I once tried to introduce the concept of self-care Sunday to a male friend. I think he interpreted self-care as getting laid - - by a woman. I interpreted him to be gay. Misinterpretations such as this led to us not being friends anymore. Now that I’m over being mad about it, I’m okay with him dumping my ass as a friend. I wasn’t his people. Anyway. I suppose self-care could be getting laid. But usually, when I talk about self-care, I’m thinking about stilling my mind and bring balance to my mind, body and spirit. I find that if I make the time to do this, I have a better day/week and tend to stay in the moment.
Yesterday, tennis player Serena Williams had a very bad day at work. Whenever professional athletes have a bad day at work, I’m relieved that my bad days at work are not televised live, then replayed over and over and over, and then discussed by the press. Serena was accused of receiving coaching during play, which she denied and her coach admitted to it. Honestly, I don’t think she saw him which is likely why she so vehemently denied it. Things quickly devolved from there. Serena lost the U.S. Open and then, insult to injury, received a fine of $17,000 for her verbal abuse of the umpire, the coaching and breaking a racket - - no doubt reminiscent of John McEnroe. A quick google search revealed that McEnroe amassed $69,500 in career fines. McEnroe later went on to become a tennis commentator, as did Marina Navratilova. Earlier this year, Navratilova expressed that she was “not happy” to learn that McEnroe was paid 10 times more than she was by the BBC for his commentary for Wimbledon. Not happy? That has to be the understatement of the year. Criticism of the Williams sisters stems back to the start of their career. I’m not even going to rehash that here. If you believe that has nothing to do with them being strong, minority, female, career women who speak their minds, then the aforementioned adjectives must be non-applicable to you.
In any case, I believe that self-care helps you bring your best self to your work, your spouse, your children, etc. And yet, it can be difficult to prioritize self-care in our busy lives. We put other people first, believing that our roles require us to do so when the reality is that we can’t pour from an empty cup. Serena’s daughter turned 1 year old a week ago. I’m not commenting on Serena’s mothering or self-care practice. I am commenting on the fact she had this shit day at work that millions witnessed lived and that now resides online for us all to see. I’ve cried at work in my career. Personally, I’d rather poke my eyes out with a white, hot poker than cry but it happens. I’ve seen female colleagues do the same. While this wasn’t broadcast, I’m sure we were perceived as weak. I’ve also tirelessly advocated for the right thing and been perceived as bitchy or aggressive. I’ve never heard a man maligned because of his passion at work. In fact, unbridled male passion in the workplace often results in promotion. Rarely name calling or censure. There’s so much political bullshit going on – we’re on the brink of a new justice, Kavanaugh, being confirmed to the supreme court. This morning, a woman tweeted that if the men did not believe this confirmation would not impact them, they should reconsider – women would be “too busy marching and protesting to have sex with them.” Gallows humor.
This morning, I attended a meditation session at a new wellness center in my town of Hudson, MA. Hudson is becoming the town I’d always hoped it would become when we bought our home here 5-years ago. A town with shops and restaurants. A town that has ways in which people can support and nourish their body, mind and spirit. I’ve meditated before – both alone and with others. Both are fine but there is something to be said about meditating with others – about the collective, positive energy, holding space for yourself and those around you. You don’t find collective, positive energy many places. I hope you'll make some time for self-care today however that looks for you - getting laid, meditating, making tea. Whatever. Take the pause before jumping into a new week which will be filled with challenges that you can no doubt overcome. But I assure you it will be easier to do so if you hold some quiet space today.