I wanted to figure out a way to represent my “Manifesto of Care” through embroidery, an activity that is not only a way for me to care for myself but a way for me to express care for others. Additionally, it is a way for me to put care into something for reasons outside of profit.
I don’t want to say too much, since this piece is meant to be without language, but I have to credit those who have shaped my ideas and this project.
My ideas of care as political praxis come largely from a work by Lora Mathis (they/them) called “Radical Softness as a Weapon.”
Some things Mathis says about radical softness:
“Being soft is not about being docile. It is not about not having an opinion. I am more tender with myself than ever, but I also am learning to deal with my aggression and anger. I will not tell others to not be violent. I will not tell others to not be violent. I understand that these are valid reactions to oppression.”
Additionally, they use some quotes from Johanna Hedva’s “Sick Woman Theory” which has also informed my ideas on care:
“The most anti-capitalist protest is to care for another and to care for yourself. To take on the historically feminized and therefore invisible practice of nursing, nurturing, caring. To take seriously each other’s vulnerability and fragility and precarity, and to support it, honor it, empower it. To protect each other, to enact and practice community. A radical kinship, an interdependent sociality, a politics of care… The Sick Woman is anyone who does not have this guarantee of care. The Sick Woman is told that, to this society, her care, even her survival, does not matter.”
Thus, my digital display of my manifesto of care and radical softness.
(Credit also has to go to my friend Nat Cortes, who has not only shown me these resources on radical softness but has put it into practice in our relationship. They’re the softest, raddest, most badass person I know and they helped me figure out what to embroider!)