Edition 61, Issue 6 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 www.thenortherner.com
ILLUSTRATION BY MO HERBE
Follow illustrator Mo Herbe @odd.lil.me on Instagram and @oddlilme on Twitter.
Mackenzie Manley EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
EDITOR’S NOTE: This issue hit the stands on Valentine’s Day, perhaps the holiday that elicits the most eyerolls. Rose-tinted commercials, giant teddy bears, pricey dinners and sub-par chocolate cloud our vision. Somehow, all of this clutter equates to love. Or, at least, what we want love to be. But, this V-Day The Northerner has decided to put Tinder-success stories, rom-com worthy meet-cute couples and commercialism to the wayside in favor of a different, often overlooked, kind of love: self love. Self-love can be defined as a “regard for one’s own wellbeing and happiness.” As the subjects within our articles
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Self-care: taking time to to do what you love
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Self-care for sexual assault survivors
reiterate, the best way to show others that you care is first to take care of yourself. And, as Gabby Dralle of Norse Violence Prevention Center said, this process looks different for every individual. Flip through to read the stories of average students exploring this concept themselves, how NVP provides a space to help survivors of power-based violence bring self-love and self-care back into their lives, an editorial that examines why self-love is radical in a consumer society, and an anthropology professor’s perspective on how this notion differs in other cultural communities, specifically the Malagasy of Madagascar.
In Madagascar, self-care is a community affair
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Self-love in a consumer culture
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
NORTHERNER STAFF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mackenzie Manley [email@example.com] MANAGING EDITOR Christopher Decker [firstname.lastname@example.org] NEWS EDITOR Sam Rosenstiel [email@example.com] ASST. NEWS EDITOR Natalie Hamren [firstname.lastname@example.org] ARTS & LIFE EDITOR Jude Noel [email@example.com] SPORTS EDITOR Christopher Decker [firstname.lastname@example.org] ASST. SPORTS EDITOR Kevin Carey [email@example.com] PHOTO EDITOR Colin Johnson [johnsonphotography6626@gmailcom] DESIGN EDITOR Brittney Gunter [firstname.lastname@example.org] ASST. DESIGN EDITOR Raegan Archer [email@example.com] VIDEO EDITOR Clay Crouch [firstname.lastname@example.org] WEB EDITOR Alex Owens [email@example.com] ENGAGEMENT EDITOR Maria Dossett [firstname.lastname@example.org] SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR Maria Dossett [email@example.com] STREET TEAM McKenzie Eskridge [firstname.lastname@example.org] Kevin Carey [email@example.com] Frank Batten [firstname.lastname@example.org] BUSINESS TEAM Cason Walden [email@example.com] Tristain Tapia [firstname.lastname@example.org] BUSINESS ADVISORS Ashley Hempfling [email@example.com] ADVISOR Michele Day [firstname.lastname@example.org]
WHAT TO DO Escape the white-walled prison of your dormitory—check out these events on campus and in Greater Cincinnati. You deserve it.
ANGELS IN AMERICA (7:30 P.M.)
NKU’s theatre program opens its spring production season with Angels in America, a politically-charged play that navigates the AIDS epidemic in the mid-’80s through the lens of two relationships. Need a last-minute Valentine’s date idea? Bring a loved one. Dateless? Bring yourself and enjoy the magic of theatre!
HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP AND CONSENT VALENTINES: (12-2 P.M.)
Forgo the mushy cards this year in favor of expressions of respect for those you care about. Visit the Norse Violence Prevention Center’s booth in the Student Union’s 2nd Floor to grab some consent-themed Valentines.
LOCH NORSE OPEN MIC NIGHT (6:30 P.M.)
