Self-Care how To get started documenting your strategies.

Today we’re going to focus on starting to document how self-care works for us and look at some of the many methodologies to do it.

First, let’s talk about why this can be helpful. Documentation as we’re working with it can help a lot of folks. Especially:

  • Folks with memory problems.
  • Folks who for any reason, are unable or have difficulty maintaining schedules.
  • Folks who need to track things like but not limited to: medications, diet changes, health changes, periods, hormone changes, etc etc.
  • Folks who sometimes need help remembering how self-care impacts their lived lives on the daily.
  • You.
  • Me.
  • Probably not your cat.

For our purposes when I say documentation it is a wide open field. There are no requirements here. There are no absolutes, no ONE TWOO WAY. It might take fiddling, it might take telling your inner Asshole to stfu. It is worth it in the end to me.

To get started we need to ask ourselves a few basic questions. Feel free to bust out your phone memo, blog, notebook, passion planner, bullet journal-whatever feels most natural to you and you have access to get it.

Question number one- What do I need in a basic way to live day to day. When I say basic I mean it. We not getting fancy yet. And when I say live, I don’t just mean not die. I mean what are the basic things you need to help have a decent day.

Here are my answers:

  1. My meds and vitamins.
  2. On work days, I need at least one serving of my preferred food types, some available protein, my immunity drinks, tea.
  3. My OH SHIT alarms/reminders on my phone. The OH SHIT eat now, the OH SHIT NO REALLY IF YOU HAVEN’T EATEN PLS DO ALARM
  4. My I’m a gross human supplies.

As you can see, this is very basic. This is lowest level, I just need to function for the day type self-care check in with myself.

Strictly speaking, logically we all know how to be alive. For me, the use of this most basic list can help on bad days. The way my brain works, sometimes I get too focused on just maintaining that I forget to care for myself. I can dive straight into some intense shame spirals and anxiety attacks and wind up deciding I don’t deserve anything.

Part of my basic list means that I have a concrete thing to look at to remind myself not to be an asshole in that way.

This is also why, I say we have to be honest with ourselves. I know how I can be. There are reasons and I know them and I KNOW that I can be a hugely abusive asshole to myself and I know that I need concrete tools to help combat that.

Next question:

How do I level up?

Now this list can be the things that you find soothing if you need to stim, are in a panic attack/the aftermath, are having a high pain day etc. The things that can tank your day. These are things that can make a decent day, a better day.

For me, I break this out into seperate things. My lists are labeled, soothing, don’t cry, feelin good, ain’t shit. My more general list is as follows and usually is for dealing with my general high anxiety. I have discovered that for me, collecting and organizing data is very soothing by itself.

Now, y’all. I want to say again, this does not have to be fancy. You don’t have to use complicated planner systems, you don’t have to use symbols and special pens and bullshit.

You can make a note on a sticky pad that just says, YO TAKE YO MEDS.

Dassit.

This is not for show or instagram or whatever. There is zero pressure to do it like I do it. All we’re doing here is starting up with some ideas. A few things to get you started.

The other part of documentation of what I need is for me to mark doing the things I need. Sometimes for me that is quite literally just an all caps in my planner to say I moisturized my hair or did a face mask or took care of a bill.

For some of us, this will be really hard. Some people with eating disorders, OCD, ADD, who have anxiety surrounding accomplishing tasks might need to not do this for their own good. For me, I have a history with eating disorders and a habit of being a mega asshole to myself if I don’t do what my inner asshole says I’m supposed to do.

To mitigate that, I make the effort to identify what has triggered my problem. Let’s use food tracking.

When I get too specific, start calorie counting etc I stop. It is often a big battle, but an absolutely necessary one.

I make an effort to stop the verbiage and stop any moralizing or shaming I do to myself. A lot of the time I have to roll things back to just make notes like:

  • FUCK YEAH YOU ATE!
  • EAT THAT FOOD!

Etc.

A large part of documentation as part of our foundation of self-care is involved in also managing ourselves during problem moments. Nobody needs a self hate bender and part of self-care means, sometimes you gotta shut yourself down and say, NOPE.

To wrap up here is your homework if you want it.

Ask yourself a few questions:

What do I need to make it through a day?

What do I need to make it through a hard day?

What do I want to make either of those type of days, better?

That’s all. From there, if you are ready you can start figuring out the best way for you to document. We have so many tools and you can do anything from using a dollar store notepad to a super fancy journal. It is up to you.

As always, if you need help, want to talk about what you’re doing feel free to comment. Let’s teamwork it out.

 

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Foundational Self-Care. Let’s Get This Party Started!

Hi folks.

While I’m rearranging life here at SCLAB, I’ll be putting up more blog posts as we go along.

