subway self-care

A lot of the time, the subway smells like urine. Or the car I’m in does. I used to think I had to take it, just sit or stand there in the dark heat of the tunnel, my nostrils aflame with that smell that never quite goes away, no matter how many minutes you spend trying to get used to it.

Maybe I wanted to believe I had to suffer. Maybe I was trying to punish my nostrils for existing, or for being the very silly sorts of nostrils who thought they wanted to live in New York.

But something occurred to me today, as if god were speaking her greatest truth from above the sidewalk grates. If I don’t want to smell the urine, I don’t have to. I can step ten feet to my right or left on the platform. I can move to another car.

The doors opened. I hastily hopped to the platform, around a post, into the next car down.

I felt like I was beating the system, or at least using up a Get Out of Jail Free card. But maybe I just learned how to actually care for myself. Maybe stepping into a fresher-smelling subway car is just the sort of thing people do; people who like themselves and like living here.

Maybe self-care isn’t always about grand gestures, but about realizing that you can move to the next car, and then actually doing it.

9 Responses to subway self-care

  1. Lori July 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    You go girl! My act of “self care” was leaving a subway platform last night. It smelled funny and when I reached the bottom it had the appearance of some sort of smoke condition. While other people just seemed to continue to stand on the platform waiting for the train, I quickly went back up the steps, back outside and walked to another train on a different line some blocks away.

    So moral of the story whether just plain disgusting or potentially dangerous, the nose knows best. ;-)

  2. sui solitaire July 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    I love this post because it shows how loving yourself can be expressed in the smallest of ways, just like love to a partner can be as well.

  3. Jenna July 20, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    Oh my gosh it’s like the penny just dropped. This is so true. I’ve been taking better care of myself lately and have noticed a huge difference in my mood, body image and belief in myself. We’re all worthy of feeling good, no matter how small the gesture. Thank you for your insightful posts always. x

  4. Kylie July 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Lori: That sounds extremely unpleasant. Good for you for taking care of yourself and going to a better station. The nose does know best; you’re so right.

    Sui: Ooh yes. And loving yourself and loving somebody else go together like…peanut butter and jelly. Green eggs and ham. Tea and crumpets.

    Jenna: I’ve never heard this expression, about the penny dropping. Curious! Yes, we are all worthy of feeling good. And usually, the small gestures are the easiest to implement. Added up, they revolutionize things.

  5. Monica July 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    This so true! I was so proud of myself for lugging laundry to the laundromat even though all my friends get theirs done (yes- only in NYC, right?). But I HATE it. And it only saves a couple bucks. And now I realize I was just doing it to somehow “prove” I was a real New Yorker. Thanks Kylie!

  6. Elizabeth July 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    Huh. It would never have occurred to me to change cars. I would think I had to suffer in silence. I wonder where else I do this now.

    Yay, you, for changing your pattern and then helping us find ours!

  7. Mel July 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    “Maybe self-care isn’t always about the grand gestures…” Perfect. True. Lovely. Yay!!

  8. Kylie July 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Monica: Ugh; I can’t stand laundry, either. At least the whole laundromat process. My dream apartment would have a washing machine. Truly.

    Elizabeth: Mmm, good reminder to look for the other spots I do this. I’m sure they’re there, if I just do a little poking around.

    Mel: Yay hooray!


  1. a little kindness « All That - July 28, 2011

    […] thanks to Kylie for this post. When I read it I thought I had learned this already, but I would be wrong – I would be shy […]

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