Self-Care is Revolutionary

I woke up this morning having dreamt of all the things I needed to get done this weekend. All the things that would overflow my planner, all the things that wouldn’t be checked off—premature failures. I felt a cold coming too, everyone around me is sick and this week is not the one honey.

I woke up tired before the day had even begun. But I am currently refreshed and revitalized as I write this in the bookstore on 16th street.

I’m a member of a Diversity and Inclusion Council mostly comprised of professors and university administrators. We meet on Thursdays and discuss grant proposals, faculty awards, and how to tackle the right-wing extreme conservative club brewing on campus. It’s important stuff.

Anyhow, I mention all that to say that aside from myself, there’s another black sister on the council. Her unapologetic authenticity motivates me to be visible in circles of academia and leadership without having to shapeshift into a different kind of woman, an easier to deal with type of woman, a straighten your hair & don’t wear braids for the interview, make sure you talk like them kind of woman. God no. Anyhow, for the record, I straighten my hair when I want to because I choose to do so for myself. It is one thing to be conscious of people that may be ignorant and prejudice about your natural features, but it is another (& fatal to thy identity) to care about the response of the misinformed and change yourself to cater to the undeserving.

I’m striving to not let the fear of an external response steer my intrinsic motivations and best-intents. I’m working to refine my intellect and character so that there is no room to discuss the physical aspects when the inner workings of myself overflow in their offerings.

This sister on the council reached out to me Thursday (my favorite day of the week btw) to let me know of an event she was putting together for black women. I had never been to nor considered going to anything like it before. When I see events of this sort, there’s a little voice in my head that whispers, “Why just black women, what about all women of color? What about all women in general? Doesn’t this exclude other sisters by including only a subset?” Usually, that voice gets the best of me. Usually, I do feel guilty for primarily thinking of the struggles of those that look like me. BUT WHY? Of course, I have a heart for humanity at large, but I shouldn’t be scrutinized for seeking the company of those who can understand my venting without the bridge of cultural difference. It shouldn’t be wrong for me to seek circles in which I am understood without having to speak.

So I went to her event. Best decision ever.
There were about 10 of us in the room. We started off with mindful meditation with a view of the city as Jill Scott, Badu, Maxwell and many more sung to get us in the mood & guide us through. We burned incense and stretched our bodies out to occupy the space to our heart’s content. In doing so, our hearts became full.

We journaled. We envisioned ourselves on a beach, walking to the pier and seeing a wooden bench. There was someone on that bench, someone familiar. The person was ourselves. Not in physical resemblance, but it was us in our essence. In meditation, we all spent time with our individual essence’s, asking whatever questions were necessary for self-liberation, answering back at ourselves. It was powerful. For the answers are already within us. confronting our innermost selves requires time, requires that we slow down, that we breath. We don’t often prioritize that in our seemingly busy lives. Self-care is revolutionary, it is necessary.

We then went downstairs into a different room and seated ourselves in a circle. We spoke of what we wanted. A sister spoke of needing strength as she persists in her fight with breast cancer. Another sister spoke of being held, how she seeks a space in which she can unapologetically be held, be still, and be heavy.

Heaviness. Too often I hear the emphasis of the desire to be light after meditation. The longing for being elevated and one with air. But wow. To just be heavy? It got me thinking. To find a space or person to hold you and your heaviness. Your overthinking, your energy, your inclination to resist. To find that container to let you be fluid and void of the need to resist… because when they move with you in their acceptance of you, there is no longer anything to even resist. You’re peacefully able to just be. We all deserve that.

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