Stephanie Jordan Jacobs; a mother, photographer and cancer survivor living in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

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What does the term self-care mean to you? The reason I chose to do this interview is because I have a chronic illness, and it’s like how did you get here and what do you do when you arrive? So for me self care means to take time out for yourself. Part of this for me is making sure I am taking care of my children well, because that makes me feel relaxed and is easy on me. Yes, it’s pampering yourself, yes please do that, like when I was pregnant. But some people think that it is the ultimate form of self-care.  And yes it’s nice to get your nails done, hair done, massage, but that is not real for everyone. Self-care means to really value what is important to yourself, and take time for that. I wish people knew that when they were 20 years old, that it’s about what is important to you, it doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing and what is important to us will change with time. And you don’t have to announce it, you can quietly do those things. After my amputation, my mom was ready to have me move out of the city. But I took down my old blinds, and put up some new blinds, bought some new linens, got a color theme going on, replaced the toilet paper holder. That makes me the biggest difference. It changes the energy. People are asking me why am I doing that because they don’t understand what makes me feel good. I would also say that nutritious food is important to self-care and should be something you sit down and enjoy, mentally as well as taste wise.

What spurred you to get involved in self-care?You actually. When we met at that restaurant after the election and I followed you on Instagram that exposed me to different aspects of it. You really made me pay attention, and made me think like it’s okay I really don’t have to do that today, I really should take a minute for myself right now. Many women of color don’t even know what that means no matter how educated they may be.

What were some of your struggles in sticking to self care practices? Relationships, be it marriage or friends, because they have a lot of opinions about what you should be doing, i.e. Why aren’t you answering your phone?  And also thinking I needed permission to do the things that made me feel good.

How do you work to share self care with others?Right now I am not really thinking about anybody else, I tell people to slow up and tell them that the things they are worried about are not that deep. And I think people think that I am saying some of those things because I have cancer. Hopefully they can grab a hold of what I am doing and I can lead by example. You can say whatever you want to people but they are going to look at what you are doing. I listen to what my body is telling me. We really don’t listen to our inner self enough. We can’t praise and worry. I really came to terms with my faith in God and really have seen prayer work, really having this inner sense of belief. I came to this place where I think lots of people with chronic illness get and it’s a place where there is no fear. I have to believe I will be alright in order to be alright. I say it, I believe it and I think it’s going to be done. Self Care really has carried me through my darkest times.