AND….

Big announcement I forgot to announce previously. After some folks had questions, I decided to republish the OG SCLAB that I wrote and published in 2012.

Over at my Etsy shop you can snag yourself a copy of the OG material with a whole new intro. Get that here. Also check out I have a whole new piece about self-care up along with other lit goodies.

Okay y’all ready?

Let’s talk about self-care in action and how that looks and feels for me.

The situation currently is this. Since the start of our move way back in March my stress levels and anxiety have been, to put it nicely off the fucking chain. I tend to experience anxiety in a very physical way, increases in my general chronic pain, my sleep disorders are exacerbated, my body goes haywire.

For me, a lot of the foundational self-care I engage in looks like this:

  1. Take as good care of my body as I can. That means- care for my skin and hair. Stay hydrated. Eat as well as I can afford to utilizing a loose intuitive eating framework, have my walks/play Pokemon. Limit my coffee intake. Poop regularly.
  2. Document my status. I do this in my passion planner. I note periods, high pain days, panic attacks, etc. This doesn’t have to be complicated or pretty or difficult. Sometimes I literally just make frowny faces or put in stickers of poop. We’ll talk about that more in depth later.
  3. Respect, acknowledge and not punish myself for having bad pain or bad feelings.
  4. Stay the course.

That is my foundation. I have this list written down in my planner and when I feel like I’m faltering or failing, I look back at it and put myself back onto this path.

I highly suggest taking some time to set up your own foundation of self-care. This is the method I used.

First, I figured out what things help me feel more stable, what things contribute to my anxiety and what things make day to day life easier. My thoughts were that if my skin and hair are fucked up, my self-esteem is going to take a big hit and my skin in particular is a big trigger for me. Through many years of journaling, notes in my planners etc, I also have a terrible habit of being punitive towards myself when I feel like I’ve/am doing wrong because feels.

Second, when I’m lost or upset I go back to the list. Think of it as instructions for your humanness and personal operating system. Every human has the basic human operating system. However, we’re all overclocked and modified so our individual OSs need instructions. This is where your foundational list comes in.

Keep it simple. Literally sometimes the list I refer to looks like this:

  1. Eat some fucking food.
  2. Drink water.
  3. Calm the fuck down.

Some days it be like that and we need shit broken down into easy simple parts. You can write one like this, write fourteen on post it notes and put them where you’ll see them.

This is all you need to give yourself something to lean on. A little work figuring out a few things that make even bad days livable, is huge. You can return to it time and again. And shit will change and that’s okay.

I encourage y’all to give this a shot. If you have a therapist, talk it over with them and see what you can come up with together.

There are a few rules.

Be honest. This isn’t about an idealized self. This is yourself as you are, right now even if it is fucked up. Maybe you need to start at, what makes me feel less fucked up? This isn’t about a straight shot to being okay. Some of us will never be okay and that is just what it is.

Second rule, don’t shame yourself or others for what may seem superficial or silly to you. That is shitty asshole behavior and we can all do with some less assholeness in our lives. Don’t be an asshole.

That is about it.

Now, I invite y’all to do some of this work and please report back! Come drop a comment and let us know how you’re faring. If you need help figuring it out, we can do it together. SO YES YOU! YOU! You can come comment.

Now, stay tuned my friends. We’re just getting started and this is gonna be great.

PS,

PLS pardon any blog weirdness I am rearranging things and shit might be ugly every now and then.

An update and explanation..do overs.

Hi folks.

It has been a while and y’all, I have been struggling to work out what I want to do here.

On one hand I sort of want to continue being in my feelings about this.

On the other hand I run chronically low on spoons and I frankly am not sure what to do.

To be most real, what I really want to do is create an inexpensive membership thing. That would grant access to writings, maybe some community based pages, eventually some offers of video talks and maybe personal consulting.

Unfortunately, my fave url I had to let go because I couldn’t afford to keep it. Also I can’t really afford to do it through wordpress because starting costs are a thing and I’m poor.

That was my grand idea. Sort of the “lifestyle” thing but not as expensive as most and far less uh….shiny I guess.

I had a site plan, had started creating content/planning content and frankly, reality cracked me in the feels.

The things that are prohibitive so far: (these are notes from my SCLAB notebook)

  1. Cost. At last budgeting, I’d need about 400$ to start with for bare bones. Additionally, I’d need some new software, a new camera. These costs included 2 years of a particular domain, membership management software, a few odds and ends. Extra costs would include an LLC etc.
  2. Like most of my non dayjob work, there is a struggle to get support and membership. I would need to sustain paid members which, could be an issue.
  3. The failure of #2 would make the project unsustainable. Currently in the context of other work I provide to the world, I’ve had to cut back what I provide for free because I don’t have the time to spend on giving when I need to eat.

