vanity is self care

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The gawjus and kind sandersmcgee tagged me for the 20 Beautiful Women thing floating around *blushes profusely* so hahaha y’all gon have to suffer through some more of my selfies! :D

Now let’s see, the 20 lovely ladies I’m tagging (in no particular order): thafineness letmalikharrysdimples justbethany scandalalldey janellebearden kawaiiflowerchild trublulotus afro-elf nanamixbaby recovery-after-depression sindels-scream lemme-sit-this-aaash-onya yungpoundcake webcop brownglucose kehinki mochafleur onlyblackgirl thoughtsofablackgirl kiarasnaps

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5 Things to Consider When Creating a Personal Sacred Space

It’s taken me years to create a space for myself within my home. YEARS. I feel like my space is finally the way I want and need it to be. For now. LOL! I’m always rearranging things every few weeks. For now, this is the way I love for it to be. This is where I pray, practice yoga poses (when it’s not doing me more pain than good) and meditation, listen to records, and read from my tiny library (books, zines and comics). This is my personal sanctuary and where I rest my aching body and anxious mind every single night. I’m mentally and chronically ill so some days - sometimes a week or weeks - I don’t get out of bed especially when my depression is really bad.

Here are five things to consider when creating a personal sacred space. Enjoy!

1. Use what you have

My record player sets atop a TV dinner tray. In my prayer space, my sacred objects are set upon a floral print tray I’ve used for makeup, coffee makers, and many other purposes. A Gremlins lunchbox (c. 1984) houses a tiny zine collection and an Annie lunchbox (c. 1981) houses a tiny comics collection. Other things like my floral print trash can and containers were purchased at the dollar store. 

2. Clear the clutter

Take out things that might contribute to your anxiety or remind you of things you can’t or don’t want to do (I once was able to do weights but haven’t been in over a year so I took them out). I used to have everything in my room from makeup to books to my writing/craft desk. Makeup is now on my bathroom vanity and, except for mental health and self care books, my books and desk are in the living room. Over time, I went through all of my documents and any other papers and only keep what I need. I placed them in cute folders in magazine holders on a designated shelf in my closet.  Since I removed the desk, I rarely work on the laptop and do any other work like writing or zine making in my room.

3. Surround yourself with what represents you

For the longest time my walls were bare. No art, just white walls. I didn’t start investing in art until maybe a year ago. The art in my room definitely represents who I am and makes me happy: Hopi, Otham, a river and desert person, and no doubt a Star Wars fan. (My Hopi and Star Wars art was made by a Hopi/Otham friend which I purchased from him at our tribe’s museum at First Friday’s. It was the end of the event so I bought seven pieces which was pretty much his inventory that night!) I love bright colors, floral patterns and cute things which is represented from my sheets to my trash can to small containers that hold special objects. I keep mental health, yoga, and self-care books (coloring books and paper dolls) in my room because I want them to be within reach on the days I’m struggling, especially to get out of bed. I also try to be a minimalist when it comes to buying and keeping records and comics because cost and space.   

4. Decide what kind of space you want it to be

Whether you have a tiny room, a roommate, share with a significant other, a relative, or whatever it may be, you might not have a lot of space or any space to create the sanctuary you want and need. It’s okay, I used to only have the floral print tray for my sacred objects and that was it. My room is maybe 150 sq. ft. but I managed to create “zones” which include a listening space, yoga space, prayer space, art space and a reading space. Decide what’s most important to you and create something, even if it’s an altar on a TV dinner tray!

5. Take your time

Like I said, it’s taken me years to curate this space I call my sanctuary. Take your time figuring out what means the most to you, what makes you happy, and doesn’t cost a lot of money or any money at all. It’s important to have a space that is safe and all yours. You need a place to help nurture you back to health in your body, mind and spirit. You deserve this!

Thank you for reading. Please, do share with me how you created your personal sacred space and what it means to you and your mental, spiritual and physical health. Sape!

slate.com
The 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine Is a Radical Act of Feminist Self-Care
I first heard of what’s known as the 10-step Korean skin care routine when my colleague Dorothy Kim, a professor of medieval literature at Vassar College,

What I didn’t realize until recently, however, is that K-beauty is also popular with self-identified feminist academics and scholars, several of whom told me that they view the elaborate routine not as vanity but rather as an act of radical feminist self-care.*

*Correction, Jan. 7, 2015: This article originally misidentified the bloggers Tracy of fanserviced-b and Cat Cactus of Snow White and the Asian Pear as “self-identified feminist academics and scholars.” Neither blogger self-identifies as a feminist, and Cat Cactus is not an academic. The piece also stated that Tracy and Cat Cactus are among women who “view the elaborate [K-beauty] routine not as vanity but rather as an act of radical feminist self-care.” Both bloggers disavow this view, and neither of them were contacted for the piece.

“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”
- Rumi


Last night, I chose to stay in home alone for Halloween. Usually, I am a social person who loves dressing up. However, the past 6 months (+) have been incredibly tolling on me. In August, I finally graduated college and received that strange, expensive piece of paper in the mail. In addition to a busy touring schedule and my creative work, I’ve been working full-time at a domestic violence shelter. That means 40 hours a week in the office and traveling every weekend. Sometimes, more than one show a week. I am always tired–but I know how lucky I am. I’m thankful to be busy with things that I love.

In the past several months, I have been doing a lot of intense self-reflection. More than normal, which is a little ironic because I am a poet and all I seem to do is think about and reflect on my life. But this has been different. I’m different.

This summer, I learned what it is like to love unconditionally–not the unconditional love that forgives and forgives and justifies, but the love that makes itself a shelter, a bed to crawl into. I learned how love the Healing, how to be there for someone who needs you even when you don’t feel all there yourself.

In September, I lost my grandfather. While this was undoubtedly sad, I realized recently that I did not mourn him. He was ready to die and had lived a long, fulfilling life, and we (as a family) were ready to say our goodbyes. I realized recently that, lately, I am mourning his granddaughter–the girl who will never be again, who is still here in me somewhere but grows fainter and fainter ever day. Time, the endless procession, never stops. One day, I too will be on the other side of it.

I am reminded daily that I am a servant to this life, not the Source of it. That I am constantly traveling down that long journey into myself.  Sometimes, we must force ourselves to examine parts of us that are still hard to look at, as well as parts that we like. And that is okay.

Home alone last night, listening to the chatter of party-goers from upstairs and outside, I couldn’t help but feel lonely. However, if my self-reflection from the past couple months have taught me anything, it is this:

At the end of the day, I am all that is left. My choices, my voice, my heart: I am all that I have. I must be the source of my own happiness, for without myself, I am just the reflection, the reverberation of those around me. If I cannot accept and love the silence of myself, then I cannot truly celebrate the music either.

In an act of self-care, maybe self-love, or hell, even vanity, I braided my hair last night. I pinned baby’s breath into a crown around my head and got dressed for no one. I felt beautiful. I was enough.