AP featured image
Red roses are in full blossom at a house wall in Niederursel near Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

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In mid-April when people were begrudgingly getting adjusted to what America looked like in the middle of a pandemic, I wrote a piece advising folks to pause every once in a while to count their blessings and appreciate the little things.

At the time I wrote that I was thinking (hoping, praying) that at this point the vast majority of the country if not all of it would be at the very least preparing to get back to normal.

Unfortunately its not.

At times over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself falling back into the anxious mindset I was in the last couple of weeks of March when everyone was rushing to the grocery store to buy toilet paper to hoard, and stocking up on other essentials in preparation for the long haul.

There have been moments recently where I’ve turned on the news and by the time I was done watching I felt like things were hopelessly out of control both with the pandemic and the social unrest, with no end in sight.

To get myself out of that mindset, I’ve turned off the TV and/or put the phone down and walked outside to smell the roses. Literally. I have a knockout rose bush that is still blooming – see below:

Or I’ve jumped in the car to go for a drive.

Or I’ve made myself a fruity drink or a milkshake and sat in the recliner, listening to nothing more than the birds chirping outside.

Oftentimes in situations where I’m feeling anxious, I’ll text or call a friend or family member.

Today, it was my mom I connected with because I needed to see a friendly face to try and calm my unsettled thoughts. This was after she’d texted me that she was opening some packages she’d received earlier this week from Amazon.

We went back and forth about what she had purchased. Some items for my dad, and some make-up products for her. She had run out of a few things and was excited that her new Cover Girl foundation had come in, along with some mascara and a new lipstick color she’d never worn before.

I had to pause our conversation because I was writing, but we picked it back up about 15 minutes later after she texted me a couple of selfies (yes, my mom takes the occasional selfie, but only to send to family members) along with the message “‘Prettied’ up some.”

Her eyes were sparkling. She looked radiant. The new lipstick color complimented her skin.

“You look amazing!” I told her, adding some heart and flower emojis next to the message. I hadn’t seen her wear make-up in a while. She, like many other women across America including yours truly, got in the habit of going without wearing it during the pandemic. Not much point in wearing it if you’re not going anywhere. 😉

“I’m excited to have some ‘goodies’ that I haven’t had in a long time to pretty up with,” she responded excitedly, noting that she was going to get back to wearing make-up more because it made her feel more confident.

I told her I would start doing so, too, for the same reasons.

She continued on, as though she had just re-discovered something important about life.

“Just seeing yourself in a mirror or reflection of some type and you’re made up and dressed…you immediately feel better,” she noted. “Even if I don’t look like a movie star, I look better to myself. It’s part of self-care, which I’m finding out is very important!”

I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard my mom say or text the term “self-care”, and I loved it.

She’s right, it is indeed very important, and something most of us don’t take enough time out of our days to do.

First thing tomorrow, I’m going to do something different. Instead of immediately logging on to the computer to check emails and news sites, I’m going to take a few minutes to cook a hot breakfast (instead of my usual cold cereal). Then I’ll go water the roses and fill up the birdbath with fresh water, and come back inside to eat breakfast in the quietness of the house. Hopefully, by that time the birds will be flocking around the bath.

Little things. They matter so much. But especially now, when times are so uncertain.

Sister Toldjah
North Carolina-based Sister Toldjah, a former liberal, has been writing about media bias, social issues, and the culture wars since 2003. Follow her on Parler here.
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