I’ve spent years at this point studying the data in terms of engagement with work I provide and what does and doesn’t provide enough of a financial return to continue.

My cost to consumers is low. This isn’t really about being paid what I am worth, philosophically yes, I want that. In reality, I don’t get it. I have on offer things that will provide some income that don’t do well at all regardless of my frequency or method of promotion.

My Etsy store has been reopened. It costs me about 4$ a month to keep it open. I am offering literature right now (I will add some stuff later on I think) that costs from $2-$5. In the past year I have had 170 views of items and sold 4 items for a total of $10.00.

I also have pieces available to Medium members exclusively. Basically folks pay I think about 5$ per month to view unlimited exclusive items. I have six pieces there (you get paid as a writer for “claps”) and have made a total of $4 in 2018.

These are my profits from my indie hustling for 2018 not counting my Patreon account. Frankly, Patreon is the only thing I do that actually pays for itself.

On average between my blogs, medium and Patreon I create almost ten thousand words per month. Hours of work. But, like a lot of things in my life most of it isn’t really sustainable in the long term except for Patreon and that is low key borderline.

Most of the indie artist stuff I have studied says that, this could be for a few reasons.

  • I am not doing any of it right. That is possible. Maybe, I’m not engaging my audience as well as I think I do. Maybe, I am addressing the wrong audience. I dunno.
  • No one wants what I got.

I think it is mainly the latter. But not in the absolutely no one wants it way, more the some folks want it but not enough to pay for it.

That has been traditionally true of much of my work for lots of reasons.

A word about my low costs.

In the attempts to help me a lot of people have suggested raising my prices on some things. I have thought about it and for some of my work it just doesn’t fit in with why I am doing it. To  use a thing that lots of people say:

If it’s inaccessible to the poor it’s neither radical nor revolutionary

Part of the work I want/ed to do with SCLAB is to keep this material easily accessible. This includes:

  • Keeping the language more plain. No woowoo or overly fancy language.
  • Lower costs. Not much per month with higher prices for privileged people to volunteer to pay.
  • Centrally located easy to read non super fancy website.
  • Non gendered advice assuming that the consumer is a human being.

With those goals in mind, I have done the maths and yes I could save up the money and spend it monthly which is what my heart says to do because it fulfills my soul to be of service and to use my gifts to make the world better. My bank account says, bitch you need to eat and make a living.

I don’t like capitalism but I gotta play.

In the past there have been some other options.

I’ve had some tickles for books. Not the ones I wanted to write. Book publishers have flirted with me but it always boils down to, we LOVE YOU AND WANT YOU but……at like 40%.

For the effort and cash involved, it has never been worth it to sacrifice this thing in that way.

I’ve been asked to contribute to some other sites but, I cannot work a second full time job even if it is virtual and doing stuff I am already doing/love to do. I just can’t.

That’s what it is.

Right now I don’t know if I will just turn this into an archive and write about self-care when I want to or if I will do new posts as the spirit takes me.

That’s where things stand for now.

 

When the Big Leagues Flirt with you.

Please note, I am not naming names because I don’t roll that way. I also am not out for revenge and while I’m still a little salty, shit happens.

For this entry we’re going back in time to the original publication of Self Care Like A Boss. Self Care For Life. It was 2012 and I had an ongoing, we’ll call it flirtation with an acquisitions editor for a publishing house. Not a huge one but big enough. The relationship began (and it is gonna sound a lot like dating because that is how it felt to me) with this person reaching out after I’d made a blog post about fat sex and they felt very seen and affirmed.

I love that shit.

We talked a lot via email and it wasn’t until I released SCLAB that this person told me that part of why they contacted me was that they worked in publishing.

If you’re not a writer, this is like being plucked from absolute obscurity and having someone make you the fairy prince/ess of your dreams. They said ALL the things that got to my heart. They expressed regret and anger at some fatosphere shade thrown my way. They didn’t ask me to tone it down, didn’t tell me not to say fat or Black so much.

It felt like it was all going to happen.

It was those heady blogger book deal days. I’d already had my fat book idea pooped on. I’d not been offered opportunities to be part of the larger (whiter) fatosphere. And I just wanted it.

I needed it.

This person went ghost for a few months and returned with news. The company was interested. Except they wanted less empowerment, less focus on doing some hard shit and more You Go Girl Sassy Sage Black Woman advice.

I was heartbroken.

It was another thing I didn’t really share with folks because the parameters of what might ultimately make my work acceptable were narrow. They didn’t want me. They wanted some other Negress rolling her neck, snapping her fingers and spitting out quips that would make White women feel comfortable and happy and woke.