Whether you’re a budding novelist, experienced poet or a complete beginner, the Loch Norse Open Mic Night is a safe and fun way to present written work to your peers. Sign-ups to read are available on site at the Highlander Event Center on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants may read up to three pages (double-spaced) of fiction/non-fiction or up to three poems.
u n i v e r s i t y
wo suspects are at large after a robbery in Lot U near University Suites. University Police say a victim reported being threatened by an unseen weapon after the suspects gave them fake cash for two pairs of shoes. In a campus-wide timely warning email, University Police identified one of the suspects as Jacob Michael Toadvine. The identity of the second suspect is unknown. A victim said he arranged to sell two pairs of shoes to Toadvine and the unknown suspect. After the victim refused to get in the
suspects’ car, Toadvine gave him an envelope filled with fake cash. “The victim states the second suspect then lifted his shirt and motioned towards his waistband implying that he was armed – though no weapon was shown,” according to the timely warning. The suspects drove away in a black Chevrolet Blazer. Toadvine is described as 6’3”, 180 pounds, 21 years old. The unknown suspect is described as 6’3”, 200 pounds. Anyone with information on the incident or the suspects is encouraged to call University Police at 859-572-5500.
OFF TO THE RACES: first student body president candidates announced on Twitter Sam Rosenstiel NEWS EDITOR
wo sets of candidates announced their run for student body president and vice president on Monday. Hannah Edelen and Taylor Gagné took to Twitter Monday morning to declare their run for Student Government Association’s top spot. Edelen, SGA’s secretary of public relations and a junior communications and economics major, is running with Matt Frey, a junior economics major and president of NKU’s Vertical Frontier Climbing Club. Edelen and Frey said in a statement they will focus on “furthering student worldliness and diversity education, pushing for the development of a greek facility, urging the university to provide accessible printing in each building on campus as well as implementing a dead week before finals.” Gagné, SGA’s chief of staff and senior accounting and sports
business major, is running with Caleb Tiller, a junior sociology major and president of Norse Leadership Society. Gagné ran in 2017 with presidential candidate Kaitlyn Schaefer, collecting 35 percent of the vote behind current president Sami Dada and vice president Erica Bluford. According to a campaign statement, Gagné and Tiller will focus on transparency, or “breaking down walls,” as well as focusing on student wellness. “We want to open the doors of decision making to the students. Our mission is to get students truly involved in their future for the first time in a long time,” the statement said. SGA’s spring election will be March 28-29. Students will be able to cast their votes on OrgSync. Candidates for SGA president and vice president can sign up until March 21.
FURTHER DETAILS Entire content is copyright of The Northerner and may not be reprinted without prior consent. Views expressed do not represent those of the administration, faculty or student body. The Northerner is considered a designated public forum. Student editors have authority to make all content decisions without censorship or advance approval. The Northerner staff respects the right to a free and open dialogue as allowed under the First Amendment.
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Self-care: taking time to do Dada, what you love Bluford Ed 61, Issue 6
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w i n S G A T presidential election Maria Dossett
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
hree students. Three different pathways to self-love. Here are their stories.
Stephanie Hernandez-Helton went to her first yoga class in the seventh grade. Motivated to find a healthy escape from the stressors of home, she went with her friend to try it out. She instantly fell in love with the activity, and soon it became a daily practice. Hernandez-Helton spent her time watching yoga videos online since she couldn’t get to another studio. By the time she was an adult, yoga went from being a hobby to a way of life. She took classes to become a teacher and soon taught classes at the Campus Recreation Center. Today, yoga is still a way to escape from the stresses of home, finances and balancing being a student while working. “I think that materialistic things like that can really weigh on you, and when they do it builds up in negative ways that need to be released in positive ways,” Hernandez-Helton said. Yoga is not the only way that HernandezHelton takes care of herself, however. The biggest part of her practice is taking time away from everything and everyone. She said she recharges by taking time for herself in a
quiet and personal space. She’ll either spend this time in her room reading, or even just sitting in the park or library observing the world around her. “Instead of thinking internally of what’s going on in my head I like to externally bring my thoughts out and focus on things around me rather than how I’m feeling inside, just to release and give myself a break,” HernandezHelton said. The biggest changes Hernandez-Helton noticed in her life are the changes in her mood. Before, she wouldn’t notice how negative her mood could be unless someone mentioned it to her. Making sure she takes time for herself has positively impacted her interactions, and made her a “more patient, kind and considerate” person. HernandezHelton also noticed that, whether they mean to or not, more people end up focusing on their own self-care the more she does it for herself. As far as helping others with their own self-care, Hernandez-Helton said there’s really no specific answer and there doesn’t necessarily need to be. The “answer” should
be apparent, and feel comfortable. She does, however, advise her students to practice breathing exercises, which calm the nerves and lowers the heart rate to clear one’s mind. Hernandez-Helton said that self-care isn’t just mental but physical as well, which is why she prompts people to try out different activities. “In order to be completely at peace with yourself and happy, you need your body to be one with your mind,” HernandezHelton said. Hernandez-Helton said that even with a relaxed mind, you still feel the effects of unhealthy eating or other habits. She wants people to take care of themselves the best way they can, which means involving both sides of health.
