I’m so excited to announce a project that has been cooking for quite a while. It started pretty soon after I had Jonah, when my friend Erin approached me about writing a book. Erin, along with her friend Julie, had just started an independent press to create self-care resources for caregivers. She asked if I could write a book about self-care for Thick Press.
Of course, my first instinct was to say “no”. No, I had way too much going on in my world. No, I had nothing else to give to others. How was I supposed to write a book teaching people to take care of themselves while I was just staying afloat as a new mother?
(Especially because I still had no idea what to do with my first book. Which I still don’t, but now I feel pretty confident that its publication will work itself out in time.)
Then I remembered the power of making tiny moves in the direction of something I care about, also called kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy. Erin, who is also a believer in the the tiny, productive steps mentality, encouraged me to think about how to make writing a book feel easier.
So I said “yes”. If I could break it into small parts, I could do this. Erin and I made a big list of essay topics that related to self-care: Self-care and oil, Self-care and feminism, Self-care and the sunrise, Self-care and kaizen, Self-care and racism…. (We ended up adding more along the way and now we have 30 Self-care and… titles)
I wrote almost all of these little essays on my iPhone while riding the red line from Brookland to downtown. This ride takes about 20 minutes and provided just enough time to get some messy thoughts down in an email to Erin. When I arrived at my stop, I’d hit “send” and forget about what I just typed out. This process took about six months. Slowly, without a lot of pressure, the self-care essays piled up.
After that came a lot of editing help from a few kind readers and some beautiful design and illustration from another dear friend, Maria Habib. Within this cleaning-up stage, these short essays took form as a truly collaborative project. We decided to call the book Selfcarefully and label it under the “selfhelpish” section of reading.
Today, I’m extremely excited to share the very first essay in Selfcarefully! It’s called Self-Care and Fucking it All Up. In it, I share how to use self-care in those moments when you feel like you’ve fucked up your self-care, again.
I hope this opening essay distinguishes our book as one that promises to never try to fix you (ugh, self-improvement), but rather one that will teach you to compassionately care for yourself through the inevitable ups and downs of authentic self-discovery.
If these self-loving, activated messages resonate with you, please consider contributing to our crowdfunding by preordering a book or just making a $5 donation because you believe in our message.
Over the next month, I’m going to share four more of our illustrated essays from Selfcarefully. Speaking for all of us on the project, we hope these essays inspire more softness in the way you treat yourself. We hope they motivate you to show up more fully to serve others in our world. Mostly, we hope they help you continue to navigate the long journey home to yourself.