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Dear Reader, How do you take care of yourself in a world that tells you not to? How do you heal after trauma, revitalize yourself, and fight back? To answer these questions for ourselves, we wrote poems, we cooked recipes, we told stories, and we listened to each other. What we found through this process was that there is not just one way to heal. What we created is the community-sourced self-care zine you are holding now. Self-care is not lazy. Self-care is not passive. Self-care is not selfish. As Audre Lorde said, self-care “is selfpreservation and that is an act of political warfare.” It is claiming eight hours of sleep every night in a university setting that thrives on stress culture. It is prioritizing radical love and relationships in a space that pits us against each other. It is demanding agency in your healing process despite others’ attempts to trivialize your pain. We are expressing radical politics when we take care of ourselves. There is power in this. We hope this zine helps you find that power. With love and in solidarity, T H E S I R E N S C H E M E T EAM Amanda Kubic, Callie Wallace, Lisa Dzera & Liv Linn THE SIREN, SPRING 2016



sometimes I squeeze my elbows and press them in hard until they fit into the divots of my splintered, straining ribs sometimes I pour the water add a dash of sweet green salt and sit only to soak up the steam and silence sometimes I crack my knuckles again, and again, and again until all of the sore bones pop back into place sometimes I look at elephants holding on to their own tails and realize my loneliness doesn’t hurt like theirs sometimes I think about love mine, yours, theirs, ours until my heart is full of light and the sun rises up again






SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO: • 1/3 cup walnuts • 5 cloves garlic • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated • 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes • 4 tbsp olive oil (if you’re using sun-dried tomatoes that are jarred in oil, you’ll need about this much.  I recommend using the oil from the jar.  If you use the ones from an olive bar, they’ll be a bit drier, so you’ll need a little more oil.) Combine ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth.

RAW TOMATO AND GARLIC PESTO • 1 cup fresh basil leaves • 5 cloves garlic • 1/3 cup almonds • 2 small tomatoes • 1/2 cup parmesan • 1/4 cup olive oil Combine ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth. Depending on the size and water content of your tomatoes, you may need less olive oil. Consistency will probably depend on the size and water content of your tomatoes. Either way; ridonks awesome. Both recipes from BY MADDY SWEITZER-LAMME

WEEKDAY PASTA by Maddy Sweitzer-Lamme

When my mind can’t make sense of the world, my hands take over. Chopping onions, slowly. like making love to myself I am making love for myself. I feel worn. Like the left shoulder of my denim jacket from reaching out to hold the world. Steam blankets me, reaching from the boiling water to my damp face. Cheese grated Water stirred Wine poured Rhythmically. I eat, rhythmically. With words, Black pepper pasta and parmesan, I can heal myself.


HEALING ROOTS i was the one that always dipped my roots towards the path of sunlight or where there were the most nutrients but for what? the life to live while forcing myself to bend every iota of my chloroplasts and xylems to yield to the wishes of others and to be molded by nature’s society and i stopped then i treaded my own path the harsh winters belittled me when i did not follow the whim of others but through it all i grew to the horizon i cannot say that i somehow made it because i know that i only made it through not allowing my spirit to atrophy for a single moment




TRIGGER WARNING SEXUAL ASSAULT / RAPE In one night, I gained 140 pounds. The weight almost crippled and paralyzed me- but I hardly remember it happening. I couldn’t get up- its weight was crushing me. I finally made it out of bed the next day and looked in the mirror. It was as if I was a completely different person. I barely recognized myself. I felt heavier, all at once. I had to drag myself everywhere- throughout my room, throughout buildings, throughout campus. I wasn’t used to the extra weight. It was all over my body, no part untouched. My brain was telling my body to move, but there was a disconnect between them. A new obstacle would get in the way, for example, and my mind kept telling my body, “Move past it. Get over it.” but the weight stopped me. I started to dress more conservatively. I felt like I had to hide the weight. For the first two weeks, I couldn’t even get back into my lofted bed until I got the strength to do so. It had been so long, my bed felt completely different. Interestingly enough, no one else seemed to notice. They looked at me the same, but I felt so different. It’s strange, I heard it was normal- common, even. But no matter how common it is, people seem to ignore it. Is it really not that visible? I cried, a lot. I didn’t recognize my own body anymore. It wasn’t my body, it was the weight’s body. It controlled everything I did for the next few months. I can’t explain how heavy it was. As I’m slowly shedding the weight, I can’t help but to think what I did wrong for it to happen.





“Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest—thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated.” - Beau Taplin




Reasons to love your body It’s 10:32 PM and you’re running on a deadline that falls on midnight and that’s when the spark starts, the inspiration to create, driven by adrenaline, makes us all architects in worlds of our own design There is something infinite in knowing that we all die Something binding in the desire to endure, to never expire, while always reaching for what can’t be felt or held or kept some soul in a lump of bone and blood that we call home that we call body that we call church or prison So easily do we shit where we sleep that we forget that our fingertips hold the maps of the sky wrinkled constellations spell out everywhere that we’ve been all that we’ve done and all that we are destined to do Our third eye, despite all our blunders and acne scars, points North still Stardust leaves a milky trail behind us so even when we try to escape there is always a way back to ourselves Body a space boxed in by skeleton insides plastered over with posters and post-it reminders covered with beer-stains boarded up bedroom walls that we kicked through when we were five and didn’t want our fingernails cut This is not a manifesto for breaking things or fixing them It is the memory that we built the entire universe in Legos within the confines of a ribcage its embrace more empowering than anything that has ever held us We ought to love ourselves more

for we held everything that we ever loved and was loved and could be loved pinched between our tongues and our teeth every breath that billowed our lungs and made laughter possible coursed first through our magnificent and crooked bodies Our minds are expanding black holes stretched by goals and ambition We think up the design but our hands do the carving They are the tools God gave us, they are the forgers of steel, the physical manifestation of our mettle the tangible parts of us that make our daydreams see the light of day, so maybe we ought to respect our hands for the reaching they do daily We could use the forgiveness. For we are only nerves and sweat only fatally and majestically human and anyway there’s something beautiful in a body


“A woman of color’s self-love is political and radical, and it is unsettling for the status quo because she is choosing bravely to dismantle the narratives of racist aesthetics against her. So when people bully a girl of color for being content and satisfied with her appearance - a reality that is subjected to racist, sexist slurs in cosmetic industries - and when they tell her to be “humble” which is normative code for “Nah, you’re not special, you’re not light and delicate in a Eurocentric way” then she has every right to chew their hearts and spit them out. A non-white girl’s self-love is revolutionary and anyone trying to water it down needs to back right off.” -Mehreen Kasana

“self love is important because it molds us into a greater versions of ourselves. trust in your abilities to blossom.” - alex elle

There exists a power in the demonstration of the female body A beauty that resides in the movement of feminist politics So deeply engrained in the exactness of a tut—the structure of a split That it allows for dance to be manifested in all things woman There exists a power in the display of the female body A resilience that is transcribed in the curves of a woman So deeply engrained in the moving of a waist—an extension of the arm That it speaks to the music rather than being lost in it There exists a roughness in the presentation of the female body A hard juxtaposition that depicts a sweet-natured devil So deeply engrained in the hard plier of the legs—the jump of a breakdancer That it speaks to the destruction of estrogen by those who wish to silence it by Rimel N. Mwamba


UNC Siren Zine 2016: Self Care  

How do you take care of yourself in a world that tells you not to? How do you heal after trauma, revitalize yourself, and fight back? To a...

UNC Siren Zine 2016: Self Care  

How do you take care of yourself in a world that tells you not to? How do you heal after trauma, revitalize yourself, and fight back? To a...