ALL ILLUSTRATIONS BY: MO HERBE @ODDLILME
Jacob Koors’ biggest source of stress comes from some rough planning as an underclassman. A senior economics and mathematics major in this last stretch of school, he spends his time studying all upperlevel classes. No gen-eds, no breaks. “The classes have just become very difficult, and then I’m also trying to get internships during the semester and it’s a lot,” Koors said. He mentioned that self-care is important to him because of the impact it has not only on him, but on those around him. “When you’re bogged down by so many stressors, you get a kind of negative energy around you and people will take off of that
and feel the negative energy,” Koors said. To give himself a break from the anxieties of finishing college, Koors’ focus for self-care is on making things as healthy as possible for himself; like eating healthy and participating in healthy activities such as yoga. In creating a healthy environment, Koors notices how much happier his day-to-day experiences have been. The time he takes for himself and the small changes he makes every day have had an impact on the people he encounters. “It makes interactions so much more meaningful and better,” Koors said. When finding the right routine for yourself,
he said it needs to be something that relaxes you the most and makes you happiest. “It’s very difficult to try to find the things that keep you calm and help you, but when you find them try to stick with them and try to practice them,” Koors said. Even though some practices can take extra effort, Koors encourages others to make themselves a priority because in the end it “changes your life significantly.”
(Profiles continued on page 8)
04 Arts & Life
For survivors of sexual assault, NVP provides spa
PHOTO BY EMERSON S
Gabby Dralle, director of NVP, speaks to a student in her office.
Mackenzie Manley EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
he contents of Gabby Dralle’s office: a “tranquility” jar marked with the words “let it go” sits by her desktop, filled with purple liquid that shimmers as you move it. To the left, a lilac dream catcher hangs on the wall, flanked by newspaper clippings and posters. Beside a pile of consent-themed Valentines and buttons sits a cactus in a DIY painted pot. Each item is a product of NVP’s self-care craft series, which Dralle, director of the Norse Violence Prevention center, says is open to anyone, not only the students who seek their office for resources. “For anyone, self care is important. It’s our job to take care of ourselves and make sure our cup is filled, because if we’re not taking care of ourselves we can’t give—we can’t give to our academics, to our jobs or the people in our life,” Dralle said. “We really do need to make it a priority to take care of ourselves and infuse that in anyway that we can.” For survivors of sexual assault, Dralle noted that this process is especially important. She always tells survivors that though someone did something terrible to them, their self worth and belonging is within and is not to be negotiated by anyone. Her office space echoes this belief, not only in the aforementioned items marked with reassuring and validating sayings (“You are not alone. No one is alone.”), but also in touches of personal sentiment. A photo of her small family sits on her desk. On a whiteboard is an even smaller outline of her child’s foot.
