Monthly Resource Collection May 2021

My newest obsession (aside from quitting coffee- which is going amazing by the way) is learning about how beauty, health, and wellness spaces have been colonized and therefore systematically made inaccessible to many people because of varying identities. I’ve been seriously studying this topic because it inherently intersects with just about every “ism.”

As a beauty professional (but also just as a human committed to social change) I believe it is so important I make the effort to understand how beauty, health and wellness practices have been stolen and appropriated from different cultures and religions, but also how these sectors of business have been whitewashed and healing has been constructed as a privilege for the few. These practices have very real and dangerous ripple effects on the mental and physical health of our society, affecting some much more than others.

Currently I feel like I’m constructing my own college semester (or several semesters) consisting of books, podcasts, webinars, documentaries, and articles created by BIPOC, people of various body sizes and shapes, disabled folks, and LGBTQIAA+ folks to try to learn from those who have not been placed conveniently in the front and center of the behemoth which is our current beauty, health and wellness industrial complex.

I’ve been on my fitness, health and wellness journey for years, focusing on the physical components. As I transition into a me that still loves moving my body, but is much more focused at this time on working on my mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness I think it is imperative to seek out a wide range of perspectives as teachers. People who specifically consider and recognize intersectionality and social systems as inextricably entwined with our healing and wellness. Individually, and as a collective. Healers who understand the implications these systems have on physical bodies.

If you were to look at my home library, I’d like to think the diversity of voices there is great. But when I started looking at the wellness / self improvement section of my collection, the majority are written by cisgender, non-disabled, White women, with some cisgender, non-disabled White men sprinkled in there. I didn’t have ONE book on business, self improvement, fitness or veganism written by a Mexican (my other half). What a disgrace.

Instead of feeling disempowered or guilty, I instantly saw a huge blind spot in my learning and turned it into an opportunity for change and growth, that hopefully I can share with you. There are so many more amazing authors, teachers, badass fitness instructors, vegans, and holistic health practitioners that want to share their gifts with us. Unfortunately, it takes more than diversifying our social media accounts to find many of them. It takes effort. Research. Time and energy. It takes paying them for their services if you are able. Until one day when finding a Latina business coach with a emphasis on holistic wellness from an intersectional perspective becomes as easy as finding a White woman on social media, eager to help you lose weight.

These are the resources I found particularly enlightening this month, but there are many more coming.

Books:

The Body Is Not An Apology, Sonya Renee Taylor

Every. One. With. A. Body: READ THIS BOOK! I received it with my monthly subscription to http://www.feministbookclub.com and oh my, did it deliver. Taylor posits that in order to dismantle systems of oppression we must learn to practice “radical self-love.” This is different than self-acceptance, confidence, or even self esteem, which she argues are not “scalable,” but restricted to the individual. When we work to unlearn and dismantle the systems that have taught us not to love our own bodies this will translate into empathy for bodies different than our own, and ultimately help to create a world where hate and terrorism against bodies will no longer be acceptable or common practice.

When we speak of the ills of the world – violence, poverty, injustice – we are not speaking conceptually; we are talking about things that happen to bodies… Racism, sexism, ableism, homo-and transphobia, ageism, fatphobia are algorithms created by humans’ struggle to make peace with the body. A radical self-love world is a world free from the systems of oppression that make it difficult and sometimes deadly to live in our bodies.”

Check out Sonya Taylor: https://www.sonyareneetaylor.com

Vibrate Higher Daily, Lalah Delia

Lalah Delia is a “spiritual writer, wellness educator, and certified spiritual practitioner.” She is such a light in the world and I am so glad I am learning from her! This book is an overview of her concept of “vibrating higher daily” which is essentially a way of existing in the world in a positive and enlightened way that draws you closer to your purpose, the collective, and the “divine” in order to use your gifts to create a better world.

Lalah Delia also teaches amazing webinars on everything from energy cleansing to divine timing. I signed up for her monthly subscription at https://www.vibratehigherdaily.com and I have been extremely happy with the amount and quality of content available for the $22 / month. I highly recommend!

