What if things were different? On Self-Care.

I’m reading a really, really good book right now: Who is Wellness For? by Fariha Roisin. She writes with a decolonial mindset, but was raised in Australia, lived in Canada for a while, lived in NYC and now lives in LA. This means that she has an international decoloniality to her. She is Muslim, South Asian by ethnicity.

A lot of the racial justice books I read are by people of color born and raised in the United States. They are eye-opening and inspiring and I will always read them. But this new addition, particularly of Roisin’s amazing writing style and vulnerability, has really deepened my appreciation for the internationality of the decolonial movement. It’s basically a rallying cry for solidarity with people of color around the world.

One thing that confuses me about the book, however, was why she writes from LA and not from South Asia if she wants to be decolonial. Why move to the States if you dislike them so much? But her book is about self-care and so maybe living a pampered writer’s lifestyle is something that, as a woman of color, she doesn’t feel should be deprived of her.

I know I have stopped getting massages and also stopped receiving life coaching, so I am not as indulgent in self-care and wellness as I have been in other years. Maybe the next step is to become a massage therapist and self-care-healer and to offer my services on a sliding scale for underprivileged populations, without taking a savior complex about it.

When I think about the international quality of Roisin’s fantastic book, and the exceptional research that drives it, I think about the function of education, both in the US and in the world. There is a tension there that needs unpacking, and yet I don’t know if someone like me is the one who should do the unpacking. It even felt weird to compare my lack of self-care from her self-care regimen. I think I need to listen, so I will keep reading my books on social justice from the margins, thinking internationally about it and not just nationally or locally.

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