Dear Creatives: Here’s why self-care is not selfish

Photography by JP Hanney

“May this season reveal to you that your identity should not be bound up in your productivity, but your perceptivity. You’re more than these roles you perform.”

I took a break from blogging on my website for a little over a year. At first, it wasn’t intentional. Then, weeks and months started to go by and I simply couldn’t fix myself to sit down and write; I dreaded blogging and it was no longer a fun hobby. It reminded me of how I felt in school when I had a paper or an extensive project due and I would procrastinate until the last-minute, every time. Once I mustered the courage and strength to sit down at the keyboard to type, everything was forced–each word, each sentence, each thought. When this happened, I immediately thought to myself–WHY are you doing this? If you’re feeling burned out, why are you forcing it? Let it flow or let it go! Self care for me in this moment looked like taking a short break from blogging. I’m glad I did. Message: Less forcing, more flowing.

Seasons of creativity

As a creative, I’ve learned that creativity comes in waves. Some seasons I’m overflowing with ideas, thoughts, ways to get ahead, and full of motivation and energy to get things done. No, I don’t feel like I always have to be motivated to do things I love. Sometimes, your passion and drive will motivate you and propel you forward. However, when you’re in the midst of a crisis, creativity flows and sometimes it doesn’t. In my case, it didn’t. Last year I had a lot to deal with in my personal life that required the majority of my time and attention. In addition, I was still grieving the death of multiple family members– the closest being my grandmother who I paid tribute to in a previous blogpost (here). It was all too much, but  it was only for a season. I suspect that there may be creatives out there feeling the same way during the COVID-19 pandemic and that’s okay. It’s perfectly okay to give yourself grace and compassion during this quarantine, whether God has put it on your heart to be productive or create, neither is wrong. Remember, trust the spirit, not what social media or the world guilts you for doing or not doing. Message: Know the season you’re in.

Self care empowers your best self

I preach this all of the time! Self care is giving the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you. You cannot pour from an empty cup. As a matter of fact, what’s in your cup is for you and your overflow is for everyone else. If you don’t have overflow, it’s okay not to pour out, because you need it! Yes, this is an example of radical self-care and an important factor in your overall well-being. It’s easy to pour out when we don’t want to deal with our own stuff. But, if you take breaks and take a step back to care for self… it will certainly propel you forward and empower you to give to others 100 times over. Message: Sometimes taking a step back propels you forward. 

Remember your why

I had to dig deep and figure out why blogging and sharing became such a job for me last year. At the core, I drifted away from my  “why.” Why did I even start this platform to begin with? I literally went back to reflect on my very first blog post (here). Upon completing my reflection, I was reminded that My Living Spree blog was created to motivate and inspire people by sharing my self-care journey, with hope that they too would embark on their own self care journey (living spree).

Purpose over perfection

In all honesty, these are the negative thoughts that ran through my mind– How can I empower and inspire other people when I am not empowered or inspired? How can I help people become the best version of themselves when I am STILL becoming? Then, I realized that there is strength in vulnerability and sharing the journey. There are other people in the world who need to read my message and hear my story. And those who are also on the same path of becoming as me! None of us have arrived. Why? Because we are constantly evolving. Even if my message is only for one person, one reader, one viewer…it will serve its purpose. That is the true posture of purpose. I came to realize that it wasn’t about me being perfect, it was about me operating in my purpose. 

Find strength in vulnerability

What I learned is, I have to first believe in myself and in my brand before anyone else. Growing up, we were taught that being vulnerable was a sign of weakness. “Don’t let anyone see you sweat.” “You have to be tough and be strong no matter what.” This is one of the biggest lies I told myself and honestly that all of us have told ourselves. Especially (black) women. On the contrary, what I’ve found is that there is strength in vulnerability. There is power in sharing your story, because that is how God gets glory. That’s the true posture of purpose. Someone out there is depending on you to step into who you were called to be. It is by no mistake that you went through what you did and came out unscathed. It’s not enough for me to post beautiful pictures online and not tell the story behind them. That is selfish and self-absorbed. 

It is my belief that sharing my story will help others, because they will be able to see parts of themselves in my journey. It is my hope that you learn from me by staying true to yourself (who you are at the core) and trusting yourself. That is the biggest lesson I’ve had to learn during this journey. I have to leverage my platform in my own expression and stay unique to who I am. Comparison will lead you out of your purpose. If I can’t trust in anything else, I can and will trust in myself. Moving forward, I am betting on myself. Message: There is strength in vulnerability.

Top: Nastygal |Pants: ZARA

A message for creatives

  1. You are more than what you make
  2. Your productivity does not determine your value
  3. It’s okay to do nothing sometimes
  4. Not everything you do has to result in a product/service/outcome
  5. Not everything you make has to be important, significant, or good
  6. You can choose to not share what you create and make things just for yourself
  7. You can keep secrets to yourself, whether it’s not sharing upcoming projects, events, or techniques
  8. You are allowed to say no
  9. You are allowed to rest
  10. You must take care of yourself so that you can create

I hope this posts helps someone realize that sometimes a step back is a step forward. No matter where you are in your journey… KEEP GOING! Know what season you’re in and give yourself what you need to help you fulfill your mission. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

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