Woke.

 

Being woke and conscious has its pros and cons.

While I am blooming as a young woman becoming the person God wants me to be, I can also feel myself wilting from recent events. I am consuming and immersing myself into my Blackness and appreciating where it comes from…but to also be aware of the current state of Black people in this country can drive one mad; such as what happened to my favorite artist Nina Simone. The most recent event in Charlottesville has left me mad, angry, and disturbed. If you also feel this way, you have every right to. However it is so important that we keep a level of sanity and know when to remove ourselves from situations that may effect us internally.

I wrote this blog for people at work or school this week that may feel disgusted by recent events and don’t feel the need to always smile when society isn’t giving us a reason to. As Solange  would say “You got the right to be mad“.  This blog was inspired by Alex Elle most recent blog post  (click here) where she writes “In the face of adversity, we must bloom, even when we feel like wilting“.

Journal Question via Alex Elle blog: How am I self-caring and showing up for myself + others with everything that’s going on in the world?

1. Everyone doesn’t deserve your response. Over the years I have read many post from “friends” and strangers via Facebook that are insensitive and downright racist. One thing I don’t do is argue online with people about current events. I used to be open to discussing current events with bewildered white classmates but I emotionally do not have the energy to explain to people their privilege anymore. It appeared my white classmates thought I was their translator every time a Black man was shot by police, in which I am not. I believe Stokely Carmichael  words are so timely “In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.” I believe that our oppressor has no soul, is evil, and lack conscience and for me to have to explain to you why Nazis marching on a college campus is traumatic for POC is an issue alone.

2. Unplug yourself from the world. Its okay to leave your phone on airplane mode and log off of social media. Try reading a book before checking your phone in the morning. Turn down weekend brunch and try finding a near by park to reflect in. Don’t watch the news or click on videos that may upset you. Sometimes we forget what life was like before phones. We were never meant to stay connected and be assessable 24/7 to the world.

3. Know what makes you happy. Get to know yourself and do something that makes you happy when you are stressed. Go for a run in a park. Google near by waterfalls in your city. Visit a local museum and find an art form that you may surprisingly be good at. Journaling or blogging can also be helpful.

4.  Talk it outCommunity is important. Calling a friend or family member can be extremely valuable. I believe having a network of similar minded friends to discuss current events with is important.  If it’s hard to concentrate in  the workplace, don’t be shy to ask your supervisor for a safe space, to check in with other people of color to make sure everyone is ok. Also joining a sister circle in your city can also be supportive.

5. See a Therapist. Talking with friends and family can be extremely beneficial however a part of caring for yourself I believe is also taking the step to get professional help. No one will ever listen to you as honestly and open as a therapist. Their job is to give clients their undivided attention. Look for nearby psychologist and therapist in your area. I personally believe that having a Black psychologist is important to decrease distrust in the clinical setting but make sure that psychologist is also competent in their work. Utilize Psychology Today (click here)  to view what they specialize in and read their reviews from previous patients.

6. Get your spirt together. Feed your spiritual self what it needs to thrive. Root yourself in a higher power.  Find a church to join.  Read religious text. Join a meditation class or near by donation based yoga classes.

7. Identify and activate your inner activist. Immerse yourself in the community. We have so many problems stacked against us. Everyone is able to point out the problems but If we ourselves don’t do something about it then who will? I personally get so much energy from helping people and seeing people happy. For example if you’re an painter your inner activism can be doing a monthly painting workshop with kids in your community. This is my personal “inner activism” agenda which is also rooted in my field of work. I hope it inspires you to develop your own agenda.

-Conduct workshops for women at church that discuss  Anxiety and Depression

-Creating a safe space on campus for African American women to be able to develop a sisterhood among each other.

-Volunteering at Black urban gardens

-Next week I get to participate in a training to be a Mental Health First Aid Instructor. With this license,  next semester before I graduate I plan on implementing the training with the Women at Rikers Island prison.

 

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To Pimp a Butterfly

kdot.jpg

This dialogue between Pac and K. Dot on Mortal Man is the epitome of many African American men experiences growing up in this country 

[Outro: Kendrick Lamar & 2Pac]

[Kendrick Lamar]
“I remember you was conflicted
Misusing your influence
Sometimes I did the same
Abusing my power, full of resentment
Resentment that turned into a deep depression
Found myself screaming in the hotel room
I didn’t wanna self destruct
The evils of Lucy was all around me
So I went running for answers
Until I came home
But that didn’t stop survivor’s guilt
Going back and forth trying to convince myself the stripes I earned
Or maybe how A-1 my foundation was
But while my loved ones was fighting the continuous war back in the city, I was entering a new one
A war that was based on apartheid and discrimination
Made me wanna go back to the city and tell the homies what I learned
The word was respect
Just because you wore a different gang color than mine’s
Doesn’t mean I can’t respect you as a black man
Forgetting all the pain and hurt we caused each other in these streets
If I respect you, we unify and stop the enemy from killing us
But I don’t know, I’m no mortal man, maybe I’m just another nigga”

[2Pac]
Shit, I like to think that at every opportunity I’ve ever been threatened with resistance, it’s been met with resistance.And not only me but it goes down my family tree. You know what I’m saying, it’s in my veins to fight back

[2Pac]
In this country a black man only have like 5 years we can exhibit maximum strength, and that’s right now while you a teenager, while you still strong or while you still wanna lift weights, while you still wanna shoot back. Cause once you turn 30 it’s like they take the heart and soul out of a man, out of a black man in this country. And you don’t wanna fight no more. And if you don’t believe me you can look around, you don’t see no loud mouth 30-year old muthafuckas


[Kendrick Lamar]
That’s crazy man. In my opinion, only hope that we kinda have left is music and vibrations, lotta people don’t understand how important it is. Sometimes I be like, get behind a mic and I don’t know what type of energy I’mma push out, or where it comes from. Trip me out sometimes

I wanted to read one last thing to you. It’s actually something a good friend had wrote describing my world. It says:

“The caterpillar is a prisoner to the streets that conceived it
Its only job is to eat or consume everything around it, in order to protect itself from this mad city
While consuming its environment the caterpillar begins to notice ways to survive
One thing it noticed is how much the world shuns him, but praises the butterfly
The butterfly represents the talent, the thoughtfulness, and the beauty within the caterpillar
But having a harsh outlook on life the caterpillar sees the butterfly as weak and figures out a way to pimp it to his own benefits

Already surrounded by this mad city the caterpillar goes to work on the cocoon which institutionalizes him
He can no longer see past his own thoughts
He’s trapped
When trapped inside these walls certain ideas take roots, such as going home, and bringing back new concepts to this mad city

The result?
Wings begin to emerge, breaking the cycle of feeling stagnant
Finally free, the butterfly sheds light on situations that the caterpillar never considered, ending the internal struggle
Although the butterfly and caterpillar are completely different, they are one and the same.”