The other night, I got the much needed chance to just relax my mind and let my conscious be free. I was able to indulge in a few well needed and well priced might I add, Hennessy peach cherry whatchumacallits with two of my closest college homies. A bunch of drinks, a few Salmon burgers, and Jerk wings later, we all left elated.
Shit was everything.
Now I gotta preference this properly. These are my college road dawgs. My guyzer Mustapha and our beautiful boujee counterpart Vanessa, were literally my right and left hands through all of my collegiate years. So while it’s always great to catch up and bug out over old memories and new successes, in all honesty we usually just link and rip into each other’s love life.
LOL! Shit’s always so refreshingly comical and reflective.
Moments like this are so necessary in our pursuit of wellness.
Lately and especially in light of the recent events of the past week or so, I’ve been feeling White supremacist burnout y’all.
That feeling Black folk experience when the atrocities committed by the privilege of Wypipo and the structures that perpetuate and maintain White supremacy and racism just become too much to bear.
IT’S WHITE OPPRESSIVE-EXHAUSTION.
I mean it’s exhausting being Black in this racist ass country. I think I realized during Obama’s presidency, aka The only President I acknowledge, that this country was still racist as ever. I ain’t gon lie though; a brother felt a bit at ease knowing that one of my kinfolk was the Commander and Chief.
Now, while I was slightly chillaxing, I was not totally at ease enough to think that I wouldn’t be shot down by the police for simply being a Black male. Not at ease enough to think that this country believes that Black Lives do in fact, actually matter. I definitely was not at ease enough to think that White supremacy was actually coming to an end or that the institutions built on it would be dismantled overnight.
Like I said, I was slightly at ease, but I ain’t no fool yall.
In all honesty, the ease I felt came from watching Africans in America break such a monumental barrier and the thought that more systematic divides and racial barriers were going to be broken.
But at this current point in time, I feel so much that just isn’t synonymous with ease or comfort. I feel all of the:
That every conscious Black person in this country feels.
- In the wake of Charlottesville I realize that self care is necessary.
I realize that the burnout I’m experiencing is very real and that that burnout/trauma is not relegated to myself alone. We are all experiencing the weight of the times in some way or another but y’all know Black folks be feeling it on a whole other level. It’s that Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome that Dr. Joy Degruy speaks of In her book by the same name. The generational trauma that Africans in America deal with from never being allowed to properly heal after the oppressive American original sin of Chattel Slavery.
That’s why last night was so needed because self care for me and my millennial counterparts equates to:
- Physical contact
- Greasy ass fried food
- Late nights
- Spontaneous and usually random excursions
- And anything else that frees my mind of the bullshit. Wink wink. LOL!
Honestly, for me, self care is a relatively new thing. I live life neglectfully and in a such a way that I’ve often placed myself and my own personal wellness last on my list of priorities. But lately it’s been ever more clear to me as I do this work and as I get older, that if I don’t take care of numero uno then I can’t be all I need to be to those around me and my larger community.
So recently, ya boy had to change what self care looks like and let me tell y’all THIS THANG IS DIFFERENT. Nowadays, self care is split into two important categories. The first being physical self care. In the physical, self care for me looks like:
- Exercise; playing basketball.
- Grooming of my beard. Gotta keep the beard fresh.
- Cleaner eating habits: Fish. Lots of FISH Dammit, and very little red meat or fried food.
- Water, TONS OF WATER.
- Rest. Yoo. Nah. All my years of being neglectful, the one thing I need to do is attempt to rest and have more downtime. I be all nighttttt( Beyoncé voice.)
I’ve also realized that self care goes way beyond just physical wellness. It actually entails a deeper level of mental wellness in unison with the physical to form the ultimate harmony. In this way self care looks like:
- Engaging in enlightening conversations
- Thought partnering with like minded individuals
- CREAD and The Very Smart Brothas Blog
Even deeper, I realize that we must also preserve our emotional wellbeing. For me that looks like:
- My daughter
- My community
- My inner sanctum or personal space
- My family
My question to you all than becomes, how do you practice self care? Not only in the physical and mental but also the emotional.
How are you refreshing your mind, body, and soul in preparation for going into this new school year stronger?
And as I’ve been told, “Everybody needs a soft place to land”.
So, who’s that soft place for you?
Who do you go to replenish your stores of love and light ?
Who affirms you?
What activities do you partake in to ease your soul and create downtime from the work?
Are you being reflective?
I ask all of this because life in and of itself is hard. People are struggling everyday. I wake up everyday and turn on the news and grimace at the oppression my people face in a country we call home. I think of the work I do on a daily basis around the development of young Black and Brown minds and at times I am lost as I struggle with how to make sense of our reality in this country, let alone how I impart proper knowledge and understanding to them.
At best, it’s my goal and duty to keep central why I do this work and exactly who I do it for. It’s also the understanding that this work is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining . In hopes of always putting our best foot forward and presenting our best self, it is vital that we take proper care of ourselves.
We give so much to the work and the only way we can constantly give is if we restock our stores of love, compassion, care, and commitment. We must realize that our own wellness is profoundly interconnected with the wellness of our communities and planet as a whole. In order to be of service to my people, my community and to help disrupt and dismantle White supremacy, I have to be steadfast and resilient but I also have to be in tip top physical, emotional and mental shape.
To Quote Jay Z:
Survive the droughts, I wish you well-hold up
Survive the droughts, I wish you well.
How sick am I? I wish you Health.
I wish you wheels, I wish you wealth
I wish you insights so you can see for yourself.
In these last weeks, before school starts, take time to get right with yourself. Unwind, disconnect for a bit and come back revitalized.
One last thing, today we honor Nat Turner and his righteous rebellion for freedom on August 21st, 1831, not too far from Charlottesville Virginia. And we honor today as the start of the Haitian Revolution in 1791.
It’s still Black August y’all and after last week we all need to strengthen our resolve by digging into our history.
I’ll see you all in September.
Hold it down good people!