CC: Okay. I’m writing these on a Wednesday night while drinking this sleep tincture my friend Steph makes. It gives me nutty dreams. Tinctures are a total funny self-care thing and you can get addicted to them as much as anything else right? People spend so much money on that crap–do you think tinctures actually work? Do you take any at the moment? In the past?
FB: I don’t take any now but I remember getting this calming herbal tincture a while back called Kalmerite. It was super sweet and tasty and was a hippie version of liquid morphine. The shit totally worked. I took it back when Remy was still a tiny dude and woke me up like every few hours during the night. My nerves were fucking shot and I could never fall back asleep, so I would take a dropper hit of the Kalmerite and would pass the fuck out cold ten minutes later. When I told the naturopath doc that I used it all up, she was like, Whoa, that was fast! I never asked for it again, I felt like too much of a tincture junky. I was tincture shamed.
I don’t know if you can get physically addicted to them per se; I bet you just get a sweet little high from it and maybe slightly begin depending on it.
I def believe that the stuff works if it is made well and with good ingredients, with intention. Like baking bread or distilling vodka. I have been hearing about a lot of people putting pot tincture in their beers. That would send me over the goddam edge.
CC: A few weeks ago we were texting and the term “self-care” came up and you said, “I’m great at that shit” and I replied, “I know it’s annoying.” The first time I heard the term “self-care” was in Portland. I was fascinated. Little did I know, I grew up around my mom doing lots of self-care, we just didn’t talk about it the way people did in Portland. I love the term because it’s so ephemeral and vague and varies from person to person. Once I started taking better care of myself I got really into it–I couldn’t believe there were things I could do to ground and treat myself well. For some people, this is challenging. It’s still a battle for me and something I think about every single day. How did you get so good at self-care? When I met you, you helped me with that stuff around the edges—we’d go eat healthy food (what was that healthy bowl called at Pearl yoga?) And when I babysat you once paid me cash and also a gift certificate to that sauna place, Loyly. Did your family teach you this stuff or did you teach yourself? I learn a lot of life hacks from you.
FB: The healthy bowl that you are talking about is The Mighty Bowl at Prasad; it’s a sliding scale offering of $2 – $7 and I think you would give $5. I recently went there with a broke single mom friend and I was all stoked to tell her about the deal of the century bowl and then she hardly ate any of it. Some people don’t get the bowl concept. I forget how much she gave.
When I was in grad school studying to be a therapist (aka shrink camp), the concept of self-care was drilled into our heads. The theory is that if you don’t take exceptionally good care of yourself while practicing, that you will burn the fuck out super quick. So I think that even though I am not currently practicing as a shrink, that I have continued with the rigid self-care program, not unlike people who have a lot of money one day and then go broke but still continue a lifestyle as if they are still flush with cash.
You know, I also think that I can easily lean on self-care a little too hard, filling voids from other aspects of my life. I go to yoga at least three times per week, I get acupuncture twice monthly, massage usually at least once in a month, psychotherapy twice a month and now I have a fucking pelvic floor physical therapist! I get vag massages!!!! Seriously? Has it truly come to this?
Point is, I think we can even fall off balance with things that are seemingly “healthy”. Think about people who do way too much yoga and look like overly sinewy freaks. Or that friend who eats no white foods. There is an actual clinical term for being too healthy and it’s called orthorexia and I’ve known people who suffer from that and I steer clear. Those people make me nervous in the same way that severe alcoholics make me nervous.
I am definitely aware of the fact that I can get hypervigilant about many things, including self-care and so I do my best to keep the shit in check. Plus I am way too much of an epicure to be fully clean about eating and drinking and experiencing life so sometimes I rock out on steak frites and a nice glass of red or I park my ass on a blanket in the sun with a café au lait and a book. If those things are not self-care, then I don’t know what is.
Like with your mom, I do think I may have learned a lot of this from observing my father. He is first generation Italian-American. He taught me the value of eating really clean whole foods, mostly vegetables, a little meat, peasant food and how you need to move and stretch your body every day to feel sound in your mind.
What happened when you went for a sauna at Loyly? You didn’t stay that long if I recall.
CC: Dude I sat naked in the sauna with 3 chicks RIGHT next to me since it’s so small in there and they wouldn’t stop whispering it drove me NUTS! I think you told me I should tattle on them. It made me have a bad experience.
Often we coincidentally attend therapy the same day and time EST and PST. You go to therapy for two hours. I wish I did. I was 26 when I started therapy. How old were you and what motivated you to go? How many therapists have you had throughout the years?
FB: We are totally on the same therapy sched, it cracks me up! It’s like we are in AA or something. I am now wondering if I should only be friends with people who are in therapy.
I was tossed into therapy as a fucked up teenager and have been in and out for most of my adult life. It is a recovery process, not unlike drunks and junkies. The other day, I told my good friend who is a shrink that I am a factory refurb. I’ve been spending a majority of the past two decades putting myself back together with the aid of various shrinks. I think I have had about five therapists in total, but honestly – the one I am working with now is the only good one of the bunch. She knows her shit and she kicks my ass, like a trainer at the gym who makes your legs hurt for days. The other ones only skirted my issues.
But she yelled at me the other day and I’ve been upset. She told me to, Please stop talking for one second! I think I need to tell her that she was a mean mommy to me and that it made me sad. But I probably won’t say anything. Classic abuse cycle.
Do you like your therapist? What would you do if she yelled at you to shut up?
CC: I totally love her. She’s super feminist and opinionated. If she yelled at me I would freak the fuck out. Sometimes I worry I bore her, and I love when we crack up at stuff hahahahah. My mom read this essay once about this guy who was always trying to get his therapist to laugh, I’ll have to ask her what it was.