The Self Care Chronicles I: Journaling, Mindfulness, and Record Keeping

Welcome to the first installment of the Chronicles! If you want to read the introduction to this conversation on self care, you can find it here.

I feel like last year’s self care mantras were about the powers of meditation and mindfullness. I’m all about self care but I’ll be honest- neither of those things quite sound like my jammy jam. I can’t keep my mind from racing if I sit still just breathing, and mindfullness sounds good in theory, but its hard to remember to be mindful sometimes. Still, there’s something to be said for their benefit, particularly the mindfulness and gratitude tip/aspect. There are two ways I try to hardness the power of mindfullness:

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Header image of the Self Care Chronicles

The Self Care Chronicles

At the beginning of the year many of us start to think about resolutions (or intentions).  We all experienced the general dumpster fire that was 2017, whether or not you experienced it as such. 2018 feels like a welcome fresh start. But the start of a New Year can be also anxiety inducing. Maybe it’s bringing too much change, or you need something to change but don’t know where to begin. Here’s where your self care, and how you begin the year, can help.

That, above, is how I was going to introduce this, back when I intended to start it at the new year. Best laid plans of mice and men. Anyway, today is International Self Care Day, and what better time for me to re-evaluate my goals for this blog* and you your self care and the way you intend to go forward with it.

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2018

Happy New Year!

Yes, I’m a few days late, but New Years are for re-centering and quiet introspection. Plus, you were probably inundated with a bunch of articles on New Years that you’re still catching up on. I hope that the New Year for you is full of personal growth, increased wellness, attention to your intentions, and ends with your freedoms fully intact.

I don’t know about you, but I for one am particularly excited about this New Year. It could be that I’m ready to reset after that mess that was much of 2017. It could be also this whole sabbatical thing. It’s awesome! I’ll write an update soon, but not a ton of activity has been happening. Thank you, though,  for all of your “hey, you still alive and thriving?” texts, messages, and distress calls. I am!

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A Strange Encounter in Suburbia

The first time I visited Fargo was in summer of 2015. I generally try not to be an elitist New Yorker about things but I’ll be honest, I had low expectations.  It was my first brush with this level of suburbia, and I thought it would be a feat if I saw 2 black people. I actually saw 5 that weekend. But it was and still is the whitest environment that I have ever been in, which is saying a lot; I’ve been in some pretty white spaces- hello Windsor Terrace, magnet programs, and private school.

During that trip, Adam and I went to Target (second reference this week, still not sponsored) to pick up some things I’d forgotten, and I’ve never felt more like a misfit toy. I had prepared for this, though, and quickly got over the double takes. But there was one woman who was downright staring. Every time I looked up, we made awkward eye contact. I felt my slight discomfort turning to bemused annoyance, and pointed her out to Adam. He’s generally unbothered by things and never rises to my level of anger which is sometimes frustrating- what a duo we could be if he would.

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Nearly Two Months of Fargo

It’s been nearly 2 months since I moved to Fargo. In that time I’ve had the joy of watching people’s expressions change as I explain that I’ve moved to Fargo of my own volition. Also of explaining where exactly in the country Fargo is. North Dakota is up and coming though, folks! It’s been referenced a few times in the news, most recently by SNL’s Michael Che and the Late Night’s John Oliver. Sure, the press isn’t great- John Oliver suggested that anyone willingly moving to Fargo should receive a full psych workup to assess what murder charges they are fleeing, but that was a JOKE. We all laughed, right?

Semi-related sidenote- I read Jeffery Dahmer’s Wikipedia page one night after 11pm (don’t) and proceeded to lie awake until 3 am, periodically checking the windows and locks. I always half-joke that North Dakota/the north Midwest in general is exactly the type of place where those crimes can occur because in (real) cities there are just too many witnesses. Of course, whenever I say that to people from Fargo they remind me that they don’t know the last time someone was murdered here. No one locks their front doors, even. But have you noticed how the most grisly murders happen in the places where afterward people all say, “This is such a tragedy; nothing like this ever happens here. I’ve known everyone on this block since 3 months B.B. (before birth).”??? I REST MY CASE.

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Head, Heart

Heart weeps.
Head tries to help heart.
Head tells heart how it is, again:
You will lose the ones you love.  They will all go.  But
even the earth will go, someday.
Heart feels better, then.
But the words of head do not remain long in the ears of
heart.
Heart is so new to this.
I want them back, says heart.
Head is all heart has.
Help, head.  Help heart.

 

-Lydia Davis

I read this poem? short story? in junior year of high school with my teacher Ms. Kirk (who was awesome) and it stuck with me. Recently had occasion to think of it again and thought I’d share.

The Sabbatical

As I’ve somewhat explained before, the sabbatical is an idea that I dreamed up after deciding to quit my job. Back when I first thought about quitting (in October, December, and March, respectively), I would begin by thinking about what I wanted to do next. That’s sort of the natural progression of things; you leave one experience for another. You’re expected to have a solid plan of some sort. Last summer, for example, when I was thinking about leaving my job, I knew it was for the express purpose of trying out something new. I flirted with the idea of moving to Spain to teach English with the auxiliares program. Funnily enough, the person whose job I took over at the foster care agency was leaving to do that exact thing- isn’t that uncanny? I still don’t know what message the universe was sending me there (if you have any ideas, let me know). I landed on Childrens’s Corps because it had been one of my two options as I was graduating college. I knew I wanted to work with families, and this seemed like a great way to assess whether I wanted to get an MSW.

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