Saturday, July 08, 2017

"Y'all Ain't Gon' Drive Me Crazy!" (or "Self-Care" in 2017)

Me.  Unbothered.

In January, I decided that this year would be one of unparalleled commitment to self-care.  I will admit that I have done pretty well, but at least once a day, I find myself saying (out loud) "Y'all ain't gon' drive me crazy!"

On the surface, it may appear that I am already crazy, and  To be perfectly honest, I think my mental neighborhood is "crazy-adjacent" but I'll be gat-damned if I'm gonna let some of these muhfuggs drag me the rest of the way.  Here's how I cope:

NB: I've been quiet here for awhile, and now I have some things to say.  Warning y'all ahead of time that I'm in my South-Side-of-Chicago-Girl bag right at the moment, and if you have a problem with AAVE, you may want to sit this one out.

1.)  The problem:  donald 😖 
Yes, lowercase "d" donald (y'all know who I'm talking about).  Some of y'all put this punk-ass fool in the White House so that he can pretend to run the country from his Twitter feed, now I have to see/ listen to his reprehensible behavior on the daily.  Ev-er-y single day, there's a fresh, steaming pile of madness on my doorstep.  I go to the gym, and it's on the TV, I listen to NPR and it's on the radio, I sign into my computer, and... well, there it is.  Again.

The solution:  At the first sign of eye-twitch,  I turn ALL that isht off and meditate, paint, write, work out, practice yoga, or read a book until I am sufficiently chill enough to interact with people without using cusswords.

2.)  The problem:  Family
Chiiiile - how much time you got??  'Cuz I got stories for ya.  I do love my family, and my emotional wiring won't allow me to just NOT care, but some of these kinfolk really test the limits of my patience.

The solution:  I limit my interactions with the folks that are most likely to make my head explode (some are down to birthday and Christmas texts), and I just pray for their ratchet asses them.

3.)  The problem:  Friends
I like all y'all, and even love some of y'all, but I'm good for listening to the same issue 2, maybe 3 times... then you either need to make some changes or find a therapist.  I'm here if you really need me, but not always just b/c you want me.  I know that's not the way that the BFF fairyland handbook is drawn up, but I can't even be the good, honest, respectful listener that you deserve when I spread myself thinly.  Don't call me with bullshit.

The solution:  I turn my ringer off whenever possible.  My phone is for MY convenience, and being accessible to everybody at all hours is not what I consider "convenient."  Those closest to me know how to find me in a true emergency, and know that I will make myself available when I am able to give unimpeded.

6.)  The problem: Money
This one is tricky for me, because in our "s/he who dies with the most toys wins" culture, I have figured out that I really don't care about money, but I can't ignore the fact that it's a tool to be traded for things that I need, like a ceiling, wifi, a flushable indoor toilet, and international travel (yes, that is  a need, no it's not up for debate).  As much as I do not care, I've actually come to like living indoors and not having to read by candlelight, so I have to make enough to sustain myself, plus put away enough to not have to eat cat food when Hollywood puts my old black woman ass out to pasture, as it is wont to do.

The solution:  I am not focused on getting rich or being famous, I am focused on enjoying my life.  Most of what I need in order to enjoy my life has nothing to do with money or notoriety.  For the things that DO require money, I make my money doing (mostly) things that I enjoy, and keep it moving.  Fancy high-end cars, designer labels, and expensive dinners don't move me, so that helps to reduce my overhead. For those things that require a higher level of visibility than my norm, I make sure that my hustle stays aligned with my values.

4.)  The problem: Hollywood 
Oh, honey- Hollywood will chew you up and spit you out if you tie your sense of self-worth to being validated by the movers, shakers, and gatekeepers.

The solution:  I am an artist FIRST, and keeping myself involved in various artistic endeavors depends solely on ME.  "Hollywood" is just an avenue that allows me to trade a few of my artistic abilities for money.  It's business - not personal.

5.)  The problem: Social Media
On the surface, it's an introvert's DREAM!  Like a big 'ol cocktail party where nobody wears pants and you can leave when you've had enough... and then you find out how insidious it is:  people expect feedback on the minutest minutiae of their lives.  "Did you see my cat do that thing?"  Yes, heffa, I've seen your damn cat do ALL the things, that's why I'm muting you.  Or Boo has a fight with Bae and wants the world to know how trash Bae is... until they get back together, then you're supposed to forget about that time that Bae punched Boo in the eye.


The solution: 
 I use the apps that are useful for me in ways that add value to my life, rather than just sucking up my time.  I don't have FOMO from not regularly scouring my Facebook feed for the latest happenings.  I don't think people will suffer if I don't Snapchat every event in my day.  I'm just not that important to the social media network at large, and that's fine by me.  Most folks are too wrapped up in their own lives to be worried about mine, and the ones who genuinely care about my life already know what's going on.

In summation:  Availing myself to this "always-on" culture isn't good for me.  It keeps my head full of noise and makes it tough for me to hear the gentle voice of my own intuition.  Because I am constantly on call for auditions, I usually can't completely unplug when I want to.  Instead, I guard my energy like a watchdog.

  • This means accepting that I can't be all things to all people.  If you need a friend that you can call up all day with "What you doin'?"  I'm not her.
  • This means "They sleep, we grind."  is often just something that I read on Twitter before I drift off to a night of restful sleep.
  • This means accepting that some good people will get pissy because they called me twice about something unimportant (by their own admission) and I didn't call back until the next day when I was mentally equipped to focus and engage.
I can live with all of that.

It's crude, but that's how I keep my tenuous hold on sanity and reserve energy for the things that are truly important to me.  How about you?


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