“For me, I’ve always been very clear about how who I am and I never negotiate that with anyone,” Dralle said. “I think for survivors they can really get that sense of self and belonging back in their heart and in their lives.” For survivors, the process of bringing that sense of belonging back into their lives is a journey, a concept Dralle says NVP’s events are meant to be a part of. Every person’s journey is different, as Dralle points out, as well as Alex Vest, a double major history and sociology senior. As a member of fraternal organization Sigma Phi Epsilon, Vest has organized the “Live Your Oath” campaign since it began in Spring 2016. The campaign works two-fold: it creates social media awareness with a blended component of advocacy. This year’s event will take place in mid-April, when students from organizations will hold up homemade signs, taking an oath to stand against sexual assault. The timing intentionally falls during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, where Vest says the second half of the campaign comes in; alongside drawing awareness toward the issue, his fraternity also advocates for NVP and encourages students to attend their events. The first year he worked on “Live Your Oath,” he estimated that about 22 percent of Greek life participated. Within the year, the event saw a 10 percent increase. This year, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, he hopes to see about half of Greek life (and
beyond) join. For Vest, the campaign also takes on personal meanin During his first semester of college, he experience assault. This came before he joined Sigma Epsilon, w created relationships that ultimately allowed him to f comfortable. “It was really that network with Sig Ep that mad comfortable to be an advocate and an encourager of and have a network for people,” Vest said. That same network is what pushed Allison Kumar coordinator at NVP and a senior communications m work within the organization and inspire her to purs similar to Dralle’s post-graduation; during her first ret Theta Phi Alpha she was surprised by how many wom about being sexually assaulted. “I knew a few things. I knew that this is a huge prob does not need to continue, and that there needs to be support system for [survivors],” Kumar said. “I hope day there is a better environment in which people feel can come forward without being questioned or ridicule Sitting at a desk outside the office, Kumar crafted valentines and bulletin boards for Resident Assistan been an RA herself for three years). This is the work s It’s work, she said, that feels like it means something. Dralle shared the sentiment. Some students who u office come every day, while others stop by on a week
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There are no session limits, and Dralle’s door is always open, even if a student simply needs a comfortable and safe space to eat. Kumar places a hand over her heart, saying that for anyone-but especially survivors of any power-based violence--waking up every morning and knowing your worth is vital. “Whatever happened to you is not a result of your life or not a result of the way you’re acting. It’s really about someone else and the problems they need to work through,” Kumar said. “Being able to feel comfortable in your own skin and getting back to that is important. Once you realize that it’s not about you, it’s about them that’s a good stepping stone to move on from that.” Throughout her time serving NKU, Dralle has met with freshmen because of traumatic experiences, and worked with them during those four years to get through the situation and ultimately graduate. Seeing that process, Dralle said with a smile, is the most rewarding parts of her job. Last fall semester, not necessarily because more students are getting hurt by violence, but because of growing awareness of the office, Dralle said NVP has served more students seeking their services than ever before. “Helping the survivors is what fuels me and this work,” Dralle said. She also realizes that the same process doesn’t work for every student, including the reach for self-love. “Especially for a survivor, we can work with them gradually and at their own pace, with what they’re willing to do and when they’re willing to do it. We never force anything on anybody. We try to meet them where they’re at.” Self-love is like practicing an instrument. Dralle’s constant motto is to lean into the discomfort; on the other side of that discomfort is everything you need. Ultimately, surrounding yourself with a positive network and good people is the key ingredient to practicing that instrument. As a male survivor, Vest said it’s been hard to speak about his experience. “Just knowing that there are other people that don’t necessarily know you, but realize that what happened to you is not acceptable is an empowering feeling,” he said. “I think that the Greek community could be seen as a network of love for those that have experienced sexual assault and I know that there are people who are taking a stand against sexual assault on college campuses.” Within NKU, Kumar finds that there are a lot of good people who put others first, but sometimes she said you have to take a step back and take care of yourself first. For her, she finds self care through going to the gym and taking care of her body. For Dralle, she said being aware of her priorities, like family, and putting them first and foremost keeps her positive. Vest found empowerment through opening up and speaking about his situation, to make a negative situation a more positive one. “If you look in the world for signs that you’re not enough, you’re going to find it. If you look in the world for signs that you are not good enough, you’re going to find it. So, it’s really important to not let other negotiate [your worth].” The NVP Center is located on the third floor in SU 304 with hours Monday-Friday from 8:15 a.m. -4:30 p.m. They can also be reached through email@example.com. The next self-care event in the office’s series will take place on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. (these events are generally cut off at 5-15 people, so the group can have meaningful conversation).
