Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
It can sometimes be overwhelmingly difficult to be constantly socially, and politically aware. Society bombards us daily with implied racism, sexism and classism, but perhaps more disturbing still is the bigotry society makes little effort to conceal: the persistent and often socially accepted fatphobia, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, the list goes on. We see it on TV, on bilboards, in magazines, our friends talk, our professors say something offhandedly, the sources are never ending.
The other day I was sitting in the meal hall and I overheard two girls talking, one girl said to the other, “you might think carbs are what make you fat but really it’s the starches that are gonna do you in.” I wanted to shake them and yell YOUR BODY IS JUST FINE AND NEITHER A CARB NOR A STARCH IS GOING TO CHANGE THAT. On top of that, no person is fat because fat is a noun not a fucking adjective. Most importantly though, is being heavy really the worst thing that can happen to a woman? (and I say woman because yes, female identifying people are much more vilified and targeted for carrying weight) I mean really, is it worse to be fat than it is to be mean, ignorant, or vapid? Jesus Murphy, I hope not.
As a white woman in university in North America the results of racism are pretty easy for me to see, particularly in my program which is almost entirely white. Ethnic minorities are extraordinarily rare in my program and I’ve even heard of voice professors believing that “Black people can’t sing opera,” to which my answer is, “no, Black people can’t sing opera the way you white sensibilities want them to.” To be fair there is a reasonable representation of the Asian community in my program, a community sometimes referred to as the, “model minority.” I’ll leave it to you to deduce the problems with that particular stereotype.
I’ve recently read stories in the news about the abuse of Dylan Farrow, the refusal of social security to a 92 year-old trans woman when her husband died, Lebron James using the word retard during a pre-game interview, signs on public transit in my own city denouncing abortion.
It’s impossible to escape the implications of a woman being blamed or disbelieved in a report of abuse (the statistic for lies about sexual abuse btw is less than 1%), a woman who has been able to live as a woman for FOURTY YEARS not being able to collect her husband’s social security, a sports celebrity thinking it’s okay to use language that devalues an entire community of human beings, and signs on city buses targeting abortion when people that are likely to have been traumatized by an abortion (trans* people, teenagers, other people who are statistically more likely to be in a low income bracket) often have no other means of transportation and can’t escape the propaganda.
So, here I sit at my volunteer work in the campus Gender and Sexuality resource centre, preoccupied by the many injustices of the world and the only way I can combat them right now is to clean the community kitchen and make sure I take care of myself so that I can stay well enough to keep fighting these battles.
All this to say, if you’re someone who is exhausted by the social injustices of the world, this is your permission to take a bath, drink some tea, read a trashy novel, eat well, put on some hand cream and consider it an act of political warfare.
p.s. I dyed my hair pink and purple.. tehe