“We believe that money can save everything. Who has all the answers. That buying a house or all the beautiful things you want and have within your reach will bring you happiness. But we already know that is not true. I’m much more interested in exploring the root of these dark and difficult times, looking capitalism in the face, and understanding that we shouldn’t be so afraid of the real answer to this void that can never be filled. Not even two minutes passed in the interview with Fariha Róisín (Ontario, Canada, 32 years old) via Zoom from his home in Los Angeles and already makes it clear that “my purpose in life is to talk about the collapse of the system”. For newcomers, Róisín is a writer who is part of this prodigious career in the blogosphere of the early 2000s, one that saw the birth of essayists like Jia Tolentino, Emily Gould or Edith Zimmerman on sites like The Hairpin or Jezebel. . Feminist strongholds full of resourceful girls with razor-sharp pens before the mainstream media signed them up, installed them and cannibalized one of the freest and most creative ecosystems in journalism with a gender perspective until present this century.
The daughter of a Muslim couple from Bangladesh who moved to Sydney, Australia, with their two daughters, Róisín says she is still learning to resolve the traumas inherited from her family and let go of what she calls the tautology of migrants: “To be emotionally inscrutable as a praxis, to work hard forever as a praxis”. After being sexually abused as a child and being abused by a sick mother almost from birth, the essayist moved to New York City at the age of 20, tired of ‘depreciating’ her own body (“perfection was my path, I think in my life like in a video game where I didn’t know what the price was, but it didn’t matter”). There she found a niche as a writer independent in The Hairpin with a column on wellness and astrology and has written essays for other media such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Al Jazeera That is fashion. After publishing a book of poetry and a novel, and sending sporadic letters from his very personal newsletterRóisín publishes this month Who is wellness for? (Who is wellness for? : an examination of wellness culture and what it leaves behind, edited by HarperCollins). It is a treatise of almost 300 pages in which he mixes the story of his life and his traumas with the wisdom of great thinkers such as bell hooks, Audre Lorde or Anne Boyer, among many others, and offers an Eastern historiography to contextualize and teach the rotten pillars of a commercial industry that appropriated and marketed ancient knowledge by adapting it to the logic of capital.
You say the wellness industry is only for “white people, rich or with a good body”, why?
I have been thinking and writing about wellness for many years. I’ve often wondered, what’s the point of writing about self-care? What do we mean when we talk about taking care of yourself? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that capitalism needed to generate this idea that you should and, more importantly and perversely, “deserve” to buy whatever makes you feel good. But something is wrong. The West has diluted the origin and purpose of this well-being. The holistic of meditation, of yoga, has been lost, all of its spiritual context has been erased. We have lost the main component of seeking within yourself; look at you, but really, and ask yourself: if I’m not well, what’s wrong with me?
And what happened?
I come from a working-class family where feelings and our problems were never brought up. Even though everything was very hard, we would never say it out loud let alone share it with strangers. It was a shame. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I understood that this legacy had to be shed. I’m not kidding when I tell you that pretty much every time I introduce myself to someone, like I do with you now, I tell them that I’ve been abused and that’s where all my insecurities come from. . It’s very freeing to do that because if you speak it, you open the door to other people. And there are more than you might think.
She says taking care of herself is “a complicated and very unbearable business”.
I’m not exaggerating at all if I tell you that I spend about $4,000 a month on my own healing. Expenses for psychological therapy, acupuncture and also physiotherapy. For now, I can afford it, but it’s not fair. No one should pay $4,000 to take care of themselves. Health is a right. I know that in Spain the situation is different, but the United States does not care about us, they prefer us dead. A public health system must guarantee these processes of healing and connection to all.
He criticizes McMindfulness, or how Silicon Valley capitalizes on the culture of well-being in a speculative way with the invasion of apps.
This is an industry that is already valued at over $1,000 million. Companies like Headspace aren’t drawn to topics like meditation, or where it came from or what it really means. People’s well-being is the least important thing to them. They are only interested in making more money. Our duty as a society is to demand that “care” be free.
“If well-being is feminized, it is seen as a joke, it seems that it does not bring intellectual rigor”, he denounces. Because?
Because we live in patriarchy. It seems stupid to tell you like that, but today society prioritizes war and violence. This idea of military conquest and constantly being on guard with yourself. We believe humans are like that, but it’s not true. One could say that at the moment we are witnessing the decline of performance of masculinity. We already know they have no idea what they are doing.
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