I recently came across a quote by writer and activist Audre Lorde, she said:
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
As a person of colour, an autistic woman and someone who struggles with mental health difficulties, I have often been told that my voice is not relevant and my opinions are not valid. For me, it has been incredibly disheartening to dwell within the world of a minority.
I have been abused and rejected by society, people who claimed to care about me and – worst of all – by myself. Though it has had various labels attached to it throughout the years mental illness and I have been strange bedfellows for over twenty years. I have lost chunks of my childhood, the entirety of my teens and much of my twenties to waves of submission and battle, but now as thirty speeds towards me I have decided to take control and embrace a warrior mentality.
Part of this warrior mentality involves getting more involved in public discussions of mental health, sharing my stories and adding my voice to the growing cacophony of people demanding social, medical and political change to how mental illness is perceived, received and treated. The other side of becoming a warriors is that I must put focus on my own care. It is all well and good to fight for, and beside, others but all that is for nothing if I lose my own battle. I must start caring and repairing myself so that I may fulfill my goal to help and support others. With this is mind I have made a commitment to myself (and to my God) that rather than channeling my emotional, spiritual and physical energies into self-destruction, condemnation and isolation I have will instead focus them on mental wellness and radical self-care. One of the best definitions of what I mean by radical self care can be found at: Radical Self Care Now and there is one particular line that gave me chills when I read it:
Radical self-care is about dancing with vulnerability and strength along the continuum between selfless and selfish.(Katherine Golub, 2014 )
There is something so intrinsically intimate about dancing and it evokes within me the idea of wholeheartedly offering guidance, leadership, companionship, support and love to myself.
Now if that isn’t a radical thought I’m not sure what is!
Self-care isn’t just about bubble baths, lighting candles or going for a walk (although they are all lovely pursuits) and in order to radicalise this process one must learn how to embrace all facets of themselves without judgement nor criticism.
Spiritually and emotionally I am making improvements everyday however one place I have really been lagging is creatively. I am aware that I am capable of being a highly creative person, however, everytime I begin a project I berate, condem and edit myself into anxiety and emotional turmoil. This blog is a means of expressing not only my creativity but also my journey to allowing it to flow and embracing whatever is counjoured.
The first step on this is to participate in NaNoWriMo 2016, and so it begins…
Come back soon in order to follow my creative exploits, and I would love if you clicked here and followed my journey of self-discovery through spiritual exploration at ThisGirlMatters.org.