I'm starting this blog post in the bath because my brain is currently urging me not to participate in self care this evening.
And by "currently urging me not to participate in self care this evening", I mean, at the time of this writing, I am gearing up to wash my face with a very pleasant cleanser I love that has been fabulous for my skin. But my brain is using every possible tool in it's massive arsenal to convince me NOT to do this.
And then the rest of my entire self is trying to tell my brain that it is being dumb and illogical and we feel better when we take care of our whole selves.
I don't know why my brain wants my face to stay dirty. It's pretty mean, to be honest. I'm getting really tired of it.
This is what it sounds like in my brain right now:
“Oh no. You can't wash your face right now! There's absolutely no way.
That's too much work. You'll have to sit up and get your face wet and that means your hands will get wet and that is always very stressful for some reason and we don't like that.
Plus, so you even need it? Your skin has been looking pretty good lately so one more day of not washing it will not make a difference.”
See? Cause this is already the second day in a row that I've had this internal argument.
And I lost yesterday.
And I didn't want to lose against my stubborn brain again today. So here's how I handled it:
First, I argued back.
I always try this first - no idea why, it rarely works.
Have you ever tried to get your brain to stop doing something simply by telling it to "stop"? Yeah, that doesn't work for me. On good days, it just makes my brain belly laugh at me and keep trying to convince me not to do whatever thing I'm trying to do. Fighting against my brain is exhausting.
Other days, it makes my brain dig in even further. She a stubborn bitch. Sometimes I wish I could reach my finger to itch the parts that annoy me the most.
But alas, I cannot do this, so I am forced to reason with my brain instead.
So, here's what trying to reason with my brain sounds like:
"Oh, hey, yeah, the skin looks good because of all those days when we did clean it, and tone it, and moisturize it! Not because of the days we DIDN'T do it"
My brain: don't need it. too much work.
"Hm, well, it's actually not that much work, it will take less time than arguing about this with you actually,"
brain: no washing. just lay there. you are a lump, stay a lump.
Sometimes my damn brain wins, HARD, and I stay a lump.
However, these are battles I have been winning with my brain more often, recently.
Not only self-care battles, but creative and personal battles as well.
How have I been doing this? Well, it is a balancing act that is a combo of self discovery - both age-related health stuff and lifelong mental stuff that just got shoved under many dusty rugs.
It’s a lot of work that is easily toppled over when the slightest bit of self doubt starts to creep in. That’s my responsibility to quell though, not the outside world’s job to stop being real with me. My emotions are my responsibility.
That’s totally not something I learned growing up. As a child, was responsible for my dad’s and my mom’s emotions (which were a lot of her hiding things unnecessarily from my dad and pulling us kids in as her accomplices. It often looked like, “Don’t tell your dad we bought ____” or “If anyone asks don’t tell anyone we saw _____”.) It also looked sneaky like those times I was made to feel responsible for anger that a parent was experiencing because they were cleaning or doing some other chore and I wasn’t. That’s one that gets easily riled up again whenever I see anyone else doing housework or, hecks, any work while I’m in a relaxy zone.
Apparently, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be! Who knew? Definitely not me. So learning to be responsible for my emotions - heck even figure them out to a more nuanced level has been immensely helpful. Like previously, I used to used “Fun with Dick and Jane” words for my emotions. You know, like “happy”, “sad” and “mad” and not much more than that.
What I mean by this is that, despite my really big vocabulary from being a voracious reader as a means to navigate school, I didn’t put those same words into practice for my own human emotions.
I guess I thought I didn’t deserve them? Who the fuck knows? This might be a whole other blog post in its own.
But for now, I’ll leave it at this: I use ‘grown up book’ words when I work through my vast and colorful array of emotions. I guess that could actually be a whole other blog post on it’s own.
I wonder how many times my brain will try to talk me out of that.
In conclusion, the things that bothers me most about this whole brain battle situation is that it is illogical as fuck. And I KNOW THIS deep down into the delicious marrow of my bones.
Explaining the things my brain is fighting me on constantly makes me feel so dumb, so I simply don’t. It is exhausting to experience, I can’t imagine forcing another person (most likely someone I care about very much) to experience that same thing.
So, like I do with everyone I love, I accepted it as a part of myself and am now doing the work to see how I can, uh, work with this annoying AF part of my brain.
It’s a fuck ton of work, don’t get me wrong, but it slightly lessened noise in there is worth it as the illogical loops lessen.