i like to paint trees! this is watercolor. image: a watercolor
painting of a leafless tree, mostly a view of the trunk, offcenter, with
a few long slender branches spreading out parallel to the ground. tree
is ribbons of orange red and brown, the sky is ribbons of bright blue.
I wanted to chime in on the chorus of brilliant replies and comments from folks on B. leowes circulating article "an end to self care". I'll link some of my faves below. they cover many things i wish i had the time and energy to speak to, like the classism and sexism present, and the deeply triggering nature of the ableism, and just how interdependent self care and community care truly are. this is a work in progress for me, for all of us...but here's whats on the forefront for me right now...
i often struggle with copious amounts of shame, frustration and confusion over the fact that right now in my life all i have to give is going towards helping raise 2 children. It can feel deeply unradical, ordinary and anonymous. it is adding exponentially to my already intense isolation. While not my intention, my world has become this house, this home. As someone who is disabled and chronically ill, i am tapped . if i don't take time to space out and watch shadows dance on my wall, or have a hot shower, roll around on a tennis ball to keep my neck from going out, scroll thru fucking facebook, grow kale or whatever the hell i can manage that feels -still- and healing, i won't be able to make dinner and clean it all up.
if no one makes dinner, the children don't eat.
children need to eat.
and these are not "my" children in the biological or legal sense, but i love them, we are family in the queerest loveliest sense, and i want to do my part in helping them become the best humans they can be. i want to help them navigate the violence and brutal complexity in the world, i want them to understand privilege and love and compassion and accountability.
articles like b. loewes' and the larger presence of this brand of deep running ableism in "movement work" just nail the shame and frustration firmly in place.
B. suggests that if we are unable to work endlessly for the movement, it is because we are not connected to our purpose. this suggests that what we -are- doing : caring for ourselves so that we can care for others, cleaning, cooking, crafting, repairing, listening, teaching, recovering, is not movement work.
i certainly struggle with the loss of what feels like my life before i decided to live with children.
and i now can spot a mile off the lives and work of those that don't have dependants...it has, how do you say, a certain je ne sais quoi. a certain level of self absorption.
and while i might roll my eyes, i'd be lying if i didn't say i miss this.
but i also am aware that a degree of this new layer of loss and isolation i'm experiencing is connected to the dominant, rooted in patriarchy idea that revolution isn't about raising children or helping each other with the mundane domestic task of surviving another day.
folks just always seem to have better things to do than help with someones kids, or just help someone.
and this is capitalism at work yeah? its a set up. there is not enough. not enough time/money/energy.
and revolution. well...it's THE thing.
but heres the thing, the front lines aren't linear. they aren't always dramatic. they
aren't -out-there-. they are everywhere, including the kitchen. including the bedtime story and the hands on love of being present for need.
i'm learning to think less in terms of productivity, esp. since framing life that way will certainly end me, and think more in terms of sustaining...sustenance...support. this flies in the face of my lower class life that screams produce, keep the cards close or die. it challenges the ableism in my working class roots, the internalized high stakes drive to succeed. to avoid being trash. or criminal.
This ableism lives on in radical political movements. It pushes out us sick ones and blames us for it.
ableism is dangerous. swallowing eugenic poison.
i'm learning that self love, self care and community care go together, they twine effortlessly with raising community and revolution. that i am doing the work, even shadow watching, even dish washing, even heart beating, even now.
here's the links i mentioned earlier...enjoy. and a nod to all the brilliant conversation between crips that let me realize that there was a reason, a buncha reasons, why B. Loewes article was so upsetting.
recognizing the feeling, the hollow heartbeat discomfort in my body that tells me I'm dealing with an untenable privilege dynamic in a relationship cuz it feels like everything i say is dramatic/traumatic/bad news/stress and their company makes me feel the draft where my safety net should be.
(photo is a close shot of a garden bed, mulched with straw and a few tiny tiny one day old kale sprouts peeking through.)
(photo is of the view out my shed door, from my desk. Outside it is late day sun lighting up a small apple tree sapling and behind that is my firewood stacked up against a cement block wall with a huge very green tree hanging overhead)
(photo is of me and my dog agatha. I've got this scrappy old straw hat on and a white a-shirt. My face is partially blocked by her black and white spotted ear, only half her face is visible. She is dog-smiling. We are sitting together in the back of my car)
( photo is a close up of a flower called a black eyed susan that is brilliant orange with a pitch black center.)