The most anti-capitalist protest is to care for another and to care for yourself. To take on the historically feminized and therefore invisible practice of nursing, nurturing, caring. To take seriously each other’s vulnerability and fragility and precarity, and to support it, honor it, empower it. To protect each other, to enact and practice community. A radical kinship, an interdependent sociality, a politics of care. Because, once we are all ill and confined to the bed, sharing our stories of therapies and comforts, forming support groups, bearing witness to each other’s tales of trauma, prioritizing the care and love of our sick, pained, expensive, sensitive, fantastic bodies, and there is no one left to go to work, perhaps then, finally, capitalism will screech to its much-needed, long-overdue, and motherfucking glorious halt.
| Johanna Hedva, Sick Woman Theory
The psychologist Carl Rogers, one of the founders of humanistic psychology, was known for differentiating between the “real” self and the “ideal” self. The real self, he believed, represented our true and inherent nature. Only when that self is out of sync with others’ expectations of us—our parents when we’re young and eventually our peers—do we develop an “ideal” self, i.e. the person we want to be or wish we were. Rogers believed that our perception of the gap between our real selves and ideal selves can measure our general wellbeing. When the gap is big, we experience what he called “incongruence,” a distressing state that can lead to a false and unsatisfying life. When the gap is small we experience “congruence,” and can thus live authentically and genuinely. This is just a clinical way of explaining something we take for obvious, but we tend to place a lot of emphasis on closing the gap by inching closer to our ideal selves, rather than simply changing our ideals. But of course we can do that, either by lowering our standards or, more interestingly, swapping out our standards completely.
Nature has taught me about fluid adaptability. About not only weathering storms, but using howling winds to spread seeds wide, torrential rains to nurture roots so they can grow deeper and stronger. Nature has taught me that a storm can be used to clear out branches that are dying, to let go of that which was keeping us from growing in new directions.
brown, adrienne maree (2017) Emergent Strategy.pdf
lack of self-awareness spreads trauma like wildfire
many of our “toxic” behaviors are trauma cycles and if we are unaware of this, we will repeat these patterns because they are all that we know (they are our definition of “safe”).
but awareness gives us more time to intervene. to create new patterns. (you can’t change what you can’t see). there is a step of reflection. ideally this step will come in between the trigger and our reaction; however, when beginning this work, the reflection might be after or during our reaction.
there is no right or wrong in healing from trauma. there is only trying. giving effort to break old cycles and implement new ones. to put a space between ourselves, our triggers, and our reactions. not a space of numbness, but a space of awareness, compassion, and patience.
a space to feel what was never allowed to be felt before. a space to dream up a new ending that has yet to play out in your personal reality.