Still choose you this year, sis.
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“I need to see my own beauty and to continue to be reminded that I am enough, that I am worthy of love without effort, that I am beautiful, that the texture of my hair and that the shape of my curves, the size of my lips, the color of my skin, and the feelings that I have are all worthy and okay.”
Actress Tracee Ellis Ross knows the deal about womanhood, Black self-love and knowing to walk away when that is not serving you anymore.
Black women, it’s time to choose yourself in the new year and every day after that.
Simply put, it’s opposition that speak negatively about Black women’s bodies, come for them through mainstream media, partners, family and friends, and other forms of oppression that could leave them feeling helpless.
But it’s a new day and creating positive narratives (and ignoring the false ones) can do wonders for self-esteem and shape one’s reality.
Author and world-renowned traveler Zee Clarke recently talked to the Michigan Chronicle about Black women prioritizing themself through her new Black women affirmations and talks about going beyond new year’s resolutions.
“In my book, ‘Black People Breathe,’ I invite people to adopt the phrase, ‘Today, I choose me,’” she said. “We often prioritize work and family obligations over our own self-care. However, if we consistently neglect ourselves, this can slowly lead to burnout. Our mental and physical health can suffer to such a degree that we can’t be there for others. To me, cherishing your soul means taking the time to pause and ask yourself, ‘How am I doing? And, what do I need right now?’”
As an avid traveler, Clarke notes that different cultures practice mindfulness, which can make all the difference.
“I noticed huge contrasts in how different cultures practice mindfulness,” she said of her travels that include India and Ghana. “When I was in Ghana, I had the opportunity to learn djembe drumming and dancing. This, too, brought me a sense of inner peace and wholeness. I felt connected to something much greater than me. Many people might not consider African drumming and dancing to be mindfulness, however, your entire attention is focused on the here and now. You are fully immersed in the rhythms. You allow your entire being, your body, mind and soul, to be one with the music. This, too, is mindfulness.”
Clarke uses deep breathing techniques, which she describes as a “game changer” along with sound healing.
“We hold a lot of stress in our bodies. This rejuvenating practice allows us to release the stress and finally rest,” she said. “It is in rest that we can deeply connect with our truest selves.”
Another new book, “Affirmations for Black Women: A Journal,” is designed to help Black women feel empowered and embrace their self-worth through reflective journaling,
Oludara Adeeyo, psychotherapist and author of “Self-Care for Black Women,” presents her new interactive journal with over 100 affirmations to support, empower and build up Black women in all aspects of their lives — emotional, physical, professional and more.
The book’s readers will discover the significance of affirmations, how to leverage them to pursue their goals, and how to include them into a self-care routine.
Adeeyo is passionate about helping people—especially Black women—improve their overall wellness.
“In a world that perpetuates negative stereotypes about Black women, it’s more important than ever to affirm Black women for their power, brilliance and bravery,” according to the book’s description. “You’ll also learn specifically why affirmations are essential for Black women in order to heal from the effects of misogynoir, to build up your confidence, to build a self-care practice and much more. You’ll discover how to apply affirmations to your daily life and use them in order to manifest what you desire and deserve.”
Adeeyo told the Michigan Chronicle she grew up in a predominantly white and Asian neighborhood, a neighborhood without representation that looked like her.
“So, I always had to pull from within to be inspired, which is an exhausting experience as a child and adolescent,” she said, adding that because of that she internalized negative beliefs about herself and built walls to protect herself from the pains of being rejected. “Sometimes, I didn’t even know I was being rejected until reflecting on it years later. That being said, as a Black woman, I’ve felt the most rejection in the workplace and the doctor’s office.”
At work, Adeeyo was overlooked for a job despite her experience in favor of another woman “fresh out of school.”
“I felt rejected because, at the time, that was my dream job in which I was qualified,” she said, adding that the medical field is racist because some medical experts did not take her pains seriously. “I was constantly met with doctors who redirected and ignored my own insight into my health…. Having to navigate these situations was exhausting.”
Adeeyo, who is a second-generation American (Nigerian-American and Black American) said that she was heavily shaped by her cultural upbringing.
“I do believe that having strong African roots did help me develop a sense of self-worth and identity,” Adeeyo said. “It also made me gain empathy and compassion for others in the African diaspora who do not know their African roots. Because, ultimately, we are all connected. The combination of my strong identification with being Nigerian, as well as learning to fully embrace my Blackness in America resulted in me being very proud to be Black and Nigerian. Identity is a journey. Sometimes you cling to your identity and other times you reject it. I’m so glad to be on the side of loving myself and my identity.”
She adds that Black women especially should reject the boxes that people try to put them into.
“It starts with getting to know yourself. When you know who you are, you are not intimidated by anyone trying to dictate how you should be,” Adeeyo said. “This is why I encourage Black women to practice radical self-care by engaging in activities like affirmations and journaling. Building up your self-worth and confidence will make it easier for you to step out of the way of these prejudices. For example, this can look like speaking up when someone tries to burden you with the role of being a specific Black woman trope. Or, disconnecting from relationships or spaces that are not aligned with your identity.”