I have a confession to make.
When I was an undergraduate, I tried to play The Sims. You know, the game where you create a simulated character and that character does stuff, you get points. Often, people would simulate themselves, or give their Sim their own characteristics and pretend it was a life they had. A green diamond hovered above their head, indicating that the Sim was happy. It would turn red when the Sim was in distress.
The first game I played of it, my character’s diamond turned red. She needed sleep. But, the trash needs to go out! I told myself, ordering the Sim (with the click of my mouse) to take it out.
She collapsed in the middle of the kitchen floor.
I haven’t played The Sims since.
I was reminded of this while driving home from school tonight, when I was thinking about all of the things that I needed to do when I got home, how stressed out I feel, and sometimes, I tend to push myself a little too hard. (Did I mention that none of my friends were quite surprised when I told them about the demise of my Sim?)
It was 9:35PM and I was sitting in the parking lot of school, pondering what to put on the radio to get me through the 45 minute drive home. I was berating myself for not having books or podcasts, but instead, relying mostly on music. But then, I remembered my poor little Sim from more than 10 years ago.
Also? The irony that I had listed “self-care” as Very Important to Me not even half an hour earlier in class was not lost on me.
So, I looked at my playlists and found a mix I made for a friend of mine last year. I put it on, turned up the radio, and headed home. I let the music fill me and I didn’t worry about singing on key or for anyone in particular. These were songs I knew, songs I loved, and songs that resonate deep in my belly. It was exactly the space I needed to be in. Scream-singing at the top of my lungs, letting go of whatever I was holding onto in my chest (where my anxiety tends to settle) and to let well-crafted words bounce off the fabric and windows, to feel myself becoming hoarse as I kept singing, song after song.
When I took the exit off I-83 that headed home, I turned the radio down, humming along and knowing that it would be a late night. But, finding a deeper reserve for right now. I won’t collapse in the middle of the kitchen. I have a small list in my head that really does need to get done tonight. The rest? Well, that’s also part of self-care. It will get done. I know that.
But now, to take out the trash.