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 out. Community 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.