From an early age, women are taught to be selfless. We are taught to think of others’ needs before our own, to care for others before we care for ourselves. This trait, we are told, is what makes us good women.
Society expects women to be nurturers and caregivers. And for many women, we internalize this message and accept it as the truth. We run ourselves ragged trying to take care of others, yet we often forget to take care of ourselves.
This was the case for Wanderful member Christie Glascoe, who found herself exhausted from giving so much of herself to others.
As the writer behind Chatterbox Christie, she often did things simply to please other people. And although she enjoyed the perks of being a blogger — including plenty of opportunities for travel through press and sponsored trips — she also found that the life of an online influencer required a lot more of herself than what she had to give. Challenges in her personal life also caused her to re-examine what she was doing.
It was at this moment that she decided to take a digital sabbatical.
A break, so to speak, from all things social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and especially her blog. She realized she needed to focus on what was truly important: herself.
A chance opportunity to travel to Costa Rica helped spark her journey towards self-discovery and self-care.
It was this trip that helped Christie understand the importance of doing things for herself rather than for others. For Christie, travel was the catalyst to help her break free from the guilt of choosing to put herself first.
These days, Christie is back online, rejuvenated and with a new sense of purpose. She shares her musings with the world in her new blog, My Single Serving Life, with the purpose of promoting the idea of self-care. I recently connected with Christie, and she shared with me how travel allowed her to serve herself.
Q: What role has travel played in your life?
In my youth, when I used to work in corporate America, I traveled a lot for work. Yet, I never really appreciated it. And even back in my heavy blogging days, when I was considered an influential blogger, I was going on so many press trips. I loved the travel, but I never paid attention to my love for the travel.
Instead, I was always concentrating on what I would be writing for that particular brand, focusing on the initiative that I was traveling for instead of on the travel itself. And the moment when I couldn’t do it anymore, the travel, that was when I started to really miss it.
It’s crazy how blogging and social media had brought to the forefront this love of travel that I always had but never paid attention to. And now I’m at a point where, although I may not be as influential as I used to be, it’s not the end of the world. I’m going to finally embrace my love for travel, and embrace all the things I’ve loved all these years. This is what I need to do to be a whole person.
Q: What prompted you to start My Single Serving Life?
During my sabbatical time, I was thinking about how much I craved to have an “Eat, Pray, Love” experience, but I knew that my lifestyle did not really support it.
When the opportunity came to go to Costa Rica, that was the first trip in close to two decades where I didn’t travel for work or with family. I went with three other girls, but I still call it a “solo” trip because this was the first trip that it was all about me.
And that’s where My Single Serving Life came from. It was admitting to myself that I need these kinds of experiences. It’s wanting to do something that serves me, rather than serving others. It’s needing to do something that has nothing to do with anyone else. That’s not selfish, that’s self-care.
The Epic #TravelSquad on our boat tour of the #RioSanJuan islands in #Nicaragua! We were on a voyage to see exotic birds and indigenous villages but got waaaaaay more than we bargained for! On the way back we sailed right into a storm that threatened our chances of making it back to #CostaRica before the border closed! Soaking wet, we got stamped back in 5 minutes before they closed up shop! To say this has been an adventure is an understatement! #nicaraguatravel #centralamerica #travelsquad #mgttravel #solotravel #stampsinmypassport #mysingleservinglife #singleservinglife #DoEpicShit #blackgirlmagic #blackandabroad
At one point I thought, “What if my truth scares people? What if my truth makes me seem sad and pathetic? What if my truth makes me strange?” But it is my truth. It is what it is.
So, combining all that together is where My Single Serving Life came from. It’s wanting to have these experiences. It’s wanting to be a full person. In my inscription in My Single Serving Life, it says, “I’ve been serving others and other agendas for so long, I have given so much of myself, and never saving a single serving for myself.”
Q: I really like how your blog puts a positive spin on the concept of single-serving.
It is a reference to travel, but it also is a reference to carving out a piece of life that just belongs to me.
So much of my life is given to everyone. It’s given to my job. It’s given to my family. And I rarely ever save a piece for me. So me branching out and taking the plunge, and taking that trip to Costa Rica, that was the trip that launched the blog.
I was actually on the fence about that trip. I thought to myself, “I can’t do this. I can’t afford to take a trip like this.” I wasn’t even thinking about money, I was thinking about my life. No one’s going to let me take this trip. I have responsibilities. I’m a single mom. I can’t go and have fun. I almost talked myself out of it.
But I’m getting out of that mindset because I realize that it’s going to make me a better mother, and it’s going to make me a better woman. I can’t keep giving and giving and giving. I need to do things for myself.
Q: Why do you think it’s so important for women to serve themselves or to practice self-care?
There’s a reason why they say, “Put on your oxygen mask first,” on airplanes. It’s because you are no good to anyone else unless you have the oxygen mask on yourself. How can you help someone else if you can’t even breathe?
Think about a time when you are completely exhausted because you have given every ounce of your energy to work, to a spouse, to a fundraiser, or to a committee that you’re on. After all this, you are done, and you can’t lift your brain or your hands to do anything else. And then you have to somehow pick yourself back up to somehow do it all again the next day.
For me, when I get to that point, my body shuts down. But we can’t let ourselves get to that point where we are forced to do nothing, because we can’t do nothing. Our lives won’t let us do nothing. So, we have to take pauses within our lives.
What I have to try and remember to do is to carve out time for myself. Even just for thirty minutes.
How does your blog fit into this idea of taking time for yourself?
For me, I’m expanding on that as part of My Single Serving Life. I want to be able to take little excursions for myself. Even if it’s stay-cations within the city. And even if it’s just a day where I find a hole in my schedule. It’s taking time to see a museum. Or taking myself out to lunch.
This is what you want to do for yourself. You want to have some time to explore, and you want to travel. And travel doesn’t have to be away or abroad. Travel can just be taking yourself away from a familiar environment and putting yourself in a beautiful place that you’ve never been before.
I came back from Costa Rica so renewed. Not just with energy, but with a sense of self. It felt so good to, once again, just be me.
After that trip, the message I want to convey with My Single Serving Life is to make sure that in taking care of everything, I save something for myself. All the good that I’m giving to people, all the energy that I’m giving to people, and all the love that I’m giving to people, I need to save some of that for me. That I don’t forget to give something to myself. And not the smallest piece either.
Christie is a good reminder to us all that it’s okay to not be selfless.
It’s okay to think about yourself, and it’s okay to let yourself be taken care of.
In a sense, focusing on our own needs is actually beneficial to everyone. Finding time for ourselves helps us understand not only our limitations, but also our capabilities. It affords us the ability to focus our energy on things that truly matter to us, rather than spreading ourselves too thin. As Christie said herself, this is what makes us better women.
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