I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. – John Muir
There are so many avenues to take when it comes to self care. When I sat down to write this piece I thought about how I actually incorporate self care into my life. Well, let’s see… as a new mother, wife, artist, writer, and any other label I could choose to give myself in a given moment I don’t have much time to myself these days. So I thought about all the forms self care has worked itself into my daily routine: mommy-baby yoga in the mornings, long walks with the baby and dog, journaling, sketches, gardening, a hot shower, crafting dinner – there are so many small moments in a day where I try to make the practice of doing something that I had to do anyway a form of self care. And that’s the magic of the many paths you can take, there really are an infinite amount and its all about perspective.
For me though, the most significant form of self care I practice during the day is photographing. I started creating self portraits at the beginning of my pregnancy as a way to document, understand, and explore my body as it underwent a rather dramatic change. When I started, I didn’t think much about it. A few times a week I would take a portrait or two and that was that. However, as I became more pregnant and I started feeling my body struggle to do what it had been doing daily for over a year (I was farming vegetables and oysters at the time) this practice became an essential way to celebrate that same body. Despite the struggle to participate in activities I loved, eat food I enjoyed, feel good at work, and some other things I was used to doing, my body was doing something amazing, something worth celebrating.
Fast forward to now. I am still creating self portraits and although the ideas behind them are shifting, they still serve as a form of self love.
The images now differ – they are portraits of me and my daughter, our home, my own mother; collages of memories I have, stories my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother told me; sketches of emotions, energy, and connection They are an anthology of everything I want my daughter to know about her family and her history. They are me, her, and the myriad of women who came before us – writers, artists, businessowners, farmers, seamstresses, activists, pioneers – all of the things, people, events, places that make up who I am – who she is. In doing this the act of self love has become inescapable. How can I not celebrate a woman who comes from such a history? A woman who carried and birthed such a strong and confident daughter? A woman with her own experiences, thoughts, and events to add to this story?
This woman – She must be celebrated.
And that is self love. Self love is for everyone, at anytime, no matter the circumstances. It comes in countless forms from simple to complex. It is not a privilege but a right. Everyone has a story worth telling, a multifaceted brilliant history that formed them and a million small moments they will add to that history – and that is something worth celebrating.
Self care is self love, friends!
Follow along with my ongoing projects, reach out for collaborations, or chat with me @kirrakimbrellphoto or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early Pregnancy, 2016
She grew flowers during the Depression, 2017
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kirra is an artist and half of Mother Muse Co. She is one of hosts of the Self Care is Self Love Retreat and will be holding a meditative hike and photography session.
Kirra currently lives in Brick, NJ with her husband, Matt, and baby girl, Savine.