Happy Birthday Spring Babies!

We are in the month dubbed Sprouting Grass Moon in the cycle of nature.

The idea of new growth and the greening of Earth sparks in me the hope that change is possible.

As I turn 55 I’m struck that self-care and more rightly so self-nurturing [as a form of compassion for yourself] is the way to go post-50 [or at any time in your life really].

It can be a challenge on a regular day to press the square button to pause the frenetic pace. I make the case for doing so no matter what.

In this time of crisis I haven’t been a saint in terms of self-care. Nor in terms of budgeting.

I thought: 55 is a big deal. It’s more of a milestone than 50 ever was. That’s because you’re halfway to 60.

For better or worse a person can face a new trial while living in menopause. This is the reason self-care becomes a necessity not a luxury at mid life.

Your life won’t wait for you. It’s moving on. Far better to move along with it.

Resisting change is futile in this era.

The motto as I’ve stated in here before [like a caterpillar to a butterfly] is:

Change or die.

Those are brave somewhat harsh words yet oh-so-true.

Who will you be tomorrow?

A more beautiful loving person when you take time out for yourself today.

Happy Birthday spring babies!

Speaking Out as a Form of Self-Care

I like this Martin Luther King, Jr. quote:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

It matters to me that I champion what “pro-choice” really means in its various manifestations:

The right to choose how we want to live. The right to choose love not hate. (Or the right yes indeed to choose hate if that’s how we want to live.)

It matters to me how people treat each other.

It matters to me that I speak out against hate and yes oppression.

In a way, people with mental health challenges have been repressed from speaking out and oppressed from having power.

I’ve talked in here before about my analogy to slices of the pie in how people compete with each other.

It comes down to self-care. When no one else seems to care about you it’s imperative that you care about yourself.

Refrain from internalizing the message that there’s something wrong about you. That there’s no hope for what you can do.

In 1988 I had to fight to be taken seriously. I rebelled the role of mental patient. Which is ultimately why I wrote about other things in Left of the Dial. I wrote about how I used fashion and music to heal. It was revolutionary because I didn’t focus on symptoms.

It matters to me–it has mattered to me from Day 1 of my recovery–that none of us are identified by our symptoms or our illness or our lack.

As an Author and a Dilettante/Lover I’ll continue to champion treating other people with dignity. I’ll continue to take my message of hope and healing wherever I go: on the street; on the stage; on the pages of the blog.

It’s 2017. We can’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. We can’t be afraid to challenge the haters. It’s time to rise up and use our voices to tell our stories.

Recovery is a human rights issue. I might be the only one who is so blunt to state it like this. I want to cry when I hear that a person has been institutionalized for 12 years or longer. The greatest thing is that they got out.

Everyone has the right to be supported and cheered on in their pursuit of having a full and robust life living in recovery. Now “full and robust” will look and be defined differently for each of us.

 

Choose Love

Last week I attended an open mic where I read the poem “What She Said” that starts off Left of the Dial.

The host started the evening by quoting Audre Lorde on self-care:

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

Self-care–in whatever healthy form it takes–is an act of love and healing. That’s why fashion and beauty aren’t frivolous pursuits.

I ask you: without self-care how can a person really feel and look their best? In this regard it’s imperative that each of us treats ourselves and the people we meet with kindness and compassion.

At the open mic I was witness to stories of tragedy and the overcoming of tragedy.

Ashley Smith, a fellow blogger, has alluded to the idea that we’re all in recovery, from whatever it is we’re in recovery from.

A breakdown; an illness; a diagnosis; an attack–all these can be a traumatic event.

Though I’ve only been 52 for two weeks I suddenly have zero tolerance for the hate, violence, and killing in the world.

I want to talk about this now because when you hit your fifties you’re faced with a choice: continue on the same path (that might include having negative thoughts or unhealthy behaviors)–or choose empowerment through having empathy for yourself and others.

You can’t afford to go down a path of ill health when you’re in your fifties. Now is the time to intensify your efforts at self-care.

If you’ve suffered a trauma–be it a mental health challenge or something else–please be good to yourself. You can’t blame yourself. Self-care is a necessity not a luxury.

There can be no shame and guilt involved in having a diagnosis. There can be no fear of reprisal when you choose how you want to live your life.

I bought a silver necklace that spells out: CHOOSE LOVE.

That’s the message I want to spread in the blog now:

Choose Love.

The Necessity of Self-Care

I want to write about the necessity of self-care as you get older.

Readers: if I gained weight I doubt I’d care at this point anymore.

Like so many women at mid life proclaim: “It’s either my face or my ass.” This is because:

In your fifties you might have a wrinkle-free face and gain a few pounds or have wrinkles and no extra poundage.

Research studies indicate that women who exercise feel better about their bodies even if they haven’t lost significant weight.

My secret is to lift weights twice a week as often as I can and to watch what I eat on most days. Now that the spring weather is here I often walk places instead of taking the subway. That’s how I get in “cardio”–cardiovascular exercise.

That’s the secret to hang a healthy body and a healthy mind: strength training. You feel better after you’ve exercised. There’s also some kind of idea that lifting weights firms the skin on your face too. I wouldn’t go so far as to think this–this seems incredulous to me.

My regimen is: At night I use L’Oreal Eye Makeup Remover and some kind of Neutrogena cleansing cloths for the rest of my face. After this I use Simple facial cleanser you can get in Rite Aid. Then I apply an old-school product from the Body Shop: the Vitamin E Night Cream.

In the morning I use Neutrogena Hydro-Boost moisturizer with SPF 15–the one that comes in the tube not the jar. I use an eye cream that costs about $15.

The reality is that you have to–at least I have to–wear moisturizer every day when you’re older. So I use a moisturizer with a sunscreen. I also notice that foundation goes on better if you’ve applied moisturizer first.

I’ll end here with this now:

No one will tell you–only I’ll tell you–that the future won’t always be totally rosy or always better and not ever challenging.

I learned the hard way from being the victim of an attack that your life can in some ways get harder at times not easier.

Which is the prime reason that self-care is so important now if you’re in your fifties.

Doing healthy things to make yourself feel better is a necessity not a luxury in recovery at mid life.