Self-care has become a buzzword during this time, so we want to hear from different people in our community what self-care means to them. This blog from Claire is the first of this series. If you would like to share what self-care means to you, contact Springboard@juf.org.
I still remember the day I got my first “alternative” haircut. I had no idea at the time how changing how I looked was about to affect my entire life; if I had, well, I still would have done it.
I have learned that expressing the way that I feel internally must be a top priority in order to survive. But this knowledge doesn’t change the fact that being visibly different is a really hard thing. After I got that haircut and changed my clothes, I noticed a change in the way people treated me. This new look wasn’t louder, but it was harsher. More masculine. My identity that used to be fairly inconspicuous now inadvertently shoves its face under the noses of people who really don’t care to acknowledge that kind of difference. Simply existing in the world as my true self takes a toll on my mental health, my relationships and my professional life. But it’s also invigorating, spiritual, and vital.
My self-care is pushing through self-hate. Because I know that I can’t change or hide who I am anymore. That part of my life is over.
Claire Katz-Mariani is passionate about social service in all forms. Claire is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where Claire is pursuing a BFA in Theatre Studies as well as a BS in Community Health with an emphasis on Health Education & Promotion. Claire is the president of LGBTJew, U of I Hillel's student group for promoting inclusion in Jewish spaces.