“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lord
Usually when you think about a revolution, you think about a war or fighting against someone or something. A revolution can also be a highly personal thing – you decide you’re going to make a change, but it’s going to take a Radical Act of God to get you out of that thing you’re in. Toxic relationships, overeating, partaking of too much alcohol, self-deprecating behavior, a smoking habit; whatever it is that holds you hostage, you know you’ve got to muster up the courage and fight to break free.
I quit smoking in 1996 after having a nicotine addiction for 15 years; I did it cold turkey. I never used a patch or hypnosis or any of those methods; it was my thought that those things only distracted you from smoking and didn’t actually break the chain of addiction. I learned through my own research that if you ignore a nicotine craving for 10 minutes without succumbing to it, it will go away. It will come back, but it certainly does go away; this I know from personal experience. I also learned, through my own behavior, if I deprive myself of something, panic will set in and I’ll lose control.
So, in setting out to quit smoking on my own, I knew I had to have a plan. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew depriving myself of smoking, without help, was going to send me into a frenzy above and beyond withdrawal. I put an unopened pack of cigarettes in my kitchen drawer and told myself if I really wanted a cigarette, the pack was right there at my reach. But I had to wait 11 minutes before going to the drawer. I’m happy to say I went to the drawer only once; I opened the pack and lit one up and it was horrible!
Admittedly, when all of this finally seemed successful, during a stressful period about a year later, I began smoking again. But, I didn’t beat myself up about it, I simply redirected and never turned back. We will rise, and we will fall, but it’s all well within the flow.
Fast forward to the present – after a recent doctor visit, I realized how truly fed up I was about my weight. I weigh more now than I ever have, including when I was pregnant! I knew that once again, I’d have to take matters in my own hands. There is no magic pill or tea or potion – anything in that category is simply an aid. You have to do the work!
I once read that sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and let me tell you, I was deep in the throes of a sugar addiction. I knew the only way to stop was to do just that – stop. But I was scared and I knew it was going to be difficult. Then I remembered how I quit smoking and how I found the strength – through prayer, talking to myself and others – and realized it was time to go that route once again. I knew I would have to fight – the cravings, the desire, the temptations. I took my earrings off, smeared my face with Vaseline and got ready to put my dukes up – and the revolution began. I am happy to say I’m a month into my journey and I feel so much better for it – I’ve lost five pounds! I’m on my way – one day at a time.
Have I had a piece of cake? Yes! But after I enjoyed it with a smile, I went back to my plan, knowing that I will slip up, yet giving myself permission to do so. This has worked for me thus far, and I know there are some who will say you should never slip up; should never have a cupcake here or a cookie there. But I know me – if I don’t let myself have a little, I’ll eat a whole cake! Ha!
Most importantly, whenever I take one step forward and two steps back, I’m gentle with myself. I remind myself from whence I came and what I’ve done – with strength! The road from here to there is not a straight line; there are starts and stops and zigzags…but as long as you stay the course, you’ll get there! You and I both have a well of inner strength we have yet to tap into! Lower your well bucket in and get some! You’ve got to get your mind wrapped around the fact that when you don’t do what you know you need to, you’re the only one standing in your way! And you’ve got to do it today; tomorrow is not promised!
Self-care is a revolution; those demons are not going to go away on their own, it takes an act of rebellion to slay them! Don your armor, put on those boxing gloves, button the Superwoman cape around your neck and go to war!