I’ve been thinking about this one for a while. This post isn’t entirely photography related but it is an important topic for us women to discuss. So, as always, grab your favorite drink and settle in!
I recently took a vacation to South America. It was AMAZING! Breathing in the cool, moist Andean air, relaxing in the high elevation of the northern Andes, sipping authentic Colombian coffee, and disconnecting from my normal life for a few days was absolutely wonderful. In some of those amazing moments, a thought occurred to me: I NEEDED this. I truly, deeply needed this–for my own sanity, I needed this escape. And then I thought “why?” Why did I need this escape so badly? Because I don’t often get to just be me and be responsible for just me. This is not a bad thing. I LOVE being a mom, a student, a wife, a business owner, etc. However, the weight of all those things is substantial and sometimes, I need to be able to put it down. I know I am not alone in that.
Most of us are always doing for others. We are moms, sisters, daughters, friends, employees, students, wives, girlfriends, business owners, and a plethora of other things–ALL AT THE SAME TIME! So when do we get to just be…for ourselves? The answer is never! Unless you consciously make the decision to do for yourself, it will never happen.
This is really nothing new. Even in the equality driven world we live in, where women are encouraged to wear many hats, this is not a new phenomenon. Think back to a century ago when women were tending homes, planting gardens, raising children, and sometimes even working outside the home while their counterparts spent the days reaping crops or working in mines or whatever. Women have always worn many hats but not usually one that includes their own well-being.
This needs to change. NOW.
There is a saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup. To elaborate, this means that you MUST take care of yourself before trying to take care of others. Wait, what? Did I really just tell you to be selfish and take care of you first? Yes I did.
Society has it all wrong. We are told to give give give and that we shouldn’t be selfish and that we should always think of others first. I’m here to tell you that mentality is bullshit. We (and by we I mean women AND men) need to reverse our thinking. If we first focus on ourselves–this includes our mental, physical, and emotional well-being–we can then better serve others. Does this make sense to anyone else? Am I alone in this thinking? I know that when I am worn out, frazzled, pulled in 18 different directions, wearing all the hats, and doing for everyone else, I do not give 100%. It’s not that I don’t want to, but I just can’t. I have to have time for myself to recharge, revive, and refocus my energy. This is the only way I can function and actually give 100% to everything I do. I often say that I don’t need to get things off my plate, rather, I just need a bigger plate.
I’m selfish. Not in the greedy kind of way but in the “I need to focus on me for a minute” kind of way. I’m a mom, wife, student, employee, and business owner. I am always doing something and generally doing it for someone else. This is not okay…unless I also make the time to do something for me, which I do regularly. I get a massage like clockwork every few weeks. My family knows this and they know how important it is to me to have those 2 hours of uninterrupted zen. I get my nails done every few weeks, because it makes me happy to have colorful nails and gives me a few minutes to be pampered by someone else. I stay up after everyone else goes to bed so I can enjoy a little quiet time to myself before wrapping up the day because that is the only time I can have those moments. In that time I may write, read, stare blindly at the TV, or any other number of other things I want to do. The important thing is that that time is all about me. Then I get a good night’s sleep so I can hit the ground running when I put all the other hats back on in the morning.
This is self-care. It looks different for everyone but is critical for success in life. Maybe you like to run or lift weights or do yoga. Maybe you’re an avid reader or watcher of classic films. Some people collect things, some people shop, some people love to meditate. Whatever it is that YOU love, like really deeply on a personal level LOVE, and brings you happiness and rejuvenation, DO IT. And do it frequently.
To come back to our cup. If the cup is empty, you can’t pour from it. But when it is full, you can then serve others a portion of the contents. The same is true for you. When you care for yourself first, your ability to do all the other things for all the other people increases exponentially!
And because I really like metaphors, let me put this another way: When your cell phone battery runs out, your phone stops working (and panic ensues). You plug in your precious device and leave it to recharge for a while without bothering it. When it is fully recharged, it serves you fully and completely without fail, until the battery dies again. Why is it that we give so much love to our phones but neglect ourselves? You are like your phone battery. You need time to recharge on a regular basis so that you can fully and completely live your life and do for others as you desire to do!
Lastly, because I just have to relate this to photography somehow, if you haven’t cared for yourself much lately, perhaps you should contact me to book a boudoir session. Boudoir photography is a fantastic way to recharge and recapture your inner badass and her energy. You get to spend about 3 hours getting pampered and photographed and you get to hang out with my super cool assistant and me the whole time! Invest in yourself, recharge your batteries, refocus your energy, and reignite whatever drives you. Do it for you, do it for those around you. I promise they will notice a difference in you when you make YOU a priority!
Until next time,
Keep it REAL!🖤