Letter From the Editor I think my twenties have been dedicated to learning that I have to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. No one else is going to put in time to make sure I am okay. My fellow peers cannot because they are in the same stressful microagression-filled situation I am. My family cannot they are in the same stressful microagression-filled situation I am. And my friends they are in the same stressful microagression-filled situation I am; just as stressed-out, in debt, over worked and functionally depressed as I am. In short, EVERYONE is going through! We can work together to create safe spaces for solidarity and encouragement, but--at the end of the day--it is my choice and my choice alone to value my spirit, my body, my sanity, and my voice. I want to succeed. I want to invest in others. I want to make a difference. To do that, I have to make sure I have something to give in the first place. This issue is about the things I do and the things I am learning to do for myself for the long haul. ∞∞∞
Issue 3 Self-Care
In This Issue Everything in this issue was created by Marie Annetoinette unless otherwise stated
Letter to the Editor P l a y l i s t : M e L o s t To o Art: Longing for Tenderness W h a t i s S e l f - C a re ? A r t : To o M u c h Living a Romantic Life S t y l e : Fa l l / W i n t e r 2 0 1 4 W i s h L i s t Art: Journals That I Wish I Had Zines (and Other Media) to Look Out For In Loving Memory
Me Lost Too h t t p : / / 8 t r a c k s .c o m /j m e l k w/ m e - l o s tt- t o o
W h at i s
Self-Care? “Self care is active participation in enhancing the quality of your health. Some people may think that nurturing the self is only for the fragile, the weak-willed, or the slacker – it certainly couldn't be for strong, ambitious college men and women.” — http://healthcenter.ncsu.edu/counseling-center/ resources/mental-health-and-wellness-topics/self-care/
The term self-care seems simple and self-explanatory; it must mean talking care of yourself, right? The reality of self-care is that simple, but it's also difficult and even revolutionary in the face of societal expectations. I can't speak for other countries but I know that in the United States taking care of oneself is not encouraged , mostly because of capitalism. People (successful, respectable people) are expected to work at a nonstop pace, to always be available to work, and always be willing to work more. Most people go without true rest as hourly-wage workers often do not get vacation, sick-leave, or health care. The need to work, the high cost of healthy food creates a lack of time and energy to devote to things like, prayer, exercise, meditation, and building relationships. The irony is that the more one is struggling--whether with financial difficulties, relationship difficulties, physical illness, mental illness, etc.-- the more vital acts of self-care become to maintaining any kind of equilibrium, any kind of wholeness.
The need for self-care increases when one is taught not to value themselves. I know that in my own life, the messages of Black female worthlessness made it harder for me to value my own mental, spiritual, and physical health. Let me be honest: the message of Black female worthlessness perpetuated by the media and accepted by society--yes, even Black society--MAKE it hard for me to think of myself as deserving care. I don't have the time, money, or energy to make and eat the food I know would actually alleviate some of my depression or go for a walk and there's always something more urgent, more important, to do anyway: school, work, even Church. I am still in the process of convincing
“Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.” — Andrew Solomon
myself that I am worth waking up early to work out for. I am worth cleaning my room for I am as worthy as the next person, so I try to tell myself, but I rarely ever believe it. Me even writing this piece is ironic but maybe I'm just writing to myself. I want to believe that I am a beautiful, (thus worthy), a human being, and a woman and lovable... The main concept of self-care is that you are worthy of the love that you so often bestow on others and because of that, you can show yourself that love. You are worthy of love, even loving yourself the way you love others, giving yourself what you are expected to give everyone else. Let me be honest once again: I am fat, Black, dark-skinned, and poor. Much of my youth was spent talking care of children In other words, I was stereo-typed a s mammy at a young age: as a Black woman who cares little about her own home and/or children while devoting her time and energy to others, especially her white employers. In my life this expressed itself as friends, family, and colleagues expecting me to prioritize their needs over my own. I internalized that expectation while watching my mother work herself sick for friends, family, and the Church. On one hand my mother was and is well-remembered in our community and even beyond those borders; she was known as a kind, hospitable, wise, and giving woman. But there were parts of her personal life that went ignored and unfulfilled, I think. My mother gave everything to everyone, and I can't help but be grateful for it because much of what she gave was to me and my younger sisters.. But I can't help but think that she might have been alive for longer if she had kept something back for self. . I can't help but wonder what she would have accomplished if she had had more energy and more time, Was that they way it was supposed to be? Was she supposed to be a flaming candle burning at both ends until... ? I'm not sure I want to be that.
