Shannon Barber is one of my favourite tumblr people ever. She is a well-endowed writer of fiction and non-fiction, and can swim deep into the waters of intersectionality. She’s black, fat, queer, kinky, poor, goth and unapologetic. She speaks out about her experiences, her day-to-day life, and her ways to cope with hard and soft moments.
Well, she just released a guide to self-care as an ebook (which you can also print if you’ve pledged alliance to the printed word). It’s called Self care like a boss. Self care for life, and it’s available on Smashwords for two US dollars. It is a small document which contains corrected and augmented bits of her posts, going a lot deeper into special techniques for us who don’t have much money, time or stamina.
She talks to you in sentences that are easy to understand, without ceasing to be the wordsmith we know and love. Step by step, you learn how to make an exquisite hair mask with products you have at home. How to do yourself a posh manicure without spending the big bucks. How to stock up on beauty and health products on a minimum budget. And she does not only tell you how to get them, but how to use them; as part of your daily routine and as things to hold on to in case of emergency.
Also, she talks about using your hobbies for self-care. Saving a bit of money every month to keep them up, telling your friends to give a shout out whenever they notice bargains and freebies, or, if you share the same past-times, stock up together and split the costs.
Whatever you do to take care does not have to be expensive. It just does not have to cost at all. One of Shannon’s recommendations is that you spend five minutes every day, first thing in the morning, doing something selfish, for your own greater good. Fart non-stop in the toilet, drink a big glass of water, watch funny videos on the Internet, breathe profusely in your backyard.
You know what I do those five minutes, first thing in the morning, right after taking my medication? (an act of self-care itself) I check all the tweets my friends near and far shared overnight. I laugh at their jokes, read their interesting articles, ponder about certain quotes, take notes on things to check out later that might be right up my alley. It’s not immediate interaction, as most people back home are sleeping already. However, it just makes me feel focused, in good company, as a citizen of the world. Alone or in company, I always do it; and I don’t care if people think I’m surgically attached to my mobile. It feels so good.
I could talk tons and tons about Self care like a boss, but I don’t want to spoil it all. Shannon’s words are her craft and her work, and I want you to pay for her material. You wonder, how can she write about living on the dole and charge you for that? BUT IT’S TWO DOLLARS. Less than two GBP. About thirty Mexican pesos. And it can all come from your vanity kittie, because it will be part of your vanity lifestyle. It will be part of those rituals that help you live at least a few seconds longer.
OK, one last spoiler: don’t be afraid to dance in the supermarket when they play a catchy tune.