Podcasts:

Shine Brighter Together Podcast with Monique Melton
Season 3, Episode 29: “Do Better w Rachel Ricketts”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/shine-brighter-together/id1464945623?i=1000518800938

Latino USA
5/21/21: “Masks Off With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/latino-usa/id79681317?i=1000522634422

No Meat Athlete Radio
5/13/21: “NMA Chats: On Being a Vegan Activist in the Black Community with Jasmine C. Leyva”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/no-meat-athlete-radio/id476196931?i=1000521580114

Get Loved Up with Koya Webb
Season 2, Episode 47: “11 Rituals to Raise Your Vibration”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/get-loved-up-with-koya-webb/id1455677259?i=1000470869132

Black Girl in Om Podcast
12/17/29 59. #55. “Creating Space To Expand: A Live Conversation with Rachel Cargle”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/black-girl-in-om/id1117951237?i=1000459859296

Real Food Reads Podcast
Episode 22: “Decolonize Your Diet: Luz Calvo and Catriona R. Esquibel

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/real-food-media/id1215522970?i=1000414763700

Movies:

Seaspiracy

This documentary focuses on the environmental impact of fishing, but also touches on the human rights violations perpetuated by a highly unregulated global industry.

Monthly Resource Collection: April 2021

I haven’t felt creative lately. I’ve had little motivation to write or explore new topics, and my attention span seems to have shrunk substantially. January and February I felt like myself. March and April have been harder to navigate. Creativity and my desire to learn ebb and flow, and I’m trying to remember that. Every time I stray from my routines and rituals I feel like I spiral away from the things that truly ground me, like writing. Like reading and learning – sharing what I’ve found with you.

The good news is that I’m working on it. I think that this world is beautiful, but full of dark things. For those of us that recognize it is in fact our individual responsibility to help make the world a more equitable place for everyone, the task is daunting. But underlying our criticism and incessant desire for change, is hope. The belief that the future can and will be better.

Living my life consciously on this level can be mentally and emotionally draining, and without proper introspection, reflection, and care for myself the fight for what’s better becomes destructive. I start to burnout and become ineffective and unhappy. No one can fight all the time.

How do I practice self care in ways that are genuine and kind? What exactly is self care and how do I redefine it to be inclusive and align with my values? Why has the health and wellness community become so toxic and how can my own practices help to change that? Who has access to self care and who has been systematically or intentionally excluded from the health and wellness conversation? How do we resist while resting? Is it manifestation or is it my privilege?

Currently these are the questions I’m trying to answer. As part of the “self care” and “health and wellness” communities, but also just as a person. I want to identify the inherently problematic nature of the popular self care community and actively construct a practice that is aware and looking to change that. So we can keep doing the work.

Until then, enjoy the few resources I was able to make it through this month. Next month I hope to have more than ever to share as I delve into this big topic.

Books:

Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America, Maria Hinojosa

As a Mexican / American woman with a journalism degree, I LOVED reading Maria Hinojosa’s memoir. Hinojosa was born in Mexico City and moved to Chicago with her parents in 1962. She is the anchor and executive producer for NPR’s Latino USA, and has does extensive reporting with a focus on Latinx issues for PBS, CNN, and CBS. This wonderfully written account of her life (so far) critically examines what it takes to “succeed” in a media career where Latinx and female-identifying individuals are vastly underrepresented, and where the stories of people from similar backgrounds are also consequently ignored or invisibilized. Her feminist and intersectional approach to journalism and storytelling is refreshing and imminently relevant.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.

This book is literally for anyone and everyone who wants to better understand their own brain and body after experiencing any type of trauma, or who wants to better understand the trauma and behavior of others. Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. explains the physical, chemical changes the brain undergoes due to trauma and how this translates into behavior and physical ailments. Then gives practical solutions on how to move forward and heal.

Podcasts:

I listed to A TON of Code Switch by NPR this month. I will list the episodes I found particularly relevant and notable below.

On xenophobia, anti-Asian & Asian American hate, and racism:

-Episode 7/26/16 A Letter From Young Asian Americans, To Their Parents About Black Lives Matter https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/code-switch/id1112190608?i=1000373164987

-Episode 3/3/20 When Fear of the Coronavirus Turns into Racism and Xenophobia https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/code-switch/id1112190608?i=1000467407698

-Episode 3/23/21 Screams and Silence https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/code-switch/id1112190608?i=1000514178489

On the disparities Covid-19 has exposed:

Episode 4/6/21 Spit a Verse, Drop Some Knowledge https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/code-switch/id1112190608?i=1000516081462

-Episode 1/26/21 Stepping Out of the Shadow of ‘Killer King” https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/code-switch/id1112190608?i=1000506707487

-Episode 2/23/21 A Shot in the Dark https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/code-switch/id1112190608?i=1000510423251

On Reparations:

-Episode 2/2/21 Who’s ‘Black Enough’ For Reparations? https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/code-switch/id1112190608?i=1000507523031

-Episode 2/25/21 Payback’s A B**** https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/code-switch/id1112190608?i=1000510715382

Answering My Own Women in Business Questions: Part 3

The Things I Ask Everyone:

1) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

I already mentioned “you teach people how to treat you” in last week’s interview. So, I’ll share another incredibly influential piece of advice.

