I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend! Dan and I are visiting Versailles today, and Sunday we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving with my expat cousins. Today fellow blogger Yvonne Cruz shares her thoughts on self-care!
Yvonne is a freelance writer, designer, blogger, wannabe Muay Thai fighter based out of Fort Worth. You can follow her blog and find more of her work on her website www.TejanaMaluca.com. She’s on both Instagram and Twitter as @TejanaMaluca.
Self-Care as a Radical Act of Feminism
“I’m weary of the ways of the world,” sings Solange on the track “Weary” off of her latest album A Seat at the Table. On the track (and through out the entire album for that matter) Solange goes beyond expressing her fatigue with the current state of society. When she sings “I’m gonna look for my glory,” it is a powerful declaration of self-care and self-love in a culture that is often at odds with the value of her very existence as black woman.
2016 has been a crazy year. It has been a year in which long-existing issues of racism, sexism, and inequality have been at the forefront of the American consciousness. It has been a year with an election that left everyone drained. 2016 has been a tough year.
I, like many, like Solange, also feel “weary of the ways of the world.” I can’t claim to know what it is like to be a black woman, but I can tell you about my own experience navigating the world as a progressive latinx women. Identity politics aside, going through daily life as simply a decent human being, who cares about earth and everything living on it, can start to feel like a chore.
And life shouldn’t feel like a chore. When this starts to happen it’s time to re-center and refocus on you. Because homegurl, you can’t save the world before you save yourself.
My Own Self-Care Discovery
In the past year, I’ve found myself increasing overwhelmed not just by the ugliness of the daily news, but by the constant need in the “socially conscious” circles I navigate to “call out” anyone and any action that was seemed lightly problematic. I began to notice that so much of my social media was all doom gloom. I grew tired the same political arguments and dissections of every single piece of pop culture for its effectiveness or ineffectiveness as a tool to fight some form of oppression.
As everything around me told me the world at large sucked, I also wasn’t too happy with my personal life. Life was depressing. That’s when I started taking self-care seriously. I realized I didn’t really love myself. How could I be committed to spreading love in the world when I didn’t have any for myself?
Practicing self-care has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life. However, I’ve started to make an effort to cultivate a strong sense of self-worth. I’m taking concrete action to create the kind of life I desire, a life doing things I love surrounded by people I love. Because amidst a capitalist society that’s telling everyone they need to constantly go-go-go and do more-more-more, it’s important to take a breath and just enjoy life.
When you’re a socially conscious person, sometimes it’s hard to give yourself permission to put yourself first. It can feel selfish to focus on your own personal joy when there is so much injustice happening in the world.
But trust me on this.
You can’t get much done if you’re stressed out and hating life.
Self-care in a capitalist society is radical. It’s feminist AF! Women in particular are constantly upheld as selfless caretakers who put their needs behind those of others, even within progressive circles! And it can be difficult for women to take a break when we so often feel like we need to prove ourselves in a patriarchal society.
But chixas, I’m telling you this.
If you don’t put yourself first, no one else will.
I’m not saying we should ignore every injustice that goes on the world just because it makes us feel bad. Quite the opposite. If we have any hope as a society, we must continue to question the effectiveness of the current social institutions. We must continue to come together to fight sexism, racism, homophobia, oppression in all its forms, AND the power structures that support oppression.
But you need to pick your battles to win the war, if only for your own mental health. Do you have to engage every jerk who tweets something offensive? Do you really need to worry about the cultural validity of some 8-year old getting her braids done on a beach vacation? Perhaps that’s not how you operate, but maybe that’s how your friends do on social media. Well, take a break from it! Its cool!
You have a right to be upset about the state of things.
To be angry.
To feel all the feels.
But don’t get lost in those feelings.
If you’ve been feeling a sense of hopelessness with your own reality and the state of the world, then I venture to guess you are forgetting to bring joy into your own personal life. Make it a priority.
It’s been working for me.