts. Feel free to chop said person out of old photos. Be gone! And who knows? Many experts, from clinical psychologists to tarot readers, say that you need to create an open, waiting space in your life to invite change, including the possibility of a new love.
And start that kindness effect with yourself. When you look in the mirror, don’t criticize. Offer praise and thanks to yourself instead. Treat your whole self tenderly, and love the one you’re with: you.