The highlight of our NYCC weekend was sharing our panel, The Non-Compliant Geek’s Guide To Self Care. If you were unable to make it, here are the top 5 things you missed:
What does wellness look like?
Often when we think about wellness, things like body weight and physical appearance come to mind. The truth is that wellness isn't something that can be observed. It's not only about physical health, it's also about mental and emotional health, and the ways you care for your Self. In addition, wellness is not one size fits all. Viewing it as such is exclusionary to people of different ethnicities, levels of ability, and socioeconomic status. So many factors determine our well-being - genetics, bone shape variation, what nutrition is available and accessible, and what your body needs to do every day.
What is Non-Compliance?
Our panel is inspired by Bitch Planet, a comic from Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro. In their dystopian world, women who refuse to conform to societal standards of appearance and behavior are labeled Non-Compliant and sent to an off-world prison, called Bitch Planet. Our favorite character in the series, Penny Rolle, refuses to measure herself by anyone else’s standards. She is unapologetically Non-Compliant and loves herself exactly as she is, and we want to urge everyone to do the same.
Why should we be Non-Compliant?
We are constantly bombarded with messages telling us the right and wrong ways to have a body and use it to move through the world. We are NOT acceptable the way we are and always should be striving to achieve the ideal version of ourselves. The pressure to be compliant with these societal expectations can be overwhelming, to say the least…so why should we want to be Non-Compliant? Whether you're fighting discrimination because you don't measure up or you're deemed acceptable by society's standards, you are still being oppressed by this system. Everyone is affected by the constant fear of fatness and the pressure to maintain a sexually desirable body, no matter how realistic it is to achieve or the toll it takes on our mental and emotional well-being. Simply put, it is a complete waste of time, money, and energy to participate in this system. It's time to opt out.
How can we be Non-Compliant?
Good news: as geeks, we are already poised to challenge the current wellness narrative and flip the script. Genre entertainment has always been at the forefront of social change. Star Trek gave us our first televised interracial kiss. More recently, Marvel’s hoodie-wearing, bulletproof Luke Cage broke Netflix. Fandom does an incredible job of analyzing our favorite narratives, celebrating when they get it right, and critiquing them when they don't. What if, instead of accepting the wellness narrative we’ve been given, we write a fix-it fanfic? Move your body in ways that bring you joy--not to achieve an idealized body type but simply because it makes you feel good. Eat unapologetically--not because you've “earned it” but because it's delicious and necessary to fuel your body. The simple act of questioning whether wellness needs to look the same for everyone is a radical, Non-Compliant act.
Incorporating Non-Compliant Wellness into your geeky lifestyle.
Chances are, you're already participating in activities that lend themselves to wellness activities. Pokemon Go has been an amazing motivator for people to get outside, get moving, and have fun. Maybe you can add movement to your D&D sessions, or don your favorite cosplay and hike out into the woods for a fun photo shoot. The internet is full of resources for themed workouts, like these. Habitica is a great app that helps you set goals and gamify your to-do lists, which can be incredibly helpful for keeping your Self care on track. Love binge watching on Netflix? Try creating your own workout to go along with the show, like this one. You are only limited by your own creativity and imagination, which certainly isn't a problem for the average geek!
Caring for yourself because you're worth it, and not to achieve an idealized standard of wellness, is a radical, political act. Geeks have the tools necessary to flip the current wellness script and live a Non-Compliant lifestyle. Your journey starts now!
How do you incorporate wellness into your geek lifestyle? Share with us in the comments!