The refusal to care for oneself is rampant.
I remember when I was interning at a theatre company in college and this actress had micro locs. This was in the 90s and they weren't even a thing yet. There were no natural haircare salons. I asked the wonderful Nadine Mozon who did her hair. She said,
"I do. Every Sunday, I turn off the television, play Nina Simone and massage, detangle, deep condition and twist my own hair. "
I asked her how she learned. She said, she just began to think of ways to care for herself and the process worked itself out. What I came away with from that conversation is that self-care is the ability to just sit, be still and not give up on focusing on yourself. This made complete sense to me at the time because I was focused on healing as a life choice and was looking for new ways to implement the lessons I was struggling with in therapy into real life doing.
For me, that's what therapy is. It's a lesson plan that you and your therapist outline to tackle what you don't know or what you do know that's no longer serving you. So, I learned how to twist, add extensions, deep condition my own hair. I grew up in a family of women who did their own hair and mostly wore afros, so this wasn't a major leap. What was unique about the process is that instead of spending money on stuff to make me feel better, I was finding ways to slowly invest in myself that required only attention. Naps, twisting, deep conditioning, making homemade masks...anything that simplified the stresses of my life.
I found buying more products to put on and try out was akin to the stress I was trying to avoid. Money was always an issue. Never having enough to make the ends meet and wishing for more. So, buying more products and going to more salons to make myself feel good didn't make sense. I would be treating the problem with the problem. So, what I learned from the wonderful Ms. Mozon in that moment was to simplify self-care.
I turned Sundays into do-nothing days where I tried out simple self-care routines that I'd grown up with. I searched for minimalist beauty websites and how to make your own products from shampoo to bathroom cleaners. I learned to do my own hair by trial and error. And once I discovered the max hydration method and simplified my routine to 2 or 3 products, life opened up in miraculous ways. I love how women tell me how difficult it is to care for your hair, all the steps involved. And I thought, I do the whole thing in the shower and view it as a daily meditation in the way Thich Knat Ahn says peeling an orange or washing dishes can be a meditation if you allow yourself to enjoy each moment of it. I mean what would you rather be doing: texting someone, cleaning up after someone, working for someone? Instead of taking a shower with your own homemade lavender moroccan clay shampoo and sitting under the hot water?
is a Tony-winning producer/writer/actor & CEO of TheDreamUnLocked: Boutique Coaching for Actors, Writers & Dreamers