Not me.

The editor was apologetic and embarrassed. Basically what they wanted was a dilution of what made people like the work. But the people who liked and used my suggestions, were not their demographic.

This has been and is a recurring theme in my life and work.

We’ll talk more about it but really, every time big publishing has flirted with me privately, this his how it has ended up.

This happened when folks suggested I join popular blogs. My “style” was never compatible. I said fuck a lot. I was too militant. Too much. Too angry. To Black.

This is the double edge of me being me and doing the work I do.

Some of the people who gas me up the hardest, only do it in a very limited way. Never in the open where their vast networks can see. Never where it might actually benefit me and my work. The hand up is never offered to me. This happens to me in my more literary life. In meatspace everywhere.

Because I am the potato I am, my first inclination every time is to go inward. I have to examine my work, my motives and my outcome. There was a section in the original that turned out to be really cissexist and when I understood that I cut it out. I wasn’t at a point where I knew how to effectively not use cis centric language about crotches and health and sex so I stopped. I knew my intentions were pure but, as we all know intentions ain’t shit.

The integrity of my work is that important to me.

Knowing this, I have to be careful I don’t go so far up my own butt I can’t get out. This is an anxiety thing. Once I recognized that I am usually able to not crawl up in the great unknown too far.

That said, I also realized that these flirtations and rescinded opportunities didn’t/don’t mean my work isn’t worthy.

That has been a really bad part about this dynamic. It causes me a degree of cognitive dissonance that just fucks me up so bad.

I hear the cheers and YAYS and then nothing. I have connected how poorly I react to this thing to trauma I’ve experienced in my life from emotional abuse etc. And the fact that at the bottom of it, I am still the little kid holding my poem up after being told how smart and good I was and having no one give a shit.

That realization fuckin broke me y’all. And once I saw it, I can’t unsee it. I can’t not think about it when I see (white women I know especially) gas the fuck out of everyone in public but me.

This is why when I say that if ask my community for anything directly most of the time nothing happens. This intersects with the fact that Black women and femmes have a hard time getting real support outside of our most intimate communities.

Once upon a time, I didn’t have the gall to name these things or say they are traumatic and are fucking up my work. I believed that if I was gonna be a real artist, I’d just suck it up and figure it out. Nah son.

I’ll wrap it up here. The end result of these flirtations is that no I don’t tend to jump at opportunities. I don’t get my hopes up. Most of the time, I have zero faith in promised support or whatever because I can’t emotionally afford to and still get the work done. That’s where I am at.

Some Background. And answers.

Hi again folks.

Guess who is still ALL the way in their feels?

Yep your host.

I’d like to take this opportunity to explain a few things about why I am saying all these things.

The first thing is this. SCLAB is the culmination of many dreams and part of my hearts/soul work. I FULLY believe in my theories, methods and work on this. The ultimate version of SCLAB lives in notebooks and I believe I will figure out how to get iti into the world without harming myself.

Thing number two. Part of my spiritual and mental healing involves acknowledging and saying things like, I’m hurt. I’m traumatized. I feel fucked up. This is important to me because the way I have traditionally dealt with my own trauma is to deny it. Or maybe say my feelings are hurt and then follow up with gaslighting the fuck out of myself because I just didn’t know how to cope. I was/am (I STILL struggle with it) terrified of being seen  and therefor leaving myself open to more harm.

The worst part about thing number two is that, on the most base level, being really seen and appreciated for who I am is my mother fucking love language. You want to show me you love me? THIS. Whether it is getting my dork ass jokes, showing me a meme you think I’d like, understanding that frequently I ain’t shit and to sometimes just let me be ain’t shit.

For instance. If you don’t know, I am a highly anxious, tense bag of shit. I’m high strung as fuck. I’m easily startled. I am a semi feral housecat. The type that will post up on top of the fridge lookin like a frickin badass gargoyle but then screams and runs away from a piece of paper. That’s just who I am. The people who show their love for me in the ways that matter to me, accept it. Sometimes they have to tell me to calm the fuck down. Sometimes, they just let me spin out until I work it out.

Being seen and continually loved while I’m having a scaredy cat freakout is important.

It is also emotionally treacherous territory for me. There have been folks both in my private life and in the context of my work (that is often nakedly me) who have used my need to be seen and exposing myself emotionally against me.

When I was working on V2.0 and the whole new book, I got stuck in a loop. The part of me that needs to do this work was ready to go. The practical brain with a helping of my lizard asshole brain continued to remind me of the ways in which I was wasting my time, Milcah’s time, folks money everything. Along with that, I have had to really force myself to deal with the reality of wandering around the world in my body.

