Em-URGE-ing Voices

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My Self-Care Arsenal

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January 5, 2015

Have you ever felt rage? I know I have. Have you ever felt hopelessness? I know I have. Those feelings became even more apparent as I embarked on my Domestic Exchange. New York City amplified my voice in its protests calling for action in the Eric Garner case. I simultaneously felt silenced by the cacophonous city.

My courses expanded my thinking and yet I felt isolated without the comfort of my friends. With each day that passed in New York, Atlanta, my home away from home, felt further away.

Without really knowing it. I did what Robyn, a fellow URGE journalist suggested in a blog post “How to Cope with Anxiety in Activism.” Robyn suggested “Develop[ing] a self-care “toolbox,” complete with support system”.

I found comfort in:

Breathing slow
Bubble tea
Green tea with milk
Bentonite clay face masks
Trail Mix
Getting my hair cut
Washing my hair
Going to Concerts: Esperanza Spalding
Walking down an unfamiliar street
Listening to silence
Listening to Full Albums
Write poetry
Turning off technology
Mentally listing the physical and character traits I like about myself
Talk to someone I have not talked to in a while
Sister Circles

I found myself becoming agitated and restless. I wondered and continue to wonder how cisgender women, gender nonconforming, transgender people, masculine-presenting, and bisexual people of color fit under #BLACKLIVESMATTER. The power of sisterly spaces was reaffirmed when I attended a sister circle composed of women of color.

There is something extremely powerful about hearing your thoughts and beliefs repeated by peers. It is refreshing to be heard and understand. Each person in the circle shared how they felt using a minimum of two words. “I feel visibly invisible,” I said.

In my time in New York, I perfected my self-care arsenal. I found activities that gave and continue to give me peace  of mind when I felt anxious and lonely. My self-care arsenal is composed of foods, music, and other activities. I hope that sharing my self-care arsenal will give you some suggestions of things to do in times when you need self-care.

In the words of Audre Lorde, “‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” My self-care arsenal consists of the weapons that  I use to maintain my physical and spiritual health in a world where I plan to be a solution rather than a problem.

What’s in your self-care arsenal? What allows you to maintain your physical and spiritual  as you grapple with social justice issues?

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