Yesterday, I read an article in the NY Times called “When did Self-Help become Self Care?”. It offered me an interesting perspective, as I have been struggling at times with using the terms “Self-Care” and “Wellness”, while doing it anyways for lack of a better term. A struggle that has also been stirred up after the last week of controversy in the fitness and wellness industry. The article described how Self-Help for so long as been about conquering, whereas Self-Care is about nourishing. It suggested that perhaps this is what Marianne Williamson means when she says it is a “Return to Love” rather than working out of fear. My favorite part of the article however is as follows: “Self-Care is often critically characterized as a market for purchasable experiences like massages, manicures and ‘me time’. But its origins are in a series of loose, secular rituals meant to calm the nervous system, and are informed in part by the work of feminist writers of color, including Audre Lorde and bell hooks, both of whom wrote about caring for one’s self in oppressive conditions. In “A Burst of Light,” Lorde writes, ``''Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.’”
This is the Self-Care Support that I am interested in providing. There is a reason that I often put Radical before the words Self-Care and Self-Love. I am not interested in creating work that just looks good and is pretty on Instagram. I am interested in being a stand for a revolutionary kind of self-care that serves a higher purpose to the world. I am interested in breaking the chain that self-care and “wellness” is only for those who can afford it in the capitalistic landscape it currently lives in, but for all who wish to take part in it. Those who wish to be radical in their approach for caring for and loving themselves because for so long we have been told that we are not enough or that what is required to help ourselves is to work from fear and hard discipline.
I don't have a lot of answers right now, mainly questions and a longing to learn more and do better. What I know for sure is that I don’t wish to perpetuate the privilege of “wellness” in a way that is destructive, a word that in itself suggests that those of us who get to think about are able to do more than simply survive. I acknowledge my own privilege in being able to have the experiences I have had. And I mean no shame to any of us who are in that position, truly. Let’s really honor it by being grateful for it. And I also fully acknowledge that I too, having chosen this as my work and career MUST make money in order to support myself and my family. There needs to be no shame in that truth either. But I do want to help open the door and conversation around how I can be an advocate for all and for Self-Care that is not self-indulgent, is about self-preservation and is a LOVING act of political and social selfcare (perhaps instead of warfare)...I know I’m not alone.
For reference, article is linked below:
New York Times article "When did Self-Help become Self-Care?"
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.