I’ve had to just accept that yes, my fatigue and health problems mean I have to re-evaluate my use of my spoons. When I was younger, I could do the glamorous writer thing of being strung out on insomnia and stress and still work. It wasn’t this work but I could still write. As my writing has evolved and changed, I can’t work from that place anymore.  I don’t have the privilege of not worrying about a return on expended effort.

If I wreck myself working whether it is SCLAB or essays or whatever and I don’t recoup anything, it hurts my work. It hurts my pockets which is the worse thing for me. I’ve tried ignoring the costs of my creative efforts. I’ve spent years trying to convince myself that it is totally fine to do the work and get no return. That might be okay for some folks but for me not so much.

It’s not romantic but it is my reality.

Now we’re here.

I have been writing SCLAB material in secret. I still have my hand written weird blueprints for what I want SCLAB to be.

I don’t know how to do it and not fuck myself up.

That’s why we are here.

I still fully believe in this work and my ability to do it. I believe that my voice here, my perspective and methodology is valuable. I believe.

*Insert clapping here*

The thing I’ve realized is that I need to get through this stuff before I can really figure out what I want/need to do.

Am I going to unleash the SCLAB of my dreams?

I dunno.

Am I going to write another book?

FUCK I DO NOT KNOW.

This here is progress. And I am happy. OH ALSO pls ignore construction dust, I’ve been nerd noodling again and some things may not work the way they are supposed to. Bear with me.

In my Feels.

Okay so I want to talk some about the process I’ve gone through with SCLAB in terms of my feelings.

For reference I have to confess that I am ALWAYS FULL OF FEELINGS. If you want some woo in astrological terms I am a MEGA PISCES. In less woo terms, my gut tells me. Things are fucked up when I don’t go with my gut and I KNOW THIS.

A large part of my feelings means I gotta talk it out. I have to write it down. I am that kind of writer. I just need to let it out so I can figure it out, decide what to do and get to doing it.

I HAVE to process my feelings and understand them, understand myself so I can work. When I say work I mean write not dayjob. If I can’t work life sucks. I hate it, I hate myself and I hate the world.

One thing working through the stages of SCLAB I not only relearned but really reinforced was that my gut is most often right. While working through SCLAB I often had terrible feelings.

Among them:

  • Shame (for having the audacity to think on a very grand scale about this work)
  • Embarrassment (different than shame. Mainly because of some of the reception to this work, being embarrassed to be SO emotional all the fucking time)
  • Hope (because I really believe/d in what this work the way do it is revolutionary)
  • Depression (because I couldn’t deliver ANYTHING right)
  • Anxiety (because I am a very anxious person but specifically I was terrified that I had made a grave mistake, was wasting the time and energy and love of my dearest Milcah, that my inability to do this thing in a way that would hook that monied audience was somehow a moral failure and thus made me not good enough to work with Milcah)
  • Traumatized (by stuff we’ll get to next)

Now I wrote about some of these feels but I tried really hard not to expose all of it.

The root of a lot of this is personal trauma from my life. Not to get too bloody about it, but a lot of my trauma involves being rejected by people I trusted because I was expressing feelings that they didn’t want to hear/see or that caused them bother. I work on it but it is one of those types of trauma that will show up like fucking roaches and ruin everything.

What made a lot of processing and working these feelings out was that there was/is a good amount of subjective data to support a lot of the bad feelings I had. Including people who nakedly plagiarized my work. No I’m not naming names because I’ve forgotten them to protect myself.

There were (are?) people who very directly shit on my work. Some of them followed up with that by using my work. One person called it “bad fluffy advice” stole a whole chapter from SCLAB V.1 and did a workshop she charged money for based on it WHILE making the whole book available to her customers as a free PDF. I only know because someone who had signed up for the course told me. When confronted, she told me she was “inspired” by me and “didn’t mean any harm”.

I told her to either pay me or remove ALL my material from her website/class.

She didn’t pay and only reluctantly removed the material when I said I was getting a lawyer.

That happened at least three times before I did V2.0.

I saw someone who made a point to write to me about my XOJane pieces to tell me how bad they were.

A couple of years later, I found that this person had actually wholesale lifted several of those pieces and used them on her blog to draw in followers which, because she was a smiling nice white lady got.

There are few things that happen to me on the regular, that fuck me up so bad.

This has been a pattern in terms of my work for twenty years. From a little thing I wrote in the 90s about inclusion vs diversity being wholesale reprinted in something I picked up with attribution and payment to someone else, to my fat blog work being put in text books without even so much as my given name attributed to SCLAB material.

