Stop, Hammer Time
Confessions of a Therapist/Strength Coach Who Hates Self-Care
I have two confessions.
I actually like the song ‘U Can’t Touch This’ for reasons that might not meet the naked ear. Twenty-seven years after its release in 1990, I still seek it out and I proceed to work it like I’m wearing Hammer’s genie pants- every damn time!
Of course there’s the super freaky Rick James hook that is like being infected with a funky disease, but I seriously think there is something deeper for us all to consider in this particular work that needs to be discussed.
My, my, my, my music hits me so hard
Makes me say, “Oh my Lord,
Thank you for blessing me with a mind to rhyme and two hype feet.”
It feels good, when you know you’re down,
a super dope homeboy from the Oaktown
And I’m known as such,
and this is a beat, uh, u can’t touch.
First, if we all could dance like that, I think life would generally be a lot more fun. Next, when you watch him dance in his freaky ass genie pants with such gusto, you tend to believe that his music truly does hit him so hard that it makes him say, “Oh my Lord!” Hammer’s genuineness comes through right away. Hammer then goes on to express gratitude (which is a tremendous attribute) for being blessed with, ‘a mind to rhyme and two hype feet,’ alongside of the self-awareness in knowing he’s, ‘a super dope homeboy from the Oaktown.’
I used to think his proclamation about all of us not touching ‘it’ was just standard issue rapper bravado. But now that I’m 27 years older, I’ve come to understand MC Hammer at a much deeper level.
You see, I believe that he is proclaiming that we “cannot touch it” because “it” is something that he does as a true expression of self-love. “It”, the ‘that’ which we cannot touch, is a joyful celebration of life in fresh new kicks and pants. When you got it like that now you know you want to dance!
He goes on in the third stanza to invite us all to move out of our collective seats, ‘get a fly girl, and catch this beat while it’s rolling!’ I contend that Hammer’s ability to genuinely express self-love in the opening stanza and chorus translates directly into his ability to welcome us all into that love in a non-possessive way when he encourages everyone to, ‘Let ’em know that you’re too much. And this is a beat, uh, they can’t touch.’
Hammer shows the wisdom of not claiming to own the beat that cannot be touched. I respect that. The beat that cannot be touched is there for us all. More directly relevant to our topic here today: the ability to stop and make time for himself (aka ‘Hammer Time’) in the middle of being a super dope homeboy from the Oaktown. In fact, he stops no less than three times in a song that’s a little over four minutes long. Great work, MC Hammer! That’s ‘Hammer Time’ almost every minute! We all could take a tip from that super hype self care plan.
You already know my next confession, because you read it in the title of this Blarg. That is not a typo. I typed it. I meant it. Blarg!
Let’s shove off into the wonderful realm of semantics together and let me double down to share a bonus confession. At the risk of being overly dramatic, the word ‘blog’ makes me want to barf. Not only that, it makes me not want to write sentences for the purpose of posting them in an electronic fashion.
Siri informed me that Peter Merholz coined the term ‘blog’ in 1999. Whereas the staying power of MC Hammer’s golden hit still registers, I wish Merholz would’ve gotten sidetracked the day he coined the term. Maybe his copy of Office Space could’ve gotten stuck in his VCR? Maybe the stress of incurring more late fees at Blockbuster could’ve sent him into a tizzy? Scrambling for his Nokia mobile phone to try to resolve the situation, Merholz shuffles through a pile of printouts of old Mapquest directions on his desk only to find his phone out of battery power!
Good luck with that, Merholz! Leave the inventing of words alone, please. I realize English is not a romance language, but come on?
Nonetheless, our ears have been penetrated with that ‘blog’ word for long enough! Therefore, I am trying out an equally ridiculous new word: BLARG!
For me, it’s got a little more oomph! Chutzpah! Pirate-i-tude!
I’m open to other suggestions. Feel free to send them to me at Dan@rebellstrength.com
Where were we? My other semantics related discontentedness gets us right back to the core of our main theme here today. The phrase ‘self-care’ makes me not want to take care of myself just to spite the phrase, and that’s not cool (just as the word ‘blog’ makes me not want to write). In my opinion, ‘self-care’ makes me feel like I’m being marketed to.
Ironically, the action typically implied in the word ‘care’ resonates with such a soft hue it makes me feel like I need to go purchase some really expensive moisturizer and slather myself in it from head to toe to soak in the self-care goodness and glow like a goddess. It sounds like something only snobby, snooty people with superiority complexes have the time and money to luxuriate in.
Taking care of ourselves is a need. It’s not a service. It can, but does not have to entail a commercial transaction.
Throughout my years as an on-call therapist working with families that have kids with severe mental and emotional disorders, I’ve stood in too many front yards at 1 o’clock in the morning with parents in tears moments after the police left because their child has torn up the entire house again- triggered by God knows what. Having to tell those parents when the dust settles, “we need to practice more self-care to better manage stress,” is not untrue, it just rings empty, impersonal, obvious, and unhelpful- like trying to sell them some moisturizer that costs as much as one week of groceries for the family.
The same trap is embedded in this conversation we’ve been having here in The Hummingbird. It’s a radically different context, but the trap is set just the same.
I can only imagine what you might think of me. Who am I? And what allows me to write every week about tips and tricks to become better at this and that? Am I some kind of Slick Rick? Good questions! Get in touch with me if you seriously want those answers.
If I am to make my best effort to be helpful in this context, then I can’t sling those empty, impersonal, obvious, and unhelpful ‘moisturizer’ tones here either.
With that in mind, let’s agree that we’ve all gotten the memo that taking care of ourselves is a need and simply has to be a priority. You don’t need me to reiterate that. You don’t need to buy anything to do it, just put the action back into it. It’s not a passive, soft glow state of mind. It’s a practice. You can go for a walk, stretch for 10 minutes, phone a friend, eat a cucumber, whatever you need.
As for the phrase itself, let’s drill down deeper and reclaim that term on a much more practical and personal level.
Unless it’s working for you, let’s all find our own name or phrase to replace that term. Think of something that would inspire you 99% of the time to be proactive about planning time and activities each day to do the maintenance work you know your body, mind, and spirit need. Make it personal as hell. And remember, you can’t give what you don’t have. Taking care of ourselves allows us to show up for others in a profoundly more powerful way.
Have fun with it, and I’d be honored if you’d let me know what you come up with.
Mine= Hammer Time!
‘Stop, Hammer Time!’ to be exact.
Dan ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ Frantz