“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” —Audre Lorde
In short, radical self-care is an assertion that I have the responsibility to care for myself in a world that doesn’t value my worth. Also, it says that I need to care for myself before I can care for others.
There are a lot of politics around being fat. We see calorie counts on restaurant menus and banning sugary drinks in schools. And, people who are fat face considerable social discrimination. It is okay to laugh at and bully people who are fat because being fat is considered a moral failing. Fat is not lovable. Even doctors don’t pay attention to health concerns, their answer is to lose weight, and you will be okay.
When we take time to care for ourselves, we are making a very very political statement in a world that dismisses our worth and monetizes our every minute. Finally, we all have to remember that all politics are personal.
So, how does radical self-care play out in my life?
Well, if you have read previous posts, loving myself is a significant part of my self-care. It is also the most difficult for me to do. I remind myself daily that I am lovable, and I love myself. At 277 pounds, my body is beautiful. I have worth beyond my work.
I listen to my body and what it needs. All of the aches, pains, and gastrointestinal issues are signals that my body needs help. If I need to rest, I rest. If I need to move, I move. Moving my body is also part of my self-care. There is so much pressure to do this or do that. Walk 10,000 steps. Cross-Fit. Kettlebells. Yoga. Etc. I walk. I don’t attempt to make 10,000 steps a day. I walk between 5,000 and 7,000 steps. But it isn’t an issue if I don’t. Some are better than none. I no longer push through or grin and bear it.
Caring for myself includes eating well. This means eating nutrient-dense, non-processed food as often as possible. This translates to the simple recipes I post. And also, eating in proper portions is essential (and it is also cost-efficient). So, I measure and log my food.
Finances are something most people don’t think of as self-care, but they are. I am taking care of my debt and getting it under control. I am saving for my retirement. I don’t foresee having anyone to help care for me when I am old, so I need to find ways to make sure I am secure in my dotage.
I care for my mind and soul. I am aware of the pain, anger, and anguish in the world. I believe I do my part to make the world better, but everything is not my fight. I limit my exposure, but I do not deny it. I read books and plays. I spend virtual time with friends.
I am working to be kind to myself while challenging myself to grow as a person. I strive for progress and not perfection. I don’t set impossible goals. I make small goals that lead me to where and who I want to be.
These are my radical acts of self-care. This is how I stand against the things I feel are unhealthy in this world. The things that have brought me to where I am now. So, while they may seem small, it a world of ultra, mega, and extreme…this is radical.
As always, my friends, remember to be kind…especially to yourself.