While working on the next iteration of SCLAB with Milcah I was feeling these things very deeply but I was too traumatized and ashamed to tell Milcah these things. I still believed that this pattern of abuse was my own fault, I couldn’t see this as abuse. I saw it as me failing myself, the work and Milcah.

Looking back, I realize that a lot of what was going on was me not understanding that the thefts and literal taking of money from my pockets is in fact abuse.

I still struggle with it.

The reality of this being a thing that happens to me means that I am constantly on the lookout for it. I am constantly weighing the risk of putting my energy (and spending spoons I don’t have)into something as massive as I want SCLAB to be, only to not only NOT make money but have it stolen.

This is very real.

The fallout has peppered most of my creative life.

I am afraid to:

  1. Accept invitations to events that I am able to go to.
  2. Be as open as I’d like about what I’m up to.
  3. Have hope.

That last one is huge.

On the practical side of things, I cannot afford in any way to spend spoons and money on a large project that no one will buy/participate in. I just can’t.

So I quit it all and here we are.

I’m recovering but y’all, shit is hard. Especially when dealing with traumas like this means, part of the work that fulfills my soul is on hold.

When the Research Proves you Right.

Okay so in the years that SCLAB was being published and I was constantly thinking about it, I started doing a lot of intense research and analytics. I am not the most entrepreneurial type person. In spite of the constant pressure to BE UR OWN BOSS, if you are gonna be an author YOU MUST WEAR ALL HATS! MASTER MARKETING! PAY FOR THEM ADS? DO THE ANALYSIS!

This has gone on for many years. For context, these are things I’ve been learning, doing, researching for more than a decade. What I’m gonna be talking about isn’t a result of being a noob or ignorance.

I was operating under the belief that, I HAD to go balls to the wall to be ALL of those things. I did not believe that my personal marginalizations mattered in the success of my work or my ventures. I believed fundamentally that I was just not the right person to be doing any of what I was doing.

This was reinforced by the results of my data hoarding and anxiety fueled analysis of said data. When I included the results of interactions with folks the trend that started when I was a Fat Activist blogger that publishers/lit folks liked to flirt with but not hold hands with in public really showed a consistent pattern of things.

What things? The first thing my years of data poking showed me was that my White audience tended/tends to love me when I’m upset. Sometimes it is the need to see racial pain porn.Frequently, especially when I was just overwhelmed and really just hollering into the void about my pain, I saw my traffic spike. That pattern has stayed consistent. The other half of this pattern is a lack of matching engagement from that same audience.

When it comes to my SCLAB related work, I’ve seen a very similar pattern over the years.

Why am I talking White folks here?

In learning about the marketing and ALL the things, I have rarely if ever come across the acknowledgement that especially for a POC, a lot of this will depend on what Whiteness as a thing thinks of it. That is just how it is. I knew when I was getting ready to unleash more SCLAB on the world, I’d need to hook Whiteness to a degree.

However, what happened was a repeat of the pattern of how my work is treated. Here’s some of what happened.

  1. Cheerleading. U GO GIRL! I CAN’T WAIT! OMG EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE THIS.- This was pre-release.
  2. I ask for engagement. Because one of the ubiquitous marketing things (especially the ones that try very hard to come across as kinda woowoo) is to ask your community for what you need.
  3. Crickets.
  4. I ask again. Now 90% of the time when I ask I am very specific about what I need. I will say, please boost this, share this, read this, buy, etc.
  5. Crickets.
  6. My feelings are hurt.
  7. I try again.
  8. Rinse.
  9. Repeat.
  10. Cry.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned that when the ask comes from me directly, not much is going to happen. I have a small circle of ride or die folks who honestly sometimes go so far out of their way to engage/do the things it is great but I feel guilty because bottom line, it isn’t enough. Those folks are usually also marginalized, don’t have immense social capital or influence and are often also poor folks.

The fact is this.

I have access to people with massive influence. I have seen them get things that are like 10K fundraisers funded in a matter of hours. These are people who have done #1 with me and my work for years and if ask for help, or take them up on previous offers for help nothing.

I hate to be saying this.

I’ve talked about it in the context of my literary life but, y’all. It has impacted everything and is also a large part of why SCLAB did not happen the way I wanted.

I tried to remedy this by taking yet more classes. I’ve interacted with some academic type things for indie artists. But, again the problem of being a Black femme is just there.

The realness of it is that for as rah rah the (mainly) white women I know and the power they have, it is never open to me.

So many of the folks I’m thinking of have the stuff that an audience for SCLAB would need to help me launch it.

  • Disposable income
  • HUGE influences
  • Motivation to do something (except for me)

I’ve seen them do it. I’ve watched it and privately sat in tears because I can’t get ten clicks on something folks have told me they wanted.

