But self-care is not a clean and happy procedure, it is not definitively achievable when systematically explored. To understand the scope of self-care we need to see the ‘dark side’ of the landscape, and destroy the versions of self-care that denounce our plurality. In this fight, the only outcome can be a recognition of experiences beyond the wellness narrative structured around the neoliberal agenda. This article is an attempt at foregrounding some aspects of self-care that decentralise the prevalent commodification of it.
Ageing vaginas in ageing female bodies are joked about. But a vagina shouldn’t have the task of pleasing anybody but itself first. To begin with, we’ll have to love and respect our vaginas in order to pleasure them. Love them just as they are. If they feel a little dry, don’t despair. Use a lubricant or a little coconut oil. If my labia are unshapely, they’re still my labia and respond very nicely to gentleness and tenderness. If I don’t love and respect my ageing body, in need of gentle, loving, patient care, then who will, for God’s sake?
My journal has many entries that are speculative and fantastic. Writing about the mundane leads me to question the way the world operates and from there I frog-leap into a world of ideas where I imagine a radically different way of being. In my journal, I imagine a politics of care, community, and compassion. I become grand, valuable, and unstoppable, even in a world where I am sometimes made to feel small.
Pandemics have a profound psychological impact. They are known to disrupt one’s sense of safety, security, certainty, control, concordance, and…
Inspired to collect photographs of women spending time by themselves and for themselves after a conversation with her mother’s friend, Surabhi Yadav began the project, Women at Leisure.
This thought-provoking, luminously illustrated The School of Life video reminds us of self-compassion being essential to building our own selves up, and being a safe space where we can extend the same love and imagination to our vulnerabilities, insecurities, fears, and doubts as we do to our friends.
While we are struggling with the vicissitudes brought on by the pandemic we are also forced to spend more time online, to look for resources in terms of health care or caregivers, to reach out to people and build a communities of care, to take a break, or to try and hook-up online for a while.
…even if people have little in common, once they enter these spaces of solidarity, they are connected to a larger community. These spaces become wellsprings of an unspoken sense of safety and mutual support between individuals of communities that share a sense of having been othered.
Ethics of Care offers a normative paradigm that goes beyond the neat distinctions of morally guided ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ actions to incorporate social responsibility, wherein we learn how to shape our responses on the basis of the needs of a community’s members.
To be a support system is to be a safe space for them where they can reflect upon, experiment with and understand themselves. A space where people not only come to terms with their individual selves, sexual or otherwise, but also where they become increasingly aware of their own rights.
Family, immediate and extended, is usually who you turn to. They are the ones who provide stress relief and reduce anxiety by boosting self-confidence and self-esteem and providing a protective shield. There is a sense of belongingness in good times and in bad.
In the middle of this pandemic, can one seek sexual support in the form of a hook up with one’s best friend, ‘just because’? Is it redefining boundaries, is it sympathy sex, is it simple indulgence, or is it something that one or both might later resent?
For a lot of queer people, ‘home’ can hold complicated meanings. The space of one’s home can be fraught with bigotry and alienation, and be far from safe or comforting. And so, there is a quest to find alternate ‘homes’, to find a space where we feel truly accepted, safe and protected.
My politics demanded an alignment with my life, and as my personal life choices were almost always against the norms of society, this was the default option. As one moved away and tried to make communities of choice, however, there were newer lessons to be learnt.
This stigma of caste, class and sexuality is a pervasive amalgamation of socio-cultural mindsets that take root and function in myriad complex ways, and paint working women in broad, sweeping, agency-less brush strokes.