Not Your Basic Wellness Bitch
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Last post I talked about whiteness and how its very existence creates a hierarchy. Whiteness tells us that we’re only worthy when we’re better than someone else, when we accomplish great things, when we’re attractive, etc. Hierarchical systems like whiteness and patriarchy set us up for scarcity (never being or having enough), needing to prove ourselves, looking over our shoulders and comparing ourselves. They rob us of our inherent worthiness.
I see that hierarchical thinking pervades the “wellness” industry and the ways popular culture is conceptualizing wellness. We’re told that there’s such a thing as “a clean diet.” We’re told that we need to regularly “rid our bodies of toxins.” It’s implied that people who “eat clean,” “detox,” and are able to afford the ever-growing and changing list of superfoods and antioxidants “required” to do so, are somehow morally superior to those who can’t or won’t. We’re shamed for not having the right body type, the right skin, the right energy level (read: unlimited). “Wellness” Instagram stars insinuate that we can have visible abs, a huge clean house, a perfect partner, a successful career, endless energy, and a “healthy glow” if we just stop doing x, y, z, and start doing a, b, c. That until we adopt the right kind of lifestyle, we’re less than. If we get sick, it’s our own fault. We haven’t been taking care of ourselves. We haven’t been keeping our vibes positive.
I used to buy into that kind of thinking, and I can see now that shame was the underlying motivator for my “health interventions.” I wanted to be beautiful and universally loved. I wanted to be clean and toxin-free and full of love and light and float away on a cloud of spiritual transcendence. The things I did to supposedly “take care of myself” were rooted in a place of self-loathing, an underlying belief that I wasn’t enough. I thought I had to exercise willpower and punish myself into being someone better. I was constantly in search of the magic bullet that would transform me. Maybe if I take this herb, maybe if I adopt this meal plan...
Today, I take care of myself from a place of respect and acceptance. I know that what some like to label “bad habits” are really just coping mechanisms, and in some cases they’re actually good medicine. I don’t judge myself or others for engaging in them. The binary of “clean” vs. “toxic” is an illusion, anything and everything can fall in either category depending on context.
I don’t make assumptions or blanket recommendations about a client’s lifestyle, I let them tell me what their goals are. If a client wants to make a change, we work on that together in a way that’s judgement-free.
If your skin is broken out, you’re not dirty or bad, you’re a human being living a human life. If you’re sick, it’s not because you deserve it. Coping mechanisms that may have once helped you survive could have contributed to that illness, and so could shit luck. You’re not morally inferior for struggling.
I see every single person as sacred, just the way they are. For me, the greatest healing has come from letting that belief seep into my bones. There’s nothing you have to do, or be. You’ve made it. You’re here. What a gorgeous miracle.
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