I got in with my haiku
Hello. How are you?
My name’s Freddie. This is my
first blog post. Ever.
Over the last 6 months, Rooted has become an important part of my life. Aside from being my bread and butter (I’m a facilitator here), it allows me to take a long, hard look at myself whenever I need. More often than not, this gives way to personal revelations – sometimes tiny, sometimes not-so-tiny – that help me reassess my own actions and goals. That haiku up in the corner? It’s the result of one such revelation I had when, in a writing session, I discovered a personal need to entertain or create when asked to interact openly and honestly. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a thing I like to do and, thanks to Rooted, it’s a tendency I’m aware of and can use to my advantage in this situation. This is the first blog post I’ve ever written, and I would like it to be open and honest, but, for one reason or another, I’ve been having a difficult time writing it (this is my 10th or 12th draft). That haiku is my way in; a way to release tension, a reminder to keep my blogging brief, and a system to make sure I never lose my point.
Okay, nice haiku.
But what’s this blog post about?
Why are you typing?
I’ll confess something to you now. I’m not sure how you’ll take it. … Before I started working at Rooted, “self-care”, and the people who practice it, bothered the shit out of me. I was never, and am still not, interested in alternative medicine or most therapeutic practices, and the title of this blog (I matter) is something I could only say with sarcasm. Even today the phrase “self-care” conjures up images of vegans, yogis, and those flowery, pastel picture-quotes circulating Facebook by the thousands.
No offense, vegans,
yogis. I respect your choice.
It’s just not for me.
The neat thing about Rooted, though, and one of the reasons it’s become so important to me, is that my own personal interests, experiences, whatever you call the things that make up me, have nothing to do with whether or not Rooted can help me. It’s up to me to help me, and that’s true of everyone. I was talking to a participant yesterday after another writing session, and we agreed you get out of this exactly what you put into it. You can reflect, you can relax, you can probe, you can push yourself. What Rooted’s Founder Shruti and its Facilitators have put together is a series of activities for you to experience and engage with in whatever manner you choose. WE DON’T EXPECT TO FIX ANYTHING ABOUT YOU, WE’RE NOT TRYING TO IMPART ANY MANTRA OR GUIDING PHILOSOPHY, WE’RE JUST OFFERING THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE LONG, HARD LOOKS AT YOURSELF.
Don’t know about you,
but that’s something that helps me.
Didn’t know it would.
Tangent… if you live in Logan Square, like me, you may have noticed this sign at Logan and Milwaukee:
“A MOTIVATIONAL SIGN IN A GRASSY FIELD IS NICE AND ALL.
BUT IT IS NOT GOING TO DO THE HARD WORK FOR YOU
THAT’S UP TO YOU”
Unfortunately the sign has been removed, but it was truly fantastic. Every time I passed it I would smile. The reason I bring it up now is because it reminds me of Rooted. It reminds me of the thousands of flowery, pastel picture-quotes circulating Facebook, and of how easy it is to read one of them, to have a nice little moment of inspiration – to think, “Yes; I should dance like no one’s watching, thanks internet!” – and then to resume exactly what you were doing as that little burst of inspiration fades away. That is not self-care. I think for a while that’s what I thought self-care was. I judged it as one of those little masturbatory trifles people love to brag about for the sake of bragging. 6 months ago, when asked to describe someone who practiced self-care, I would imagine a man at a computer compulsively checking the tweet, “Look at me, I love myself. And my cat. And this all-natural chili I just cooked, which I’m preparing to excrete like a champion after my CrossFit workout, and once I’ve excreted that chili I’ll love it even more because it comes from me, whom I love.” (Just kidding. That has way too many characters to be a tweet.)
Talk about bother-
ing the shit out of someone.
What is your point now?
MY POINT is that, after being at Rooted, after seeing that you can put in the work to better understand yourself, and that there are undeniable, tangible benefits to that work, and that that work can never really be completed – it’s not like you run a 5k and say, “alright, now I’m in shape. I’m done.” – after all that, I can actually say, without judgment, sarcasm, or insecurity, “I MATTER.” I’ve been able to let go of insecurities I didn’t know I had, through many, separate, long, hard looks at myself, and more than just loving myself, I’ve become comfortable – empowered even – to tell you now that I love myself. And that’s why Rooted has become such an important part of my life. Because of the good it does for me, but more so because of the good it can do for Chicago.