This has been a pattern that runs real deep. For years. For most of my career. And for me, feeling the fullness of that level of rejection weighed so heavily on me, V2.0 of SCLAB suffered because I felt these things but understood them as just me having my usual anxious weirdo bad feels and not as a result of all those years of data. I thought it was just writing jitters, which is a thing I do.

It wasn’t.

I thought I was just being emotionally difficult and a hard person to work with. I felt this crushing pressure (created by me to be clear) to find that magical formula to make shit work. As a result, I couldn’t write the material I wanted to write. I was hearing the haters in my head, I did some extra research because I believed on some level that I was in fact stealing from mental health professionals (we’ll get to that later), that I was giving the worst advice etc.

And I believed I could change that and in so doing change myself into the person or persona or presentation that would bring that White support and power to help me create my dream.

It was all a fucking lie.

Well Hello There.

Hello there universe. It me, I now it has been a very long time.

I want to come back and talk about some things and explain the absence of new material, ways in which I’ve changed and why I’m still in limbo as to what will happen to SCLAB.

First we go back in time.

For most of 2011/2012 I was working furiously on a little book. At just under 7K words, Self Care like a Boss the original was born and sold at Smashwords for a whopping two bucks a pop. I legit sold under 200 copies. Someone stole (reported buying then demanded a refund) something like 130 copies and by the end of that year, I had lost about 300$.

I had been studying indie artist shit for a while at that point. I had a good gb on my harddrive full of guides, books etc about it. I’d dabbled here and there in monetizing content as it existed back then. I was also still pretty interested in a back of the mind type of way in big house publishing. Granted, at that point the book deals for bloggers thing was slowing down, the interest in my work on that front was a taste of what the future would hold for me. And it tasted like shit.

To that point, my brushes with Big House publishing had gone as follows.

  1. OMG I LOVE YOU
  2. SO NECESSARY
  3. SO REFRESHING
  4. THE WORLD NEEDS YOUR VOICE

From there, to slightly more formal communication.

Most everything ended with a, “if you’d just” then insert thing or mix them:

  • Not be so militant.
  • TOO BLACK OH JESUS
  • Too many fwords
  • Do you have to use fat?

Etc.

It wasn’t good. I did jump at one and was ghosted hardcore. It felt pretty shitty but, I was still writing so I figured it just wasn’t “my time” yet.

Looking back, I probably wasn’t ready for it even though I really, REALLY wanted that book deal.

That being how it was, I kept writing. I blogged. I started dabbling in being an essayist and I started working on SCLAB V.1. I continued educating myself, I learned SEO etc etc.

By the time V.1 was as ready as I could get it, I had some very firm up front beliefs.

  1. I believed in my message.
  2. I believed that using my unique ability to code switch and be vulnerable AND help people who might’ve been struggling like I did was too important to wait for “the right time”.
  3. Fuck it right?

I was deeply overwhelmed and amazed that anyone bought it. And that people were contacting me to say, thank you. It wasn’t the best edited thing. It was messy. Not optimally organized and not the greatest thing. I loved it anyway.

I was pleased enough to upon request rebpulish on etsy and sell about 100 or so more copies.

It was great.

Right before I released the thing, I commented (no comments anymore but it started a thing) on this (NSFW) interview with my beloved Milcah. You’ll see later on why this is important.

So SCLAB V.1 was born. After that, not much happened for a few years. And then, I had an opportunity to write more about self-care and for a whole new audience.Having come from being in the Fatosphere at the height of it, at that point I’d been harassed, doxxed, had racists go buck fuck wild on my posts, etc.

Writing at XOJane re-exposed me to some things.

  1. There are a good number of people who will forever hate every word I say about anything ever. They will probably post on the internet somewhere somethig like:
    “OMG SHE SAID SHE LIKES PUPPIES GROSS” and get then some cosigns and high fives. And that’s fine. (Full disclosure: I had some very serious friends who tracked some of the threads/hateration and that was quite sweet so I’m pretty aware of why folks don’t like me)
  2. Writing a column isn’t necessarily for me.
  3. I find commentary that is raging out about minor shit really fucking annoying.

Now this was around the time when SCLAB V.2 was on and poppin and, I felt something but I wasn’t sure what it was.

I’ve said before that V.2 wasn’t the total best. It was the best I could do at the time.

I had some stuff going on that I wasn’t quite at dealing with or naming yet. Ahem so this is what I’m going to be doing for a few posts. I’m going to FINALLY talk about everything that has kinda trashed my dream.

That is about when it started. I had this creeping erosion of something I just didn’t know what.

I think that is all today. There’ll be more.

