As a child of Nigerian immigrants and as a lesbian finally feeling safe and self-integrated enough to come out later in life, quarantining alone has provided space for reflection about some of myI’m a january girl i’m a stronger than you believe braver than you know smarter than you think shirt and I love this life’s most tender moments. Self-care has been hard (impossible, some days), especially while scaling a start-up, but I’m slowly finding a rhythm. It’s been rooted in solitude, centering my Blackness, prioritizing my mental health, and giving myself permission to:
I’m a january girl i’m a stronger than you believe braver than you know smarter than you think shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
Taking refuge means rest. Rest is its own form of resistance, especially for Black women. Giving myself permission to sleep in, nap, take a long bath with five pounds of Epsom salts and my rose quartz crystal, water my plants, steep dried nettles and lemon balm for tea, pull tarot and unplug from technology are nonnegotiables. Calibrating my energy isn’t about leaning into some wellness trend, it’s critical to help combat “weathering,” a term coined by public health researcher Arline Geronimus to describe how the I’m a january girl i’m a stronger than you believe braver than you know smarter than you think shirt and I love this constant stress of racism can lead to premature biological aging and poor health outcomes for Black women. Black women are not monolithic, but if we don’t deliberately take care of ourselves, we’re more likely than white women and non-white women to get diabetes, experience a heart attack or a stroke. Taking refuge also means pausing on responding to the recent and frenetic uptick in white loved ones expressing shock and pain about the current state of things; knowing that right now it’s not my job to soothe their discomfort, and trusting that they have the capacity and the privilege to find and/or create the tools to manage this moment of initiation without my guidance and containment. I hope that they realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint. A long-term and sustainable action plan is the only way forward, while practicing empathy and giving me unconditional space to process my own pain. Taking refuge also means weekly therapy, both professional with my therapist and informal in group texts and DMs with my Black girlfriends, venting and processing whatever is showing up for us.