PHOTO BY EMERSON SWAGER
The office has no session limits.
PHOTO BY EMERSON SWAGER
February is consent month at Norse Violence Prevention.
WHAT IS NVP? Norse Violence Prevention Center provides a safe space for students who have experienced any power-based personal violence, including sexual assault, partner violence and stalking while promoting student-centered advocacy.
PHOTO BY EMERSON SWAGER
A ‘tranquility jar.”
06 Arts & Life
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
In Madagascar, caring is a community affair Natalie Hamren ASST. NEWS EDITOR
he act of caring for yourself, or self-care, varies from culture to culture. People all across the world demonstrate care for themselves based on their needs or the needs of their larger community. According to Dr. Douglas Hume, department chair of sociology, anthropology and philosophy, the Malagasy— or people native to Madagascar—care for others in the community and, in turn, find that they are able to care for themselves. Initially, Hume conducted research for his dissertation at the University of Connecticut, and then visited Madagascar three times after; his trips spanned between seven weeks all the way to six months. While there, Hume conducted research for
an alternative approach to farming: terrace farming. “They’ve hit a point where the arable land-they’re having to go back to it too fast and it’s not fertile anymore; they can’t grow enough food…,” Hume said. “They’re trying to do it on their own, trying to get some money. It’s really difficult and slow.” Elements of self care are completely different in Madagascar than in the United States, he said. “(In America) if you need money, you whip out a credit-card. If you lose your job, you go get unemployment insurance,” Hume said. “In these communities, none of that exists.” In Madagascar, if you need money or food, natives seek out a friend or family member,
PHOTO BY EMERSON SWAGER
Dr. Hume in is office, which is decorated with several tapestries from places of his research.
according to Hume. “We have welfare, insurance, banks and all these other kinds of stuff that handle that. We don’t rely on family as much,” Hume said. “Maybe some of our close family—moms, dads, brothers, sisters—but going to your uncle to ask for money, that’s really awkward and weird. We wouldn’t do that, but there it’s normal,” said Hume. While studying French in Paris, Hume recalled a time where the Malagasy manager of the dorm he was living in visited a family member and was turned away. “He went over to visit him, unannounced. He knocked on the door and the family said ‘Oh, we’re having dinner and we didn’t know you were coming, so you’ll have to come back later.’ And he was pissed. He’s like ‘Oh my god. They’ve totally become French—or European.” In Madagascar, Hume noted that if you were to show up at someone’s house hungry, they would give you food and let you in. “I think, the self-care thing there is conceptualized differently because they have
a different sense of connection with the rest of the community that it’s not all on you,” Hume said. The culture is more sociocentric than egocentric, he explained. “It’s more about the group than the individual,” Hume said. “They don’t necessarily think of them caring for themselves, but care from the community that results in care for themselves.” The culture is based on friendships and relationships, and mostly everyone knows each other, Hume added. “The community that I work in, the main village, has 70 adults in it. Everybody knows each other. A lot of them are related to each other, so you know people,” Hume said. When walking around on NKU’s campus, Hume said you might not see anyone you know. But in Madagascar, it’s more community-oriented; with that comes a different mentality. “I think, part of that idea of self-care is different there, that it’s more communitybased,” Hume said. ADVERTISEMENTS
PHOTO PROVIDED BY DOUGLAS HUME
Dr. Hume with his research assistants in Mahatsara, Madagascar in Summer 2012.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY DOUGLAS HUME
Dr. Hume with seminary students in Antananrivo, Madagascar.
