And self-care is really tricky for me, because I don’t believe in the self in the way that people determine it here in this capitalist society that we live in. I don’t believe in self-care, I believe in collective care, collectivizing our care, and thinking more about how we can help each other. How can we collectivize the care of children so that more people can feel like they can actually have their kids but also live in the world and contribute and participate in various different kinds of ways? How do we do that? How do we collectivize care so that when we’re sick and we’re not feeling ourselves, we’ve got a crew of people that are not just our prayer warriors, but our action warriors who are thinking through with us? Like, I’m not just going to be able to cook this week, and you have a whole bunch of folks there, who are just putting a list together for you and bringing the food every day that week and you’re doing the same for your community, too.

I want that as the focus of how I do things and that really comes from the fact that I grew up the daughter of returned migrants, African-returned migrants. I don’t see the world the way that people do here, I just don’t. I don’t agree with it, I think capitalism is actually continuously alienating us from each other, but also even from ourselves and I just don’t subscribe. And for me, it’s too much with, “Yeah I’m going to go do yoga and then, I’m going to go and do some sit-ups and maybe I’ll like, you know, go to…” You don’t have to go anywhere to care for yourself.

You can just care for yourself and your community in tandem and that can actually be much more healthy for you, by the way. Because all this internalized, internal reflection is not good for people. You have to be able to have… Yes, think about yourself, reflect on your practice, okay, but then you need to test it in the world, you’ve got to be with people. So, that’s important. And I hate people! So, I say that as somebody who actually is really anti-social… I don’t want to socialize in that kind of way but I do want to be social with other folks as it relates to collectivizing care.

Mariame Kaba

Mariame Kaba on Collective Care