LOVE YOURSELF! DO THINGS THAT NOT ONLY MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD NOW, BUT WILL MAKE YUO FEEL/LIVE/BE GOOD LATER! CLEAN YOUR FUCKING ROOM, YOU WON'T BE AS DEPRESSED/FRUSTRATED/ WHATEVER! GO FOR A WALK! DRINK SOME WATER! BREATHE, DAMNIT! MAKE SOME TEA! EVEN IF YOU DON'T LOVE YOURSELF YET, THINK ABOUT WHAT A PERSON WHO LOVES THEMSELVES WOULD DO AND DO IT! FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT!
whim·sy (h)wimzē Noun: playfully quaint or fanciful behavior or humor. "the film is an awkward blend of whimsy and moralizing" a whim. Plural noun: whimsies; plural noun: whimseys: a thing that is fanciful or odd. "the stone carvings and whimsies"
Books have always been a source of whimsy for me, and whimsy has always been synonymous with magic, romance, and femininity. From the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson to the more modern stories by L. M. Montgomery, C. S. Lewis, and Francesca Lia Block. Anne of Green Gables was the first book to not only demonstrate an aesthetic I appreciated, but to verbalize how I wanted to live: a life of romance, whimsy, adventure, and friendship. Living a romantic life was not necessarily about being in a relationship, but about being imaginative, friendly, enthusiastic about your interests and aesthetic, and unafraid of your own emotions and personal vulnerability. Reading that and the other books in this set are great ways revive a whimsical mindset; I read them regularly remind myself that whimsy is apart of who I am and it's okay to indulge even when society might see that as childish or unimportant. ∞∞∞
While respectability is ultimately damaging to the community (as it upholds aspects of classism), it was also a tool used by my parents and their parents, and even my great grandparents. The allure of respectability’s promise is powerful: that maybe if we wear the right clothes, and speak English the way they tell us to, make our hair look like theirs, maybe if we go to college, and be good citizens… Maybe they will finally think we are human and treat us accordingly. I know that my generation has rejected that logic on some level, because it hasn’t proven true. If (Continued on page 15)
F/W 2014 Wish List
Fashion and style have always been about expressing myself, but recently the statements I’ve been wanting to make have become more pointed. I grew up loving clothes; my mother and both of my grandmothers could sew quite well and our house was always full of Simplicity, Butterick, Vogue, McCall, and New Look pattern books. For my mother getting dressed meant putting on an armor of respectability. There was a right way and a wrong way to be dressed and the difference could mean being followed around a store, denied service, denied job opportunities, etc.
(Continued from page 14)
people are determined to not see you as human no amount of slips, and stockings, crossed knees, education, or proper annunciation will change that. Much of my struggle with my mother as a teenager was this generational argument (Continued on page 17)
(Continued from page 15)
in microcosm. It wasnâ€™t even that I didn't like the clothes she wanted me to wear. Sometimes it was sometimes it wasnâ€™t, but mostly I rejected the idea that my worth was tied to them, and my contrarian personality said, give no quarter. Now, dressing in the morning and putting on make up have become about expressing my humanity, my femininity, my womanhood, characteristics of myself that are easily erased by the mainstream understanding of what it means to be feminine (thin, young, white, well-to-do, (Continued on page 18)
(Continued from page 17)
beautiful— the European meaning of beautiful), which I realize isn’t that dissimilar from my own mother’s objectives. I think that the main difference is the rejection of the idea of a beauty ideal, and the insistence that even if I am not respectable, I am still worthy of respect. I’ll probably discuss my own struggle with (Continued on page 19)
(Continued from page 18)
beauty in more detail in the next issue, but let it suffice to say that my focus has changed from the impossible task of trying to create a perception of myself that will finally be accepted to (Continued on page 20)
(Continued from page 19)
being myself, well and truly myself. Examining every facet of my own personality and creating personas that express that. The reality is that many people won’t know how to interpret the message I’m putting forth. Fortunately. the message is less for them and more for me. It’s one way of affirming the person I’m becoming as I grow and change and mature.
Journals That I Wish I Had 21
Journals That I Wish I Had 23
In Loving Memory
Zines (AND OTHER MEDIA) to Look Out For Girls Get Busy girlsgetbusyzine.tumblr.com
P l e a s e Te l l M e M o r e A b o u t M y s e l f issuu.com/jeneetheridge
Two Brown Girls (podcast) twobrowngirls.co/
EDITOR MARIE ANNETOINETTE firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT CARO Youâ€™re probably wondering what caro is about. Caro is A perzine for the expression of my own spiritual, social, literary, and artistic interests. Sometimes you just need an outlet. Caro is an invitation for brain dump and discussion, to marvel and to reason together. Come, let us reason together.