Ed 61, Issue 6
EDITORIAL: Liking yourself is rebellious in a consumer culture
ILLUSTRATION BY MO HERBE
Consumerism sells self-loathing, saya McKenzie Eskridge.
McKenzie Eskridge REPORTER
onsumer culture: you’ll never be enough. The road to American consumerism has been a slow build, but the core reason you’ll never feel satisfied with your appearances or confident in your ambitions is quite simple: self-esteem is not good for economic growth. We buy when we feel insecure and worried about personal anxieties. It’s human nature to want to belong, but advertisers remind us on average 5,000 times a day that we are not authentic, complete, beautiful, interesting or lovable without whatever they’re selling. But how would we think and treat each other (and treat ourselves) if town hall meetings were blasted through the radio and “promoted” on social media every day? Or 5,000 pieces of thought-provoking art crossed our line of vision daily? It’s important to note that it’s not just these intrusive, unsolicited ads in newspapers, TVs, billboards, magazines, bus stops, schools, race cars, social media and other places businesses are using to reinforce our identity as consumers with the “freedom to buy.” It’s also in our films, our language and even how we celebrate holidays. We might be against food security programs and mandated living wages, but no one has the audacity to criticize charities that request toys for low-income kids’ Christmas trees. Despite having too much
stuff to go around, consumer culture has not proven kind to economic inequality. Or the environment. Or anything other than stockholder wealth. Not to let powerful leaders off the hook, but a recurring moment of clarity throughout this project and others taken on in sociological studies is that systems work the way they are designed. How did we wind up with this one? Spanish, French and Dutch colonizers sailed to America ready to exploit land and labor in search of riches, but Puritans and Quakers actually fled England in pursuit of the simple life. Conspicuous displays and pursuits of wealth were forbidden in Massachusetts Bay Colony and Pennsylvania. Considering the potential of mass production to create more leisure time, the Industrial Revolution was not meant to mess with these cultural norms. Because of the exploitative principles of capitalism, however, factory hours ran long, but laborers worked just enough to subsist. They knew that true wealth was time for self-chosen activities. And although wealthy Americans began to proudly display their fortunes near the dawn of the 20th century, “Affluenza: How Overconsumption is Killing Us--and How to Fight Back” authors noted, “organized labor had not yet then accepted the definition of the good life as the goods life…demand for
shorter hours topped labor’s agenda.” Industrial leaders had to create demand for mass production by gradually making consumption a way of life. The Great Depression and World War II slowed the path to American consumerism, but with expanded credit, generous government loans, urban sprawl, extended shopping hours, and an increasing amount of department stores, the beast was unleashed; all things disposable were embraced.
(Story continued on page 8)
THINGS TO DO OTHER THAN BUYING STUFF: NKU Yoga classes (great tool for practicing gratitude and learning to be present), joining NKU Hiking Club (nature has magic/scientific healing powers that calm us down), enroll in a media literacy course (and learn way more than I could relay in on article), host a potluck dinner (historically, meals are meant to be shared), take a walk around the rec center track (walks boost creativity, for real), looking up un-commercials on Adbusters, or visiting https://www.newamerica.org.