“Give yourself the emotional permission to create more time.”

Rory Vaden

For the first time in my life, someone had addressed the real issue with “time management.” As a new small business owner, soon-to-be wife, and someone who has varying personal interests, I had become tired of reading the same self-help, time management advice which essentially consists of: make lists, multi task, wake up earlier, and create a schedule. I was doing all those things and still felt like I could never find a free moment for myself, despite my efforts and discipline to make it work.

Am I the only woman who feels this way? Umm, no. These time management styles work for those of us without complex societal pressures to do everything, for everyone. And they absolutely do not address how to cope with the resulting guilt we feel when we can’t do everything, or simply don’t want to, and the pit of despair we tend to fall into once we beat ourselves up for “failing” at everything and letting everyone down, including ourselves.

Those books don’t even try to teach us how to deal with the constant exhaustion and (let’s face it) straight up fury we feel when we try to explain these concepts and are gaslit at every turn by those around us and society at large. “It’s 2021, sexism isn’t a thing anymore. Everyone is equal so you choose this for yourself. Other women have it way worse than you anyway. You’re overreacting. Stop being so emotional. Why is everything about being a woman? Why can’t you just be happy? Be grateful. If you don’t want to do all that stuff, just don’t do it. Or just stop complaining.” And the list goes on, and on, and on…our experiences invalidated, our frustration bottled back up at our own expense.

The problem is that lurking below the impossible weight of our never-ending to do lists is guilt and a sense of emotional obligation to do everything. Someone had finally named it. And once I wrapped my head around this concept and started detaching myself from that guilt, things slowly began improving. The solution to breaking this cycle is to recognize that the game is rigged, flip it two big middle fingers, and start working on your damn self.

However, I do want to mention that Vaden’s argument omits any type of gender theory (and all other identity politics for that matter) making his solutions overly simplistic at times. I plan to write an entire blog post on this topic, but until women can identify that we are conditioned by society to be what Emily and Amelia Nagoski in their book Burnout call “Human Givers” rather than human beings, we cannot even begin to unlearn this conditioning in order to change our behaviors.

The bottom line: Human Givers are taught (from the moment society genders us) to believe everyone else is entitled to our time and if we don’t give it, we’re bad people. Unpleasant, ungrateful, rude, selfish, lazy people. While human beings are taught (from the moment society genders them) to go out and conquer the world! No guilt necessary.

Give yourself the emotional permission to create more time. No one else will give it to you.

Vaden’s TED Talk: https://youtu.be/y2X7c9TUQJ8

2) What’s the biggest challenge and biggest reward of owning your own business?

The biggest challenge for me has been scaling my business to meet demand every time I outgrow my current model.

It’s easy to get comfortable and want things to stay the same once I find a rhythm, but that’s not how businesses grow. The universe has a way of forcing me to level up if I’m open to seeing opportunities and willing to put in the work to make them real. But every time I’ve had to do this I fall into what I call the “work hole” where I live and breathe my projects until they’re done, at the expense of everything else in my life. I’m working on that.

The biggest reward is participating in a community of women who believe that if we help each other, we will all succeed. That’s powerful.

3) What is one book that changed your life? Why?

Find A Way by Diana Nyad.

Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the assistance of a shark cage. She failed four other attempts, and succeeded on her fifth, when she was 64 years old. It took her 53 hours.

Basically she is one of the biggest badasses ever, and her ability to develop mental toughness and persistence in the face of so much adversity is amazing to read about. The logistics behind her story are fascinating, but her memoir changed my life because she’s an amazing writer (journalist by trade) and many of the principles she eloquently writes about apply to all aspects of life.

My favorite quote from Find A Way that has helped me through so many impossibly difficult times:

Take every minute, one at a time. Don’t be fooled by a perfect sea at any given moment. Accept and rise to whatever circumstance presents itself. Be in it full tilt, your best self. Summon your courage, your true grit. When the body fades, don’t let negative edges of despair creep in. Allowing negativity leads to a Pandora’s box syndrome. You can’t stop the doubts once you consent to let them seep into your tired, weakened brain. You must set your will. Set it now. Let nothing penetrate or cripple it.”