Women of our ancient tribes knew their hearts and how to protect them. Perhaps why they didn’t leave their men, didn’t leave their children and endured, holding simple pleasures close to them. Gatherings were important , taking care of each other, woman to woman was important. Intimacy, a sense of love , even romantic love which was mostly denied in marriages at the time, was found in these gatherings. Women were the lovers and watchers of women. So there were scents , there were oils, baths and healing.
So this is me creating that space for women, and telling my story, of taking comfort in our own bodies and our space.
These are few things I do when I come back to myself and my body and skin after a breakup or maybe just busy days, days when I forget that a body exists, and that it needs me. And this is how I heal.
- There are often a lot of things you lose after a separation, be it from a lover, a job, family or a passion. One of them is appetite. You may not lose your hunger, you may be eating, but you’re not tasting. I often find myself mindlessly going on from breakfast, lunch, dinner often not remembering what I had for each later that day. And that’s when I know I’m losing my sense of self. I take my time sometimes, to cook something. It need not be a whole meal but a meal you want to devour. For me it has always been about simple pleasures. And for me it has always been olive oil, and the richness of its taste melting in my mouth. I use tomatoes or broccoli most of the time, and dip them in olive oil and have them raw or sometimes roasted with a side of feta cheese.
- Open your windows, let some sunlight in, find a corner where you can look at the sky. Play music if you would like, or don’t. I enjoy the mundane sounds of birds and cars passing by sometimes. I like to pour olive oil into a bowl, drop a cinnamon stick, or few drops of lavender essential oil, and warm it in the microwave. I heat a pot of water, bring it to boil and let the steam soak my hair. I sometimes feel the warm wetness that forms on the nape of my neck, and it tickles me like a lover’s kiss, and I smile. I take time and part my hair slowly, start to massage the oil in from one side of my head. I’m always lost in thoughts, I try to bring myself back to the moment. But regardless of what your thoughts are, there is a calmness that comes with taking care of yourself. I very quickly realised from a young age that being a woman meant making peace with loneliness. Maybe I saw it in my mother, maybe with the women around me but I have always been accepting of being misunderstood, and finding joy in my own company. And my acceptance and healing from wounds came from being alone , and being okay with taking care of myself in that . And this is how I healed. In oils, in scents, in looking at the sky.
- Mid-summer, an afternoon after a heavy lunch , quiet moving of air, of everyone napping in corners of an ancestral home, spreading olive oil on to my legs my mami tells me that men can only be truly loved from a distance , in the distance you can’t see their eyes and the aggression, that’s how you love them, she said. And I learned.
I take baths when I’m home, I spread olive oil on my skin after and keep the towel on my head while I keep my conversation with my lover long. In these moments I unlearned. I kept him close and his aggression closer for I loved him.
But when I left him , it left me cracked open, nothing beautiful. It was ugly like drought on land, like lips parting, thirsty for water. So I went back to my mami’s words and olive oil. I take long baths , spread oil on my skin and keep my lover away, his memories closer.
Let me know in the comments, the ways that you heal, the ways your mothers and aunts taught you , not just your body but your heart.