It's Not Self-Care If You Regret It After


"My pinned tweet right now (and if we each have a venue for our individual poetics, it is the pinned tweet), is “It’s Not Self-Care If You Regret It After.” I reject the idea that doing something that makes you feel bad – for me, say, going to a fast-food drive-thru for the saltiest, hottest fries in the fry biz, and the smallest enormous Coke (idea, btw: those joints should sell “Coke Baby,” like legitimately tiny Cokes, like the size of a Coke from a children’s fast-food play set, like think of the Instapossibilities!) – is anything other than self-destruction for someone who just can’t handle it as a treat, which is me, for whom salty carbs beget salty carbs, for whom sugar is a life-allergen.

I like it and still do it because I like driving, I like suburban nostalgica, I like fries and Cokes. But then I might want more the next day, or even the next week, and it’s a whole thing; I just don’t have that privilege.

Whatever you do that hurts you, even in the smallest and most instantly forgivable ways, is bad for you. If drinking gives you anxiety, that means it hurts you and what hurts you is self-destructive, and deciding to not participate in your own destruction is what it is to be self-caring, self-loving, a self out for the self. In another language, this is “adulting.” (Hate that phrase, though.)

Self-care is regularly positioned as drinking Whispering Angel and doing yarn crafts with squealing packs of pals in neon-lit hot tubs, but self-care is actually a pretty boring and rigorous practice of constantly choosing yourself, when you can, when you know how and what, over the extraordinary and constant forces that are indifferent to or against you, and sometimes also of you. Here I would say those forces are a social culture that behaves as though alcohol is a requirement. It’s not. I’m very fun."

From my newsletter, The Feeling, on August 5, 2016. Subscribe here.

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Pic from my own Instagram, taken in Muskoka in March of 2017, early, bleary.

Kate Carraway