We Can Take Up Space (and Support Others Doing the Same)

I could make a parallel post to yesterday’s piece about having needs.

A great deal of cultural messaging says,

“Don’t speak up.”

“Keep that idea to yourself.” (or let me appropriate it…)

“Stay small.”

“Who are you to be in the room? Who are you to lead?”

These messages are sent especially to those with marginalized identities.

But shouldn’t we be suspicious? So frequently, aren’t the cultural forces and systems of greed, along with their benefactors, the loudest messengers in these directions?

Let’s take in this quote from Elaine Welteroth, shared by @bookedinsouthdakota:

“Sometimes just being yourself is the radical act. When you occupy space in systems that weren’t built for you, your authenticity is your activism.”

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Image from @bookedinsouthdakota

Image Description: The quote above is typed on a white page in a book with black writing.

Renee Roederer

 

We Can Need

A great deal of cultural messaging says to us,

“It’s wrong to need.”

“It’s shameful to need.”

“It’s selfish to have needs.”

“It’s embarrassing to need other people.”

But shouldn’t we be suspicious? So frequently, aren’t the cultural forces and systems of greed, along with their benefactors, the loudest messengers in these directions?

Let’s take in this quote from Allyson Dineen (@notesfromyourtherapist on Instagram):

“Growing up with the message that ‘you’re not supposed to need other people’ is going to require a ton of shame to maintain — since it’s going against millions of years of human evolution in a species with a nervous system built exactly FOR: safety, connection, and relationship.”

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Image from @notesfromyourtherapist on Instagram.

Image Description: The quote above is written on a sheet of white paper with black writing.

Renee Roederer

Selves-Care

people

Public Domain Image.

Image Description: Paper cut outs of people are standing in a line and holding hands. The image has different shades of orange with light shining through at the top.

We need care.

We all need nourishment, rest, play, connection, love, relaxation, personal growth, and the meeting of daily needs. These take time and intention.

These days, we hear a lot about self-care, but we need community-care too. I follow the lead here of BIPOC and disability justice activists who remind us that our relationships are intended to be interdependent, and that we can practice care toward one another, meeting each other’s needs with love, consent, respect, and empowerment.

When it comes to cultivating care for ourselves, both in our practices toward ourselves and in our making requests from others… some of us were socialized to feel as though care for ourselves is somehow selfish… that it is self-centered or that the prioritizing of time for our care somehow ‘takes’ from others.

Of course, when we seek to live toward an interdependent vision for our relationships, care for ourselves creates more vitality, resilience, and energy for our loved ones and the community as a whole. It aids more than ourselves alone.

But still, even if we know that, and even if we believe that, that old socialization can run deep.

So here’s a question I find myself thinking about…

When we cultivate care for ourselves, in our practices toward ourselves and in our asking for needs to be met by others,

what if we also thought about it as “selves-care”?

Does this framing help?

After all,

Don’t we find that we are meeting needs of our younger selves?

Don’t we find that we are creating more vitality for our future selves?

Doesn’t care do that for ourselves? Reach backward and forward?

Selves-Care: Loving and aiding our past and future selves. Loving and aiding our relationships and wider community. Is this helpful?

Renee Roederer

 

That Deplorable ‘No Such Thing As a Free Lunch’ Argument

School Lunch

Public Domain Image.

Image Description: A school lunch with a chicken salad sandwich, carrots, a pear, and a red and white carton of low-fat milk.

A public school district in Pennsylvania recently threatened parents with the possibility sending their children into foster care if they did not pay their school lunch debt. In the wake of this, multiple people have offered to pay the debt on behalf of all the families, but the school district has refused those offers.

Sometimes, greed isn’t about money. Sometimes, it’s about power, domination, and intimidation:

Offers Pour in to Pay Students’ Meal Debt, But School Officials Not Interested

We do so much harm to children when we refuse to care for their needs, isolate them, or threaten their support structures.

That Deplorable ‘No Such Thing As a Free Lunch’ Argument

Renee Roederer

Jesus Talked About Money Almost More Than Anything Else

money

Public Domain Image.

Image Description: $5, $10, $20, and $50 bills laid on top of one another.

Jesus talked a lot about money and material possessions. Like, a lot. Almost more than anything else. The most frequent topic in his teachings is the Kin(g)dom of God. But right after that, it’s money.

He taught about money all the time.

And contrary to what the 1% and today’s prosperity gospel leaders might teach, Jesus did not discuss how to get wealth and hoard it. He did not tell people that their personal worth was dependent upon particular possessions. He did not advocate that people give money in order to get much more in return.

And he did not uphold or promote an economy of extraction. In his day, the Roman Empire occupied his land, taxed the people exorbitantly, and marginalized the poor. Wealth moved from the masses to the few.

No, in his very first sermon, Jesus spoke about his calling through these words of Isaiah:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’

Then he included marginalized and oppressed people in everything he did. He empowered their leadership. Alongside them, he walked on foot around Galilee and Judea and taught quite a bit about greed and wealth.

It seems that part of our collective liberation involves freedom from greed and the trappings of wealth. Perhaps we need to talk more about this too. . .

Renee Roederer

All Kinds of Greed

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Public Domain Image.

Image Description: A large, red barn and a tall, gray silo.

“Be on your guard against all kinds of greed,” Jesus says.
Kinds…

When I ponder greed,
I think of
Storing,
Hoarding,
Conniving,
Extracting,
Plundering.

These are true to form.

But also…

Is there a kind of greed in living so thoroughly in the future,
that today is plundered of its own purpose,
its worthwhileness,
its sense of now?

Greed and Power go hand in hand, so
the will to survive and
the anxiety for there to be a tomorrow
are certainly not the same.

But what if we view the present moment only as a means to an end?
What if…
we dismiss it?
we subordinate it?
we extract from it?

For some amorphous arrival in some amorphous, not yet future…

In order to build bigger barns,
we tear down the ones right in front of us.

“Be on your guard against all kinds of greed,” Jesus says.
All kinds.

Renee Roederer

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” -Luke 12:13-21