I have been reconsidering my thoughts on an article pushing for more community care instead of “self-care” because of the many people who have pointed out Loewe’s biases and the ways the article falls short or contributes to ableist bul. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is one of those who has pushed back:
“I’m used to people saying to me, “Wow, your self-care is so good!” I always look at them blankly. I never think of what I do- cooking good food for myself on my budget that supports my body and my chronic illness, going to working-class acupuncture twice a month, stretching, drinking a lot of herbs, making sure I get sleep- as “self care”. I think of it as the stuff I do to love myself in a fucked up world, that helps me have more days with less pain, and helps me give my body love when I’m having days with a lot of pain and fatigue…
In their article, Loewe writes, “I have literally gone from being in debilitating pain and only being able to accomplish three hours of work each day to working 18 hour shifts the same week in a completely different context. The difference was not the conditions of my work. It was my connection to my purpose.” I’m glad that works for them. But, as a friend commented back, “Okay, that method does not work for some of us. Some of us are in debilitating pain no matter what.” And to say that we can just be “more deeply committed to the struggle” and leave our disabilities behind is an incredibly dangerous stance to take…
…a community member lead us all in a somatic grounding so we could feel our bodies’ power before we went in the courthouse. We shared food and rides and supported each other. There was always a feeling that if people couldn’t make it do to work or parenting or disability/illness, other folks would move up.
This is the kind of movement I want to be part of. I want movements to embody a disabled, working class, brown sustainability that celebrates femme organizer genius. We deserve nothing less. And us- disabled, working class, femmes of color- have been creating these kinds of movements for a long time. Listen up. (Or read the captioning.)”
Thank you thank you thank you Leah for writing this. it provoked many thoughts and feelings as I try to sort out a transition moment in my life and a gut-felt commitment to movement building. though Loewe’s article had ripple effects that surely reinforced ableist expectations (i even wrote a positive blog post!) your article and similar ones are already making waves. thank you.
also there is this piece by Bruin Christopher.