08 Arts & Life
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Editorial: Consumer culture
(story continued from page 7)
Postwar, the faster producers could get customers to throw stuff away, the deeper industrial giants’ pockets stretched. Even if products were not “designed for the dump,” advertisers bet their paychecks they could embarrass us for wearing the same outfit twice or driving last year’s Ford model. Anybody who was anybody kept up with the trends. Hence, our current social organization around mass production and consumption. An environment where people seek both emotional and social needs through shopping. Our houses may be bigger than ever, but they are filled with less satisfied people (when they are filled at all). Despite steady technological breakthroughs in productivity, the average American work week has risen, cutting time engaged in social relationships. Americans’ happiest year on record is 1957. Tim Kasser, professor of psychology at Knox College and author of The High Price of Materialism, has studied this topic extensively and consistently finds that the more people value materialistic aspirations (a high salary, lots of stuff, fame) the greater their chance of experiencing depression, anxiety and substance abuse. It’s worth noting that suicide is the second-
leading cause of death among individuals age 1534 in the United States and that Kentucky is at the height of an opioid crisis. Something has to give, but we must remember systems work the way they are designed. Real change comes from rewriting the rules. Gross domestic product seems to be the only indicator we rate political leaders on these days. GDP grows when car accidents happen, or when oil spills. Pharmaceutical company stockholders benefit every time a doctor writes a prescription for antidepressants. Blindly celebrating “development” rather than tracking which sectors are expanding is irresponsible. Small groups of makers and shakers have opted out of the “keeping up with the Joneses” rat race to focus on what Aristotle, Jesus, and social scientists all agree are the important things in life: service to others, relationships with friends and family, connection with nature, and work of intrinsic moral value. It will take more than a village to redesign this system of blind and obsessive consumption, but let this be permission to enjoy your life. Validation to discover that you are enough without trendy products. Self-love is not selfish; its protection in a culture that profits from your fear.
PHOTO BY ADBUSTERS
Adbusters is a network of artists seeking to transform culture.
Faces of self-love Toulaye Ba
(profile continued from page 3)
Toulaye Ba’s guide to self-care is straightforward: “Netflix and music.” “My favorite TV show is The Office because it’s so simple. There’s no mystery. I can just sit there and watch it,” Ba said. As a senior economics major preparing for law school, Ba has had her fair share of stresses: classwork, studying for the LSAT, the costs of applying to law school and a job-- just to name a few. Balancing these responsibilities have pushed her to make self-care more of a priority. Generally, self-care is any human action that is deliberate and self-initiated. Self-care is meant to help people enhance and maintain their health and wellbeing. For Ba, this usually entails relaxing to her favorite series. While The Office is her favorite show, Ba said that she’ll watch anything, like How to Get Away With Murder or Stranger Things; anything that helps her relax from work or school. To mix things up, she occasionally fits in Youtube makeup tutorial videos or TV show theory vids. Regularly practicing self-care has not only helped Ba with daily stress, but has helped her alleviate pressures she used to place on herself. Not only did she expect perfection from herself, but she also held high expectations for everyone around her. Part of Ba’s practice is reminding herself that not everyone can be at 100 percent all the time, especially her. She also shared how self-care has helped her to recover from past struggles. She said she used to have an eating disorder, and with school and perfectionism she said she can get back into that mindset where she thinks ‘You have so many things to do; you are not being your utmost best. Maybe, if you stop eating for today, maybe it’ll be fine.’ “I know how dangerous that can be so I have to stop it right in its
tracks and say ‘Okay, put everything down, reassess what’s going on right now, and then continue,’” Ba said. Since making these changes in her life, Ba said she has noticed how much more positive her interactions with other people are. She has improved in avoiding the impulse to project her insecurities outward, appreciating that everyone is different in their goals and actions. Ba said that finding a self-care practice that works for you comes from something you love doing (and isn’t school or work related). “Find something you’re passionate about and that you know you can indulge yourself in once and a while without it becoming a crutch,” Ba said, adding that you can’t run yourself dry on one thing, because you could lose yourself further in doing so. Self-care allows individuals time to figure out who we are, she said. It also allows us to realize and appreciate how different everyone is. In seeing these differences, she said that we can then understand how everyone is good in their own unique way. “Trying to figure out what makes you different and owning that and embracing that is very hard but as soon as you get to that place, life just becomes so much easier,” Ba said. Ba defined self-care as finding balance between work and rest: “Be Leslie Knope and be Jim Halpert, together as one.”
ILLUSTRATION BY MO HERBE
The Northerner | Ed 61 Issue 6