Updated: Oct 10, 2021
Learning To Feed Your Body and Psyche What It Needs
I have spent weeks, months, dedicated to rehabilitating this garden, to restoring the beauty I know it is meant to emit; but, I find myself, lately, wondering what I have done for myself and what more I can strive for. Self-management is something that I find myself struggling with constantly. The weight of the task of maintaining mundane rituals, what feels like miniscule issues in the grand scheme of my daily schedule, is overwhelming and discouraging. I sit beneath a tree overcome with vines. It’s nimble limbs swing in the wind, the flowers lining them speckled in blues and whites.
I think about how long it took for the vines of the tree to reach their present state; to become such a wonder, a delight for the eyes. The vines undulate, opening up to create a temporary entrance to another world between the cracks of foliage. While beautiful, the vines are much more gnarled and spinnowy than flowery; their cursed image blessed by the rare petal. In all of its beauty, I can’t help but envision how the flowers contrast the vines that hold them and parallel my journey towards better self-management thus far.
I have been overwhelmed lately, and though I know better times are coming, it is hard to look through the fog to see the sun. With classes, work, home life, and the pandemic there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day. Like the vines of the tree, though, my journey has been overwhelmed by hardships and challenges; but, like the flowers strung along the vines, there are moments of immense beauty and gratification that drown out the negative encountered along the way. I can look back and say that choosing to prioritize myself, my health and my growth, has hugely influenced my perseverance throughout this process. For me, it’s as simple as ensuring that I stretch everyday, drink as much water as I can, and steer clear of dairy and red meats to maintain a balanced diet; but for others it’s different. I asked my coworkers how they prioritize their health through their diets and received a wide array of answers. There quotes have been edited for clarification as follows:
“For me, I’ve had an issue with not eating enough or restricting my diet. I also have issues with a lot of foods bothering my gut. I’ve been working hard at eating clean and drinking a lot of water instead of restricting my diet and eating a lot of bad foods”
“For me, I try to eat as healthy as I can! I’ve dealt with health issues before because my diet was terrible; my stomach hurt and I was in so much pain. Since then, I feel my diet is very balanced; I also drink, or at least try to, a lot of water and drink tea!”
It goes without saying that I believe that you are what you eat; even more, I believe that we are what we dream, what we can envision, what we can hope for. I, in no way, wish to imply that there is one way to strive for better self-management; but, I hope this advice can act as a starting point for opening the mind up to varied methods of self-management. If diet is not a priority, or problem, then there are other methods to try: developing a healthy sleep schedule, focusing on your breathing and ground yourself in the moment, or allocating time for a mental recharge are all ways that one can practice better self-management. Whatever method is most practical for you is best and, remember, that regardless of the slip-ups and mishaps you may have had that you can still show up and show out. Stand strong in this journey towards growth and remember that there can be no flower without the vine, without the stem, and there can be no emotional growth without struggle.
With an emphasis on human emotion, memory, and reliving experience, Nubia is a Chicago-based short, fiction writer. As a working-class, black woman their life experiences within hegemonic academia have informed their writing, pushing their interests towards the representation of the Other while capturing the varying perspectives of those deemed unworthy of empathy. Follow her on instagram @nubiapharah