The Hit List - Self-care may just be that cigarette

Every so often, I’ll see a statement about “self-care” float through my social media feed. It’s usually accompanied by a photo of a young, healthy white woman sitting on a desolate beach in a teensy string bikini or some such thing. She might mention how she’s “unplugging” and working a lot less because she needs to chill. There may even be a green smoothie in her manicured hand. 

That self-care thing keeps her cylinders popping at full force so she says. What she doesn’t mention is that she can do this. She has the ability to take the time off and do nothing. 

Her lifestyle affords her that. Many folks don’t have that privilege. 

Folks such as the single mother who is working three jobs just to make ends meet.

Or the person praying for a job, any job, and cannot unplug from their cell phone just in case something comes through (their cellphone is their lifeline).

Or the entrepreneur who is barely holding their head above water.

Or the middle-aged couple who is knee-deep in elder care while trying to finagle teenager drama. 

Or the tireless activists on the front lines, fighting the good fight while some seem determined to burn the world to a blackened crisp.

For some, there are no days off, no massages, no beach days or unplugging. Instead, it’s a 24/7 grind.

You may know people like this. Heck, you may be one yourself. 

I’ve also been one of those people.

When I was a young single mom, I had to bust my ass just to get by. There were no sunny vacations, no days off for self-care (I even went to work when I was as yellow as Lisa Simpson from food poisoning), no meditating with monks or yogis. Instead, I worked most days. I had to. That’s what you do when you don’t have the luxury of extra cheddar stashed away. 

You do what you gotta do.

Which means self-care probably looks radically different.

Back in the day, my idea of self-care was a cigarette (skinny Capri lights in case you’re curious) and an ice-cold can of Mountain Dew. If I was lucky, I’d be indulging in these vices while watching Maury. There was something cathartic about the pop and fizz as I opened the can, the whoosh of the lighter, and inhaling the smoke deep into my lungs only to let it flow out of my nostrils like Khaleesi’s favorite dragon. My thrills were cheap because they had to be.

Those nasty-ass habits felt like a wicked indulgence, an escape from the drudgery, and a chance to be alone…so I could think. They were a way to leave the busyness of my daily life behind just for a few minutes.

Because the truth was, all the affirmations in the world couldn’t replace my reality. My circumstances meant self-care was minimal and magic was gonna take a long time to solve the riddles of how I got into that situation in the first place. My cigarette and soda addiction may have been kinda terrible but it was what it was. And frankly, it made me feel good.

But I’m no longer in that place. The ciggies and pop have been replaced by a nice glass of Malbec and an occasional massage. I actually get vacations now and then (although they are working vacations). I still watch Maury. Life is much better.

That being said, I never look back on those days in a judge-y way nor do I look down my nose at folks that may be kicking back outside their place of employment, taking a drag on a menthol, minty smoke billowing around their face.

It may not be “Instagram-worthy” but hey, it’s no one’s business but your own. Because not everyone will find self-care in the bottom of a wheatgrass smoothie on a beach (frankly, that whole idea makes me gag).

 Self-care might just be that cigarette at the end of a long shift. Ain’t no shame in that. (Psst…every so often, I crave one of those poisonous sticks…)

These old brass horseshoes hung in my childhood home. They are now above my doorway. I was curious about them – so I did a search on eBay. Turns out they are vintage decorations for horse bridles! COOL.

Other stuff:

Jeanna Kadlec delivered this beautiful post: “I should hate forever to be a burden to you”: Lessons in Love from Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West.

I am going to make this soon-ish: Slow-Cooker Indian Spiced Chicken with Tomato and Cream.

Here’s my post for Refinery29: A tarot reading for 2019.

Check out this Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Mountain Dew Cake.

Taking note: The 38 Essential Restaurants in New York City, Winter 2019.

Must-read: I’m A Gender Studies Student In Hungary & Americans Need To Know What’s Happening Here.

Loving this episode about the death of “bro marketing” from Dr. Michelle Mazur.

I can so relate: A Comic For Couples Who Can’t Pick A Restaurant To Save Their Lives.

Hell Yes: You Can Finally Filter People By Their Zodiac Signs on Bumble.

From Well+Good: How to pick your tarot card for 2019.

No, Marie Kondo is NOT a Virgo. She’s a Libra.

Did you sign up for Gala Darling’s Magnetismo yet? I am totally on board with this!

Learn about the asteroid Pallas – and her role in astrology.

From Mat Auryn: Exploring your shadow with the tarot.

Awful: Woman in Vegetative State Gives Birth, Prompting Sexual-Assault Investigation.

What tarot cards taught me about myself.

Refugee Girls Want to Change the World. Will We Let Them?

Good stuff from the AstroTwins: How the January 21 Super Blood Wolf Full Moon Lunar Eclipse Could Shift the Balance of Power as We Know It.

From the New York Times: There Is a Free Lunch, After All. It’s at the Office.

Why is this happening: At least 24 Native Americans — most of them women — went missing in Montana last year.

Jessica Dore writes so beautifully about tarot.

Speaking of Jessica, she’s on NPR this week talking about tarot for 2019.

I really want these glasses.

On my list: Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power.

This too: Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within.

Looks gorgeous: Goddess Power Oracle: Deck and Guidebook.

I’m so happy that my favorite oracle deck is back in print: The Power Deck: The Cards of Wisdom.

Struggling to understand tarot? Maybe you need a creative approach. The Tarot Coloring Book is a fun, relaxed way to grok the tarot!

If you like your tarot with a side of shadow work, social justice, and magic, Tarot For Troubled Times is your jam.


What I’m Grateful For:

A true day off

Horseshoe stuff!

A stack of good books

RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars!

Old music that’s new to me

Better habits


Soundtrack for 1/12/19:

Push Pull by OFFAIAH



© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2019

images from stock photography and personal collection 

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