By Cambria Herrera
Self care is the first line of protest. Systemic oppression is nothing new to queer people of color, but under the current political climate and after recent hate crimes in Oregon, my acts of protest have become more necessary and urgent to me than ever.
Self care is a relatively new concept for me. In my xicanx household, I was taught to honor God first, take care of family second—and taking care of myself was an unapproached subject.
In college, I finally faced my conditioned fears of stigma and went to a doctor for my anxiety disorder. I was prescribed Lexapro and therapy. I thought that would fix me, but three years, thousands of milligrams of Lexapro or Zoloft, and hundreds of fruitless therapy sessions later, I realized that western medicine had failed me, and I started my quest for self care resources. I was able to leave a job that was toxic to my mental health and began to focus full-time on healing. Below are six of my favorite, recently discovered resources.
This website provides online yoga and meditation classes exclusively led by female- or femme-identifying people of color. The “About” section of their website states, “Yoga is ultimately a personal journey, but it’s easier to get started in a space you feel safe with culturally-affirming teachers and resources. Yoga Green Book provides the space and resources.” I’ve found Yoga Green Book to be a life-giving safe space to begin my journey to physical health. Monthly membership costs $19, which can be canceled at any time, and there is a 30-day free trial to decide if it’s a good fit for you.
This xicana/brown/indigenous body-positive community based in Long Beach, California has been the breath of fresh air I needed in my social media timelines. 10 out of 10, I recommend following them on Instagram and Facebook to provide beautiful relief from the pictures that plant seeds of self doubt. Their mission is to uplift every body type, especially the brown and indigenous.
I never would have guessed it, but getting my first library card since childhood gave me a feeling of empowerment unlike anything else. I recommend giving yourself an hour to get to know your local library and get your own library card (free with proof of residence in the county). Or check out the library at In Other Words, Feminist Bookstore and Community Center on NE Killingsworth. Their library includes sections specific to feminist theory, health, LGBTQ issues, and many other relevant subjects. Added bonus: their staff are working to post specific trigger warnings on any of their books containing transphobic or homophobic language, especially on their older inventory.
This book was my starting point to researching what my body needs as a native to North America. Between colonization then and gentrification now, the diet of PoC in the United States is often vastly different than that of our ancestors. I encourage researching diets native to you or your ancestors’ region(s) of origin to explore how you can decolonize your diet.
5. Portland’s swimming holes
Perhaps Oregon’s most redeeming characteristic is that after months of perpetual winter, glorious summers always return. And with easily-searchable-online river banks, swimming holes, and hikes to waterfalls within Multnomah County and just beyond, there are plenty of opportunities to treat yourself to some free tlc in the water and sun.
6. An intersectional queer community
Some local organized communities include PDX Latinx Pride, PDX Brown Brunches, Pochas Radicales, and Sankofa Collective Northwest. But your community doesn’t have to be an organized group or event. As long as there are at least two like minded folx intentionally together for self-care with intersectionality in mind, you have your community!
Be well on your self care journey. May it be restful, rejuvenating, and restorative.