“You Can Be Broke and Self-Care” Exhibit: Recap, Photos & Resources

“You Can Be Broke and Self-Care” is a photo interview exhibit featuring 13 people in LA with mind obstacles (that’s what we call mental illnesses) practicing alternative self-care authentically in their home or space.

It was created by Shannen Roberts (she/her), the queer, Peruvian-American founder of The Strange is Beautiful. Spanish translation completed by Angelica Ravelo Franco (@ange.ravelo & angemerce79@gmail.com).

Q&A with Herbalist Natali of Firme Arte, & Their Controversial Decision to Not List All Ingredients

Do herbalism products actually help anxiety or other mind obstacles? What can someone do if they’re too nervous to try any for fear of an allergic reaction? We chatted with herbalist Natali Gonzalez, and sampled their Firme Arte anti-anxiety items to find out.

Natali Gonzalez (they/them and he/his) is a 31-year old “indigenous, queer, gender non-conforming two-spirited Hopi-Xican@ artist & Bruj@.” Plus, they’re a second generation RCAF (Royal Chicano Air Force) artist. While they struggle with chronic pain, trauma, anxiety, depression, and body dysphoria, they created Firme Arte to help heal others.

Firme Arte is herbal items such as elixirs, candles, oils, soaps, scrubs and sprays made during ritual that they call “queer indigenous alchemy.” It’s intended for QTPOC (queer, trans, people of color) community who are “dedicated to the pursuit of truth, self-growth and a divine cosmic connection to the multiverse.” Besides this, they offer crystals, incense and other smoke magick. In all their work, they mix their love for art and music with ancestral healing.

This piece on Gonzalez and Firme Arte covers a lot – from their life, to reviews of their anti-anxiety products, to a Q&A packed with self-care advice. When we received their items in the mail, we were uncomfortable that they don’t list the ingredients on them (they list only a few on their site). We felt this to be a necessary conversation to have in the alternative medicine and QTPOC community. Therefore, in this piece, we discuss their controversial decision to not list their ingredients, including opinions from other POC (people of color) and QTPOC herbalists. And for those who have been too anxious to try herbal medicine, we also reveal how to test for allergies.

Table of Contents

Below is a table of contents for you to see what lies ahead. Click on the title to skip to that section.

1. Q&A with Natali #1=&1=&     a) Routines, Rituals and Self-Care for Their Mind Obstacles
    b) Advice for Negative Self-Talk

2. Firme Arte’s Past:=&1=&     Moving Back in With Trauma=&1=&=&1=&=&6=&=&1=&=&1=&=&9=&=&1=&     a) Running a Business with Mind Obstacles
     b) How They Communicate With Their Ancestors=&1=&=&1=&=&13=&=&1=&=&1=&=&16=&=&1=&     a) Advice for LGBTQ+
     b) Sadcore Sundays Playlist=&1=&=&1=&=&20=&=&21=&=&21=&=&23=& Firme Arte’s Future:=&1=&     QTPOC Employment and Safe Skate Spaces

Q&A with Natali #1

What mind obstacles do you currently struggle with, and what routines, rituals, or self-care / self-love practices do you do for them?

I suffer with lots of =&26=&, always have since I was a child. It stems from being a highly sensitive empathic person with heightened intuition. I also go through =&27=&, =&28=&and=&29=&=&1=&
For the anxiety I use a variety of ancestral medicines such as =&31=&

=&32=& to conquer my mind obstacles with remedies that have been passed down through ancestral knowledge.

=&33=& to use herbs such as =&34=& and =&35=& which have been amazing plant companions to work with through some of my worst panicked episodes.

=&36=& stone has been a lifesaver for me in social situations as it induces grounding a psychic shield around its carrier.

My =&37=& usually stems from my struggle with my gender, image & weight and simply feeling at home within the vessel I was assigned.

=&38=& finding new ways to access more of my true self through my devotional magick with =&39=&, my studies in =&40=&,=&41=&,=&42=&and =&43=&

=&44=& as self care has been something that has really allowed me to heal and access some of the deep rooted hurts I have inherited through ancestral traumas and ones from this version of my soul’s journey. Lots of my past hurts have been channeled through my body within bad relationships with sex & food and how I treated myself when I was younger. Now at 31 fixing the physical and energetic blockages within my body has become high priority and I am grateful for the progress I’ve made through simple acts in loving myself.

Also working with the =&45=&through =&46=&or even =&47=& has been an amazing tool for me when learning about myself. The elements (earth air fire water and spirit) will speak to you if you create space for them. There is much ancient and personal knowledge within these forces.

Lastly, =&48=&has opened my eyes to so many realizations and truths about myself. If you’ve never looked up your =&49=& I highly recommend doing it. It can be incredibly insightful to see yourself mapped out in the stars in such a powerful way.

You mentioned in an interview that you used to be one of the most negative human beings. What is your advice to others who are struggling with negativity or negative self-talk?

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Zine Review: “Nurture Your Loneliness Like it is a Small Animal in Need of Being Held” by Lora Mathis

My Own Loneliness

Loneliness is something I’ve struggled with for…majority of my life. I think to an extent everyone feels lonely from time to time, but the intensity differs. Mine can get, uhh, bad. Since I was in third grade, my friends have either moved away, decided to not be my friend anymore, developed romantic feelings for me that they couldn’t separate from our friendship, stopped hanging out with me when I stopped playing shows (I used to organize music shows and play them too), didn’t want to deal with my mind obstacles anymore, or I had put too much on them to take care of me. A therapist at the

Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Audre Lorde Health Program

Self-Harm: Creative Ways to Stop the Habit

Self-harm can become a habit that is difficult to stop. Below are two tips to help you replace it with a healthy, healing choice.

Option A:
Write positive affirmations on your arm.