"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare." -Audre Lorde During these traumatic times especially, it is necessary to recognize the effects of race-based trauma. For full Colorlines article click here.
“The onslaught of news about violence against people of color seems to be endless these days. In the midst of all of this we remember the words of writer and activist Audre Lorde, who famously said that self-care is both an act of self-preservation and political warfare.
Here are a few resources that may help you during these challenging times.
1. Self Care for People of Color After Psychological Trauma by Jasmine
This article lays out the ways that witnessing repetitive acts of racism can turn into post-traumatic stress disorder. In particular, Jasmine emphasizes that engaging in online spaces themselves can contribute to this trauma:
Race-based trauma literally leaves bruised spots on your brain. By continuing to enter online conversations, as important as you warrant them to be, you are allowing the bruise to be pressed on over and over. You are harming yourself if you do not step away and heal. These conversations are impacting your emotional and psychological well-being.
2. 11 Black Queer and Trans Women Discuss Self-Care by L.G. Parker
Sometimes what we need is the wisdom of others who have survived and thrived. This article provides quotes from 11 Black Queer and Trans Women about how they take care of themselves. From Blair Ebony Smith, a student in Syracuse:
I practice self-love by creating with the intent to be present and non-judgemental. I create with the intent to honor Black [queer] ancestors and honor my own creativity. To honor my creativity, I let myself create whatever it is I may want to in the moment, whether that’s a beat from a sampled record, painting, collaging or writing. I also move and breathe. I love to walk and practice yoga. Self-care is also about community. I enjoy being in community celebrating life, talking shit [or just being] with other Black queer people.
Read the rest of the insights here.
3. Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay: Questions to Ask Before Giving Up by Eponis
Sometimes it’s the most basic things that can help us through:
Are you hydrated? If not, have a glass of water.
Have you eaten in the past three hours? If not, get some food—something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts or hummus?
Have you showered in the past day? If not, take a shower right now.
If daytime: are you dressed? If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.
Read the rest of the questions to ask yourself here.
4. Self Care List: How to Take Care of Your Self While Learning About Oppression (With Unaware People) by Fabian Romero
Fabian Romero, an indigenous immigrant queer writer, also has a list of things to do regarding self care. Romero’s post is focused on what to do when you’re in learning spaces (such as workshops on oppression), but because these political moments also serve as real world learning environments around racism, these tips can also help you handle conversations with friends and family about the violence around us.
1. Prioritze sleep: Not getting enough sleep leads to imbalance [sic] emotions and exacerbates stress.
2. Eat breakfast/food: Not eating enough in the day can lead to mood swings which can lead to reacting on ignorant ass comments and further exacerbating stress.
3. Talk to your fucking friends: specifically friends who share the same marginal status as you (e.g. person of color, queer, disability, gender, etc) before the class or workshop to get re-centered (present/not stressing the fuck out). Also call on one or a few people after the event to debrief and make sense of the idiocy of people’s subconscious and conscious remarks and actions that just irritated and or hurt you.”