In 2019 mindfulness and self-care are buzzwords often thrown-around which might signal you to nod and smile blankly when thrown around in conversation, but these are actually quietly radical ideas that in troubling times can help us through.
Tahmina Begum, of XXY Magazine, often uses similar terms when posting on her Instagram (if you don’t follow her on Instagram then go do it and get yourself a daily dose of all things uplifting). The 23-year-old editor is a wunderkind of sorts, known for her thought-provoking takes on what it means to be female, Muslim and a creative in the 21st century and she certainly isn’t afraid to talk about things which others might deem to uncomfortable.
We are excited to be hosting the What I’m Taking With Me event on the 13th of June in collaboration with XXY Mag and Good Girl Gang, for a day of workshops intertwining printing, zine-making and mindfulness. In all the noise of a constantly-changing, divided world we can’t wait to have a day to take ourselves out of this space and focus on what we can do to ensure our minds aren’t only filled with external problems.
Ahead of the event, we spoke to Tahmina Begum to discuss what mindfulness, self-care and feminism mean to her.
First off, for those who don’t know, how would you summarise the mission behind XXY Magazine?
XXY Magazine is a community made up of emerging voices that tend to be ignored. It's talking about narratives that would have been forgotten otherwise through various ways of storytelling. We really honour artists and wordsmiths from minority communities.
Mindfulness and self-care are often confused and diluted, what do these terms mean to you?
Self-care can end up being another word Goop churns out and it can also be rather surface but I tend to go by what Audre Lorde said about self-care, that "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare" especially when you're a black woman, especially if you're a woman of colour, especially if you're queer, or disabled or disenfranchised from what's deemed as normal.
I think in a time where anxiety is at an all-time high, whether it comes to the environment, politics, the ever-changing job market, being mindful and present is so powerful. It's essentially the first step in being hopeful.
What about these ideas are most important to you and how do you practice them regularly?
In order for me to be either mindful, I need to take care of myself first and pour from my own cup first. I can't pour into anyone else or anything else if I myself am empty.
For me, it's trying to find balance and listen to my own voice, which can be difficult when I'm in a vacuum of voices but it's about taking moments for yourself. Sometimes, it's cancelling dinner. Sometimes it's making sure you're a good friend and you turn up to dinner. It's doing you, without being selfish all the time.
As someone with great style and a love for fashion, is there a way you mix fashion with self-care or do you think they are two separate things?
I have always dressed to my mood so what I try to do every morning, is dress instinctively and not for what I think I should be dressing for. I never dress for a person (or the weather which can be difficult when you live in the UK).
We’re really looking forward to the event on the 13th of June, what about this event do you think makes it a good opportunity for people to get to grips with the core ideas of well-being and mindfulness?
Tickets for the mindfulness workshop including screen printing, zine-making and feminist book swap are available here.
words by Eloise Gendry
We're celebrating this year's International Women's Day by asking the beautifully brainy ladies behind Beyond Retro about their inspirations and aspirations for the female future.
Casie Brown: Vintage Picker
Who's your biggest female icon and why?
Yoko Ono! Her album Approximately Infinite Universe is such a powerful feminist statement. It's created with humour, compassion and ideas that still resonate today.
What's the most important aspect of the women's movement to you?
Intersectionality; in order for the women's movement to be successful it needs to be representative of ALL self-identifying women, across race, gender, class, ability and ethnicity.
What are your hopes for the future of feminism?
That the future generation of women grow up recognizing and naturally utilizing the importance of their voices and stories, and bodies.
Emma Lodin: Store Manager
Who's your biggest female icon and why?
I'm going way back in time and say The Suffragettes. Those strong female icons empowered women to start thinking for themselves. Their legacy and message lives on today.What's the most important aspect of the women's movement to you?To raise awareness of the millions of women who still find themselves oppressed.What are your hopes for the future of feminism?The utopian dream would surely be that the term feminism becomes a thing of the past when equality becomes something that is inherent to everyone on earth.
Alishia Dickenson: Digital Marketing Assistant Manager
Who's your biggest female icon and why?Cliched as it sounds, my fabulous Mama. Her positivity and love of life is infectious; she has a wild laugh, an uplifting spirit and sees the beauty in everything. She's definitely my go-to person on a rainy day!My celebrity icon is Tracee Ellis Ross. She's witty, eloquent and induces serious hair envy.What's the most important aspect of the women's movement to you?Support of one another emotionally, verbally and vocationally. For too long women have been pitted against one another and we oftentimes hold the same prejudices as some men without even realising it. It's not a case of being a race to the top, it's about getting there together.What are your hopes for the future of feminism?That it will no longer need to be a movement because there is a mutual respect and admiration between the genders, and we've achieved what we set out to do. Idealistic yes, but it can be done one day!
Nithya Mukandan: E-Commerce ManagerWho's your biggest female icon and why?My Mom. Playing different roles so beautifully at the same time, be it the role of a caring mother, a loving wife, a strong adviser and managing all of them with a sweet smile whilst still working is nothing less than magic.
She taught us to "never say can't". I am indebted to her entire generation of women who blazed a path for me and my generation of females.What's the most important aspect of the women's movement to you?Opening up huge opportunities for women, ensuring them equal access to higher education, compelling colleges and universities to support women's athletics. an undeniable improvement in the lives of women everywhere.What are your hopes for the future of feminism?The future of feminism should be to celebrate femininity because of it's essence instead of as a reminder of basic rights. Individual choice and equal opportunity for everyone.
Caroline Jonasan: Office ManagerWho's your biggest female icon and why?When it comes to vintage style icons my favorites have been the same for years: Katharine Hepburn, Jane Birkin, Kim Gordon and Nico.But if we talk general female icons I could probably go on forever cause I'm quite obsessed with tales of mysterious women through history - everyone from Pocahontas to Cleopatra and Jeanne D'Arc... Sure, I'm a geek.What's the most important aspect of the women's movement to you?Equal pay, to be free from sexual violence, free abortion and right to education for women worldwide.What are your hopes for the future of feminism?That the word feminism in the future will have the same value and importance as the word democracy. In a nearer future I hope the Feminist Party in Sweden will have some success in the election later this year.
Tatiana Nicholaeva: Production Analyst
Who's your biggest female icon and why?Irena Sendler, she is a brave woman who saved approximately 2,500 Jewish children during World War II.What's the most important aspect of the women's movement to you?The most important aspect of the women's movement to me is the acceptance women as human beings with rights, equal to men's rights.What are your hopes for the future of feminism?That the future generation of women grow up recognizing and naturally utilizing the importance of their voices, stories and bodies.
Sophie Guyte: Assistant Manager
Who's your biggest female icon and why?My old dear, we've had some family hardships which allowed me to see her strength and determination. She amazes me everyday. She's truly my best friend and role model!What's the most important aspect of the women's movement to you?That it's helping to inspire and motivate generations of women.What are your hopes for the future of feminism?That it leads to more strong women in positions of power and authority.