I feel like I’m rarely vulnerable on this blog, which is funny because before I put my blogging on blast, I would treat this social media platform like a paraded diary for strangers on the internet to read. So, as an attempt to be more ~open~, I give you the tale of my little three-day self-love roller coaster which took place on Valentine's Day.
Two days ago, I was in a self-loathing rut. Midway through Monday, I suddenly felt like a switch had gone off in my brain and my emotions dropped like Hysteria at Dufan (Google it if you don't get it). I was mentally withdrawn, and a large part of me knew that this was bound to be the effects of PMS. A lot of the women in my life are blessed with minimal bloating and cramping, but my cycle really takes a toll on my mental well-being as well as physical. That night, I felt horrible and took the worst shower. I think I scrubbed myself down twice and didn’t moisturise once, not even my lips—a cult Must Do, if you will (one time I left the house without lip balm in my bag and almost went in to a frenzy attack). I spent the rest of the night listening to mildly sad music and scrolling through Instagram, an app that never does me good when my insecurities are popping up.
The next morning, I woke up on Valentines Day (which, yes, I am aware is just a capitalist excuse to sell overpriced plants that grow on the ground for free and chocolate, also made out of plants) feeling like the absolute worst version of myself. My skin was all blotchy, red, angry, and I had a major hormonal breakout. I knew that I had to make the conscious decision to take the needed steps towards changing my mindset if I was going to have a productive day. Plus, I had a Valentines date with my boyfriend, and I sincerely wanted to be mentally present.
So, I started the day with a five minute yoga routine. It’s super easy, super fast. There really isn’t much physical challenge but it brought awareness to my breathing and gave me the chance to quickly meditate, setting the tone for the rest of the day. Yoga is such a key to practicing self care, in my opinion. You won’t feel it when you’re doing it, but once you stop doing yoga, you’ll realise just how much it does for your mental, emotional and physical stability. Even five minutes of a few poses lifted my spirits and gave me the motivation to continue caring for my body.
I continued by taking a (non-overly) cleansing shower + moisturising skin care routine. I kept my makeup lightweight with some coverage by mixing my foundation with moisturiser. I knew that when I’m breaking out, I feel better when I’m using minimal makeup so that I’m not constantly imagining a bunch of gunk getting trapped between my skin and facial products. I kept the rest of my makeup light and pretty, the way I know makes me feel cute. I took the same approach with my outfit. I chose a pretty lace bralette, a dainty white blouse, and shaping yet roomy skinny jeans that was forgiving on my bloating and the food to come during my lunch date. I know it seems basic and superficial, but the way I choose to look on the outside does a lot for how I feel on the inside.
At first I didn’t want to be around my boyfriend. When I’m feeling stressed and my hormones start raging, I get destructive and get a constant urge to shut everyone out. Partly because I know it will be easier for people not to see me when I'm not at my best, but mostly because my narcissistic self makes it everything about me as shutting people out will only make me feel more lonely. Sometimes all it really takes to break a sudden mood swing is to open yourself up instantly. Don't overthink it, just hug whoever you're shutting out or even just touch their shoulder or hand. Human contact often grounds me, and I've found it to be the cure to sudden mental drops.
I stopped absent-mindedly opening my phone to scroll through social media, refused to listen to bad music that I didn't like, and indulged in foods that I knew would make me happy (for me it was chilly-cheese fries and chicken pesto pasta). The rest of the day was spent watching Steven Universe, a beautiful cartoon that effortlessly depicts human conditions and emotions through simple stories about growing up, captured in aesthetically pleasing colour palettes.
Tonight, as I walked down the busy and lit Senayan streets, a place where I've never felt like I belonged, I heard music blaring from a mall across the sidewalk. A woman and her band was singing Best Thing I Never Had, a self-deemed Beyonce anthem back when I was in 7th grade and first realised that I was better off loving myself. After belting out the lyrics with this woman aka looking like a slightly crazed teenage girl on the side of the street at night, I realised that I had the same feeling in the pit of my stomach as I did back in 7th grade, circa pre-self-loving Sel. I was alive and aware of myself, of my needs, and I was fulfilling those needs. Practicing particular things created and creates such a huge feeling of fulfilment in me, that it's almost hard to shut everyone out as a means of torturing myself. Suddenly, I felt as if I was supposed to be there, in this city that I have never called my home, across a mall I dreaded, walking down a path that finally felt as though it was paved for me so I that I could be in that moment and feel a sense of pride wash over me, seeing the full circle I have gone through flash before my eyes.
I do plan to make a video or an elaborate blog post to further discuss self care and tips that I've gathered and learned. Valentines day has passed, but I will continue to live through the ongoing process of self love. To end on a cheerful note, enjoy this silly gif of me jamming out to good music in the car.
© Selena Soemakno. All rights served unless stated otherwise.