Audre Lorde wrote in the epilogue to her book of essays Burst of Light:

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

It was 1988. Having undergone a mastectomy for breast cancer a decade earlier, Lorde was now battling liver cancer. Against the advice of her U.S.-based doctors, she declined surgery and sought out alternative treatments in Europe. She then upended her life in New York and moved to St. Croix, a place less toxic to her well being.  A year after she wrote those words about caring for herself, Hurricane Hugo tore through St. Croix, destroying nearly all the island’s buildings and roads.

There’s nothing easy about self-preservation.

It’s been a tough year here in 2016. Much has been written about the need for self care, especially by Black women, during this period of upheaval. We are all in agreement: Yes to self care!

Turns out, though, the conditions that create the need for self care – violent racism, toxic masculinity, the lie of self sufficiency, corporate capitalism, transphobia, and the viral videos that replay all that jazz on your FB feed – are the very conditions that make it near impossible to actually do self care. So we watch a few episodes of Stranger Things, listen to Frank Ocean’s new album, and call it a day. It’s better than nothing, true. But the crispy fried little nubs of your nerves know it’s not nearly enough.

Queerfit can’t make the hard and necessary work of self-preservation any easier, but we’d like to try and make it more possible. So we’ve reprogrammed the month upcoming into September Rejuvenation: 30 Days of Collective Resilience.

You know it’s serious when there’s a colon and a subtitle.

The September Rejuvenation is a month long program to rejuvenate our mighty (but weary) souls. It is based on a theory of resilience that emphasizes being part of a group, physical movement, and creating the space to make new habits. Each day of the week is a different soul soothing, toxin eradicating, resilience building practice that gets repeated throughout the month. That’s seven practices, done four times each. The line-up looks like this:

Fridays: Swimming @ various locations 1:00 or 3:00
Saturdays: Classic QF workout  @ Brownwood Park 10:00
Sundays: Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) @ various locations
Mondays: Dance! @ various locations
Tuesdays: Power lift (deadlifts, power cleans, back squats) @ EAV Barbell Club 6:15
Wednesdays: Outdoor yoga  @ Atlantic Station 6:00
Thursdays: Unplug @ your own kitchen table, couch, armchair, bed

Scroll to the bottom for the full calendar.There are two ways to jump in.

Option 1. Build a Resilience Squad. A Resilience Squad is made up of three people who are going to help each other work work work work work the hell out of this self care thing. If there’s someone (including yourself) you’ve been wanting to bring into queerfit, inviting them to be a part of a resilience squad for September is a great way to ease in. Being part of a squad doesn’t mean you’re each obligated to go to every single thing throughout the month. It does mean the three of you have decided to make September all about this act of political warfare called self-preservation, and you’re going to help each other make it happen.Totally up to you who you want on your squad, but one suggestion: if you’re doing this with your sweetie pie, best if you and they are not on the same squad. Ditto your best friend. Up to you, though. You can pull together your own 3 person squad, or you can ask us to assign you to one.

Option 2. Flying Solo. If you would rather do the self care thing without a squad, that’s fine too. Sometimes being part of a crew feels more like stress than support. That’s cool. We still encourage you to make self preservation September’s top priority, though. Everyone else gets the other 11 months. Get yourself taken care for this one.

Either way – with a squad or solo – we will be using the queerfit.org blog to keep us organized. We’ll send out weekly emails with the upcoming week’s schedule, with details of where and when. If you’re getting this as an email, you’re already signed up to receive those weekly emails. If you’re not signed up, sign up now by entering your email in the top right hand corner of the queerfit.org page.

** There is a bonus for being part of a Resilience Squad. A few of these things cost money (parking for the yoga, the tree climbing class, dance lessons), and everyone who is part of a registered squad will have their costs covered. To register your squad, drop a comment letting us know who’s on your team.

There may or may not be points (and thus, prizes) involved.

We’ll talk more about this on Saturday during/after our usual 10:00 workout in Brownwood Park. Some prejuvenation to the rejuvenation. See you Saturday – and then all of September!