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Tiny Revolutions №52: Self-care is about other people, too
+ the stars of the pandemic ✨
Hi, I’m Sara, and this is Tiny Revolutions, a weekly-ish dispatch of personal writing and links about becoming who you are. Reply anytime, I love to hear from you.
I have never liked the term “self-care.” I’m 100% down with the practice of taking care of yourself in whatever way you need to, but as a term I find it off-putting. It feels a little too synonymous with “treat yourself” — fine every once in a while, but not actually helpful in any meaningful way.
“Self-care” as a term also feels weirdly pressure-packed. As though the ways that I can make my life better are just about ME. Some of them are – I am, after all, the only one who can make myself exercise or eat well or whatever – but so much of what we need to thrive is about our connections with other people.
Esther Perel is famous for saying “the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives,” and I’m inclined to agree. When I think about the things that make me feel better when I am struggling, there is always some aspect of nurturing involved. Some of which I can do for myself, but some of which I need from others. Sometimes it’s a phone call and sometimes it’s a hug and sometimes it’s just being in the company of people who see you and love you for who you are. And it takes a lot of work to cultivate those kinds of relationships to begin with.
Which is a thing that’s hard to do right now.
As we go through this second, more brutal-feeling wave of lockdown, I’ve been thinking about how throughout the pandemic, there have been voices who’ve come into my life via my inbox or on social media who have helped me get through it.
These are one-sided relationships, sure, but what they have in common is that each one of them has helped me see or understand something about myself that I couldn’t have done on my own.
So here’s a shout out to some of my favorite online people. I’m pretty sure I’ve linked to all of them before, but maybe you’ll discover someone who is new to you.
Edith Zimmerman / Drawing Links - I’ve been a fan of Edith’s work going back to her days as editor of The Hairpin, and her newsletter continues to inspire me. Subscribe for comics that depict sacred encounters with the mundane. (Edith has been a supporter of Tiny Revolutions, so if you’re reading this, chances are you may have gotten here through her – thank you, Edith!)
Stew Fortier / Stew’s Letter - Stew brings a madcap energy to my digital life that I so appreciate. Subscribe to his newsletter for updates on the Rice Mountain experiment – starting with a grain of rice, he is completing trades with strangers on the internet with the goal of eventually getting to a mountain. Great stuff about the possibilities the internet is unlocking every day.
Ryan Heffington - A choreographer by trade, Ryan reminds us of how important it is to feel good in our bodies. Highly recommend checking out his IGTV for his free dance workouts, which he also uses to collect donations for causes he’s into.
Jessica Dore - Jessica is a social worker and a tarot reader and a goddamn magician when it comes to making myths and old stories relevant to this very moment. Her monthly newsletter blows me away every time.
Chloe Valdary - I spend too much time on Twitter, which is a cesspool more often than not, but I am always glad to see one of Chloe’s tweets, as they always come from a place of love. Here’s an example:
What internet strangers are keeping you going? Let me know in the comments.
On to some other things I found worth sharing this week:
I posted this quote a while back, but it bears repeating.
🤯 Zen Quote:
“You try to know the whole picture of human life, but your knowledge is very small. How can the universe fit into your small world? It’s impossible. Instead, why don’t you fit your small world into the huge universe?”
- Dainin Katagiri in You Have to Say Something
Cheryl Strayed, whose work has been instrumental in my growth as a human, has started a newsletter where she is revisiting the columns that made up her wonderful book Tiny Beautiful Things, and answering new questions as well. Loved this line from the latest issue:
“So much of what we think is about something else—jealousy, rage, fear, grief, anxiety, longing—is at root (and heart) about love. Or least it is, if you follow its tendrils all the way back to the source.”
Coaching update/group work sessions?
I’ve been really enjoying the calls I’ve been having with readers about coaching (and working with the new clients who’ve signed up!) – so much so that it’s made me think harder about my own goals for the year.
I’d like to add a group coaching component to the roster, but am frankly a little overwhelmed at the moment. In the meantime, would you be interested in joining a regular group work session? I’m thinking about putting together a weekly Zoom call (time TBD) where we use the hour to work silently together on whatever project we never make time for. (For me, that’s a book!) Hit reply and let me know – this would be free for now while I figure out what a more structured program might look like.
And if you’re curious about coaching, you can book time with me here.
That’s all for me this week. Y’all take care.
p.s. Share this with a friend who’d be down to get it. That helps keep me going!