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How Adopting Luxury Into My Lifestyle Affirmed Me in Ways Therapy Couldn't

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

One particular morning, I was sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen. She brought me out coffee and oatmeal in fine china and didn’t say a word as she walked away. She didn’t make a big deal about it. I put my fingers around it, feeling the incredibly delicate bone china that I know a large portion of people haven’t had the chance to eat out of, and yet here I was about to eat out of them as if they were dixie cups and plates. 

As a young Black Queer woman, I puffed my chest out a little bit in that moment because I had been so down and out with the state of the world, and here I was in this moment treating myself to such a divinely intimate moment of intentional care. No one else thought to do things like this for me, so why shouldn’t I do it for myself? I was living in an existence that felt damned and the world would remind me of that at every corner, but with that little tea cup in hand, I could fight that.

That was only the beginning.

I started finding other luxurious ways to treat myself, and that wasn’t always with money. It was also with my time, space, and energy. As much as it was a luxury to buy my favorite perfume or go on vacation, it also was to deny someone else a hangout simply because I didn’t want to go, or call out of work because I wanted to nap and not smile in the face of people who were hell-bent on cursing me out.

For a chronically suicidal dark queer young Black woman, luxury became a personal revolution against the bullshit of the world.

Yes, some people could just call this self-care, but self-care and luxury to me are two very different things. Self-care is mandatory, in my opinion, and I base it on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Luxury is a treat. If I can do it, I will do it, but if I can’t my quality of life won’t suffer (massively, anyway).

Self-care is paying my bills on time, drinking water, and going to bed on time. Luxury is using satin sheets, spritzing them with a nighttime spray, and wearing silk pajamas to bed against moisturized skin. Luxury can be self-care, but self-care isn’t inherently luxury.

Incorporating luxury into my life on a daily basis reaffirmed my personal existence and even helped me fight my suicidal ideation. I believe it did what the affirmations were supposed to do. Instead of saying “I matter,” I acted it out, going to a dessert bar and getting delicately baked eclairs and puff pastries. Versus whispering “I’m beautiful,” I just drape myself in textiles that make me feel like a walking piece of art. Not only that, but I noticed my standards and boundaries improved afterward because I genuinely was treating myself the way I dreamt of others treating me.

Getty image by Images say more about me than words.

Originally published: June 9, 2022
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