Transformation, healing, and elevation of self and others
Robin Stone (MA HAS ‘15) used her graduate thesis “Black Women’s Lives Matter: A Narrative, Womanist Approach to Self-Care,” as a vehicle “to help Black women embrace self-care through engaging with the stories of their bodies,” she says.
Stone’s influences include Black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde who said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
For her thesis, Stone interviewed seventeen Black women and contends: “For many Black women, the idea of self-care is radical. They persevered in spite of their history: educated in spite of poor public schooling; gainfully employed in spite of high levels of unemployment and underemployment; raising children in spite of absentee fathers; self-sustaining in spite of oppressive laws and workplaces. But chronic health problems should not be the price they pay for that perseverance.”
Stone concluded that “the process and impact of being interviewed, as well as viewing the stories of others…serve as a mindfulness or contemplative practice (in much the same way as yoga or meditation). This process of being interviewed – of being witnessed – prompts awareness of stress ….Awareness,” she writes, “can lead to change, and to healing.”
Her final product was the production of a documentary along with a writing workshop to “expand the power of narrative…to turn story receivers into storytellers.”
Note: an abridgment of this story appears in the article, “Is Activism Dead?” in the Clockworks Fall/Winter 2015 issue on page 10.