“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” -Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde, an African-American lesbian feminist poet-warrior, gives us this quote that counters nearly everything we have been taught in this culture. Many folks tell me that they feel guilty taking care of themselves, or even thinking of what their own needs. I, too, have found myself feeling guilty that I am not being "productive" or doing what I "should" be doing when I want to read, go to the beach, or meditate.
How can I be expected to support others, yet alone myself, if I do not first do the things that feed me? Defining worthiness by productivity and a lack of self-care is like expecting myself to constantly breathe out without ever breathing in. That is insane, unhealthy, and impossible.
Especially for those of us in marginalized communities, queer, gender-variant, POC, women, self-care is not only a necessity for our bodies-minds and spirits but it is also resistance against a culture that oppresses us as individuals and our communities. Self-care is one of the ways that I can choose to take back my power, literally to empower myself in a environ that often feels disempowering.
When my worth is no longer defined by productivity,their is time to care for myself and my community, to breathe in and to breathe out, to meditate and to find connection with Nature. When I can find connection with my self, my breath, and Nature I have the energy I need to be who I want to be, with less judgement and more ease.