It’s Wellness Vibes Week! We’re taking some time at the start of this brand new year to explore wellness culture/wElLnEsS cUlTuRe through a queer lens, specifically the kind of queer lens that you can only find at your local Autostraddle. No celery juice or vagina steaming, just some chill tips for making your spiritual, physical and mental health a little better in 2020.
Hello old friends. Wow what a time to be alive, is it not? You’re here and I’m here — the gang, you could even say, ‘s all here. And it’s now. And sometimes shit is too fucking much. Why, as recently as last night I would’ve gone so far as to say that shit was absolutely and undoubtedly too fucking much. (It’s fine in this exact moment, thank you for wondering.) And then what do we do? When the shit has reached the undeniable level of too fucking much? When we’re feeling extremely out of sorts and untethered and tired of our own inner monologue, and the time and/or desire to move our bodies about it has long since passed? Friends, I believe that’s when we read a thing.
Oh you could meditate, you could. You should, even. But will you? If you’re being very honest with yourself, just put your pencil down for a minute and ask yourself, “will I though?” And maybe for some of you the answer is, “yes bitch, I will and I do,” and I love that about you. Some of you would even say, “what about my fabric-based hobby?” or even “yes but what of my art, the art that I make with pigments or inks or other things?” and I also love that about you. However, the answer for another some of you is maybe, “true, I will not, at least not at this exact time; perhaps later, or even definitely later, I bet.” You need to read a thing.
And so, because I care for you, deeply, I asked our team to share what they read when they have had quite the fuck enough of this absolute shit.
Their recommendations are below, and you should add your own in the comments.
Carmen Phillips, Senior Editor
There are some books that weave their DNA into your own, changing a part of yourself that shifts how you move in the world and what you consider to be your purpose. Audre Lorde did that for me when I was 20 years old, and many years later I still return to Sister Outsider when I feel lost and honestly need to just stop fucking up.
Kamala Puligandla, Deputy Editor
Pleasure Activism is always a fabulous reminder that sex (with ourselves too!) is important, restorative and generative; that pleasure is way more than sex; and that feeling good is a super radical act, especially for people who are often uncomfortable in the world.
Lesbian Sex is woefully out of date re trans women and non-binary people, but I love this cover and many of the stories inside.
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Writer
Jehan Roberson, Writer
I love all things witchy and mythology laden so I read these (admittedly ridiculous) witchy romance books from Kristine Grayson called the Charming Series. Current fave is Thoroughly Kissed.
Molly Priddy, Writer
When things get really dire I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or the Redwall series. But when I really need to just feel like I’ve got my life together and am on the verge of panic about it? The Bushcraft survival books by Dave Caterbury.
Valerie Anne, Writer
Sometimes when I’m stressed/overwhelmed I look up Buzzfeed “best tumblr posts” roundups because they never cease to make me giggle and chill the fuck out. “She wears short shorts, I wear long longs, she’s cheer cheerer and I’m on the sit sits” gets me every time.
Loved the Riddle Master trilogy since I was a teen and reading it always brings me back to myself. The Imperial Radich series has been serving a close second lately in that regard.
Heather Hogan, Senior Writer
Mary Oliver’s work means so much to me because she never seemed to struggle with holding optimism and redemption and queer love and wonder and profound sadness in her heart at the same time. Reading her poetry makes me feel the way the woods do in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains, where I grew up. Or how I feel when I meditate. Or when it’s just me and Stacy in bed on a rainy, lazy Sunday afternoon. Grounded. Connected. Like I’m mercifully small in the grand scheme of things but that all my breaths matter. Oliver wrote Felicity after her partner of 40 years, Molly Malone Cook, died. It’s the most candid she ever is about their relationship. It’s tender and full of so much heartache. The hope she excavates from her grief is always a balm. In her eulogy for Molly, Mary wrote, “Isn’t it wonderful the way the world holds both the deeply serious, and the unexpectedly mirthful?” It is and I feel less alone when she knits that seeming dichotomy together for me.
Fortune cookies… just in case.
Shelli Nicole, Writer
I always read Corduroy kids’ books when I wanna chill out and be calm, it was my fave book when I was a kid. My favorite book ever that I read a few times a year is The Great Gatsby – made me want to write. And Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper is *mwah!
Riese Bernard, Editor-in-Chief, CEO, CFO & Co-Founder
I never really witnessed any models of strong leadership or management in my work life prior to starting my own company, so Dare to Lead has been really helpful for me in trying to figure out how to do this thing.
Sarah Sarwar, Design & Marketing Director
Yumi Sakugawa dispenses some insanely good advice and inspiration. Running across their posts on my feed feels like small, perfect doses of therapy and somehow arrive exactly when I need them.
Dani Janae, Writer
I always crawl back to the Collected Works of Louise Glück
Malic White, Writer
Really anything by Eileen Myles.
Laneia Jones, Executive Editor
I’ve had Christina Katerina and the Box for as long as I’ve been alive and it’s entirely possible that I am who I am because I just loved her so much. She reminds me to just do something lofty and weird and fun right this very minute with whatever you have. I also find myself relating very deeply to her mother, who just wants this refrigerator box out of her front yard.