In the month-long Sunday of August, it’s normal to feel anxiety creeping in. Especially when some folks still need convincing that Black Lives Matter. Especially when Donald Trump, with his blood-fear, has been saturating the media and you’re scared half-to-death of the rest of the imminent sexism bound for us this election season.
When I feel like I’ve got to hold on tight, I turn to the Tulsi Elixir brewed by Dandelioness Herbals. This Ayervedic medicinal herb, commonly known as holy basil, is known to keep you balanced and your energy vital. Plus it tastes good. Dana L Woodruff is the feminist herbalist behind Dandelioness, and she knows that staying balanced is a necessity for community healing. She makes a wonderful activist self-care kit, an elixir for the heart, an elixir to calm the rage, and much more. You can stay up-to-date on her insights and workshops, including one on decolonizing herbalism and one on menstrual health for all ages, at her Facebook page.
I encourage you to support Dandelioness, or your local herbalist, but if you’re strapped for cash, you can always make your own holy basil tincture. Rosemary Gladstar recommends that you:
- Pack a quart jar full with holy basil leaves.
- Fill the jar with 80-proof alcohol (Dandelioness uses brandy. She also adds local Vermont honey.)
- Put on the lid and shake gently.
- Set it on a windowsill and let it steep for 3-4 weeks.
- Strain and rebottle.
- Take half a teaspoon of the tincture twice daily.
I’ve been diagnosed, at various times in my life, with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sometimes, and with some people, it’s nothing to wear these labels. Many other women I love have a similar diagnosis, as do some guy friends. Women are twice as likely to have (or rather, to be diagnosed with) an anxiety disorder than men. As Americans, we live in an anxiety culture. Work is demanding, home is demanding, looks are demanding, social life is demanding. As women, we live in an anxiety culture within an anxiety culture. We are simultaneously marginalized and the targets of insanely high expectations.
Photo by NicoleHeffron.com
At age 13 I made a general life rule to stay away from trashy girl magazines, and instead subscribed to Ms. during my school’s annual magazine drive. As a result, I feel lucky to be relatively non-anxious about fat or wrinkles. My general lack of TV-watching also helps me to be less afraid of germs and terrorists than others. I admit Jaws ruined swimming for me, and after Psycho I showered in fear for a decade. I also admit that TV, movies, and other media born of our white supremacist patriarchal culture affects the ways I think about race and gender. I’m not immune. TV, even in small doses, does work its magic on me. I once saw a reality disaster show that involved a teenager getting buried alive in a school bathroom after an earthquake, or maybe it was a tornado. No, it was a tornado. Definitely. The image of him in child’s pose for thirteen hours under thirty feet of rubble is seared into my PTSD-addled brain. I am terrified of being so stuck, of no escape. I’ve been there before. Continue reading