“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
I’ve been a bit quiet on the social media front over the last few weeks. That’s because I’ve been reveling in self-care:
I roasted a turkey and baked my grandmother Muz’s famous mac ‘n cheese.
I teased and giggled with my little sister and talked video games and grad school with my baby brother.
I watched football with my dad. (Well, not really. He watched and I read a book and checked in the score every now and then.)
I went Christmas shopping with my mom.
I gave treats and belly rubs to my furry nibling.
And then I joined my favorite people in the world to celebrate the 60th birthday of the queen of our lives. (She looks fantastic. So glad those good genes gave birth to me.)
Now I’m on my way back to mycity and my work and my day-to-day life.
About a month ago, I said I was going to grieve and then go back to the fight. Looking at my activities over the last few weeks, it might seem like I’ve been just chilling, taking a break. But don’t get it twisted. As librarian, poet, black queer and feminist activist Audre Lorde made clear, self-care is “an act of political warfare.”
This is wisdom that goes way back for my people and many other marginalized folks, I’m sure: the best way to defeat your enemy is to live and love your living, even as you fight. That’s why so many mistakenly embrace the image of the happy slave as full historical truth. They miss the acts of intense physical, spiritual, and emotional warfare that looms behind those smiles: My enslaved ancestors weren’t happy or even accepting of their lot. But a major part of their strength to fight back, a powerful weapon in their arsenal, was their ability to continue to live, love, and laugh with all the dignity the oppressor tried to withhold from them.
And that is what I do today. With every kiss, hug, shout of laughter, giggle, and burble of joy, I shoot a flaming F— YOU! at those who would try to deny me my joy, peace, and justice. I fight and I smile as I fight, not because the fighting is enjoyable but because this is my life and it is worth living. It is mine.
So, I revel in my self-care. And I encourage you all to do the same. Sharpen those weapons and fill your enemies hearts with fear.
Love and peace to you all.