AND I should tell y’all Imma talk about Milcah a lot. And you should check this out if you are interested in marijuana culture and education and the gorgeousness that is Milcah and April.

 

What Even Is SCLAB?

What the shit are you even saying?

I want to take a break from instructional stuff today to talk about my self-care philosophy.

Let’s cover the basics real quick like:

  • Taking care of yourself as best you are able to.
  • Doing things that will improve the quality of your lived life.
  • These things can include: paying bills, learning to budget, taking care of your skin, unlearning your biases, dealing with being called out, knowing how to apologize when you fuck up and other stuff.
  • TREAT YOSELF!
  • Don’t treat yoself calm down.
  • Learning how to teamwork life improvements.
  • Feeling well taken care of so you can in turn take care of others/be a helpful part of your community.
  • Navigating the world in the body you have and learning to have a relationship with it.
  • Radicalize your life by not just surviving.
  • Want to be an SJW Mage? We’ll learn how to learn about that AND take care of ourselves.

Self-care in these parts has a lot of facets and impacts our entire lives. Self-care as I talk about it is intersectional. I fully believe in the transformative power of intersectional self-care.

So what does that mean for you?

For you here’s what I ask of you. When you’re in this space, please be aware that I am a Level 100 Social Justice Mage and everything I talk about in terms of self-care is gonna be flavored with that. That means, that I will do my absolute best to be as inclusive as I possibly can and that, might make some of y’all uncomfortable.

I am purposefully and explicitly welcoming of, and center marginalized people in my work. That means that in reading this work, be aware that you personally might not be centered but, that does not mean you can’t come along for the ride. I also encourage you (you who whatever advice doesn’t pertain to specifically) to hold onto the info for reference. I mean, coming up I’m going to be talking about stuff like dealing with periods when you may not have access to privacy, I bet you know somebody who has periods so that’ll be info you can share.

I very specifically will not respond to or entertain anything that even vaguely smells like transphobia, homophobia, racism, classism etc. Nah. We are not doing that here except in the context of dealing with those things and later on tools for unlearning them. Otherwise? Nope.

There is so much other bullshit in the world that makes us feel terrible, makes our days harder and overall does not  contribute to our well-being, I don’t want this space to be infected by that.

The rules here are very simple.

  1. Don’t be an asshole. Not one of us is the One True Knower of Things and that is okay. Just don’t be a jerk.
  2. Please don’t crown me as responsible for speaking to or for ALL experiences and permutations of human life. I can’t do that. I’m one human with some stuff to share.
  3. There is no One True Way to utilize self-care or talk about it. What I’m doing is one way, maybe you like a different way and that’s okay too. Not everything is for everyone and that is pretty great.
  4. Please don’t use my recommendations to abuse yourself. If you are unable to do something, or don’t understand it etc, please don’t feel bad. We’re all human, some of us can do a lot of stuff some of us can’t. It’s fine.

That is pretty much all. The big one is number one. Don’t be an asshole to yourself or to other folks.

Before I go I do want to mention a few other things.

Some of the things I talk about when I talk about self-care, there are always a few people who turn up their noses because GOSH that’s just common sense.

Let me tell y’all a story about me.

When I was a young adult potato, I moved into what was at the time the nicest place I’d had my name on the lease. I felt very fancy and very adult.

Of the many small disasters that happened, the one that sent me into a wailing tornado of panic was completely stopping up my toilet. It wasn’t slow, it wasn’t just a lil backed up- y’all there was poo water on my brand new bathroom rug.

To say I freaked out would be an understatement. I lost my entire shit and was walking around my apartment like, “well fuck I guess I gotta move now.” “I’m gonna get evicted for breaking the toilet.” “Why am I so stupid I should…” Y’all get the drift. My meltdown was fueled by panic, then shame because I didn’t know what to do, then more panic, more shame, until I was a snotty faced mess laying on the floor in my living room crying my eyes out.

Now, I look back and say, “poor silly little potato it was just some poop. All I needed was a little bit of time, a plunger, very hot water and patience.

That said, looking back I can say, UGH it is COMMON FRIGGIN SENSE TO KNOW WHAT TO DO! But is it? Nobody had ever shown me how to unclog a wrecked toilet.

The point of that story is this. I don’t believe that folks should just know stuff. Sometimes, someone has to tell you stuff and sometimes you gotta write it down or ask someone about it for the millionth time-how we get the info isn’t as important that we get the info.

Learning is fucking awesome. Learning stuff that might give us a better day to day quality of life? MORE AWESOME!

That’s why I’m still doing this work and why I’m hard at work behind the scenes to create something bigger and better.

So there you have it y’all.

Come back next time we’ll get into some quick and dirty financial how tos.