Written by Sinéad ní Fhlannagáin
Illustrated by Pretzl Prince
Self-care wears a suit and is laughing at you
A saccharine smile selling a trap in pink packaging and a ribbon
Know your worth and buy a face mask
Be radiant and blemish free
Be a strong woman
Hit the gym
Build your strength
But first get kitted out in the gear that sits right
And for women, performancewear seems to mean skin tight
40 quid for fabric bralets to lift weights
So that men can eye up the competition
Or just ogle at our chests
Dress for success, I wonder who said it first
As if 6inch stilettos help us catch meetings on time
And a curly blowdry got the job
You’ve had a hard day
Let your hair down
Self-care says you deserve some fun
Cleanse, moisturise and prime your tired skin
High coverage foundation and concealer
For God’s sake minimise those bags
Powder, bronzer, blush, highlight and contour
Your base is done
Finish the rest and then go
The clock strikes self-care o’clock
Time to go, get home, get ready
but for your bed this time
The 15 product morning routine
makes way for an 8 product nighttime skin care regime
£480 for the average woman each year
Because you’re worth it
As long as self-care says so
We tap our cards and run
From our treat yourself mantra and the guilty echo of card accepted
Don’t you know, Self-care feels sorry for you
Comparing yourself to airbrushed models in glossy magazines
When you should feel just as good too
Here’s a detox tea, no more bloat
Be like the women poised on the front
Of course you’ll feel lighter in the morning after shitting out your evening meal
Self-care wants to apologise since the detox didn’t work
Wellness is what you truly need
Vitamins for skin, hair and nails
Health begins on the inside, don’t you see?
And abs are made in the kitchen.
So noo carbs before marbs
And no sugar after 6
Remember nothing tastes as good as skinny feels
Is Self-care getting a little overwhelming for you now?
You need a planner, new stationery
Real women were built to multitask!
You still seem stressed, what about a candle or
better still have a spa day with your girls
Book your wax first – did you forget about your bikini line?
Self-care pats your back and holds your hand
Offering encouraging words
Pain Is Beauty
Bikini line or hollywood?
Legs, pits, stache and brows
You should thank self-care for the hairless goddess you are now.
Centuries on and Self-care’s on the run
Victims describe a white man in a black suit
Whispering incantations through campaigns and fraudulent claims
Women stripped of their time and poached for their money
Filling up his fat pockets,
Placing a rolex on his wrist.
Turns out Self-care, previously Sexism, had long since fled the scene
He’s thinking up a new name for the same scam he pulls time and time again
So don’t throw out your loyalty cards, they work like a charm
He’ll be back marketing repeat products with better branding, teaching us that
Self-care is only there for those who invest in looking good
There does exist however a real self-care
Sending soft reminders that problems are halved once shared
It Invites us early under cosy sheets for precious sleep after a long day
Letting in morning light after delicious rest
This real self-care still leaves room for the treats,
Gladly welcomes your chosen pick-me-ups and once-offs
Allowing that ephemeral “feel-good” to warm your feet.
Then forces us to recognise the harsh truth that is
Time lost in the mirror searching for whiteheads or wrinkles
Is not caring for yourself whether you put a serum on at the end or not.
Real self-care will never ransack your purse
But gently whispers relax,
Cut yourself some slack
It does little good racking up little worries.
Sinéad ni Fhlannagáin is a Northern Irish writer and student of languages and business. Her passions include documenting her personal experience in relation to current social issues as well as reading that of others.