the angry black woman (revisited): self-reflection & self-care

Life of a Black Girl

I began this blog as a mark for a school assignment. My own lived experiences were an easy topic to write and I always have a lot to say so DOACBW was born. However, it’s evolved into so much more than that for me.

In my first blog post, I said: “to be black and conscious is to be in a constant state of rage.” I feel that quote in my heart, mind and soul because it is tough to know that you’re in a society that has been systemically built against you. I see it in the media, in our laws and sometimes I even see it right in front of my face – combine this with the idea that to be a strong black woman, I am meant to be self-reliant & self-contained; it’s enough to make anyone angry, don’t you think?

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GIF from Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

Writing this blog has been cathartic for me. Being able to speak up and have those conversations that I may have not been able to approach otherwise is invaluable. This is self-care for me. I think that black women, in particular, should focus on this for themselves to avoid the “black superwoman syndrome” that diminishes our ability to be vulnerable, ask for help and seek comfort.

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Image from Yoga with Allaya.

So here’s a short list I’ve compiled to care for myself:
(because remember, Superman wasn’t strong, he was invincible)

  1. Alone time
    Everyone needs time alone to decompress and self-reflect. My good friend, Trevor, writes a blog about the value of time spent alone so instead of forcing ourselves to be “on” all the time for others, let’s put that energy back where it belongs: for yourself.

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    Image from TheSlumflower.com                                                        (BUY THIS BOOK, IT’S AMAZING)

  2. Dance
    Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to dance. It is a way for me to express every emotion that I can’t always put into words. Plus, it’s fun!

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    Image of me at Miami Beach.

  3. Get outside
    We are currently in the depths of winter (yuck), but sometimes going outside for even a 5-minute walk is a great way to get out of a funk.

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    Image of me with my Pi Beta Phi wings on Grouse Mountain

  4. Your body is a temple
    My father always tells me that the body is resilient and that it will do what needs to so long as I treat it right. Do I follow this sentiment all the time? No, I definitely ate Wendys AND sushi yesterday. However, I drank a lot of water and got the right amount of sleep I needed to so it’s baby steps in the right direction.

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    Image from SpiritualCleanisng.org

  5. Surround yourself with love
    I am fortunate to have so many people who fill my life with joy, light and constant support. I have NO desire for negative people and the minute I notice that someone is consuming that light, I show them the door. Life is hard sometimes and you don’t need anyone who is going to make it harder, intentionally or not.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.”

– Audre Lorde

The elephant in the room: now that my class is done, what am I going to do with this blog?

Well, the show ain’t over until the fat lady sings so the only thing I know is that no matter if continue these conversations I have with you all in person or online, they will continue.

Speaking of which, check me out on December 13th. DOACBW is collaborating with the Artbox Collective!

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Until then, I’m taking my own advice and taking a little break from blogging. Don’t worry, this is not goodbye. It’s just see you later. 😘

xoxo,

A Conscious Black Woman

the POC perspective: culture & confusion

Life of a Black Girl

I’m sure you’ve noticed I talk about the POC culture in this blog, how things are different for us based on how you were raised or the experiences we’ve grown up with.

However, another big part of POC culture is confusion. Think about the term “African-American” – It is known as the politically correct for black individuals, but what does that really mean? Very few of us know our African roots.

 

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Image from salt. by Nayyirah Waheed

 

My mother was born in England and my father was born in Jamaica and when they have thought about tracing their ancestry, they know that they will eventually hit a dead end – not because of lack of documentation, but rather extermination as black slaves had to take on their slave masters’ name thus erasing their history.

 

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Image from Instagram.

 

These are only some sentiments of confusion in black culture specifically. It becomes even more complicated from a bi-racial perspective. This is why I wanted to give the talking stick to someone who also knows the struggles of ethnic ambiguity so I asked Joanna also known as Professional Sad Girl to speak to her experience as a mixed race POC:

Growing up, I started to realize that there was no one who really looked like me. In fact, my parents bought me two dolls when I was born, one white and one brown, because they couldn’t find any that actually looked like me. I didn’t even look particularly like my parents, and my mom was occasionally asked where I was adopted from when we were in public. I spent the majority of my childhood trying to find characters in books and television that I felt like I could relate to in image, with no real success.

 

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Image from Baby & Doll.

 

Racial ambiguity can be pretty lonely. Looking like no one else makes it hard for me to find communities of belonging. Part of this relates to my experience as the child of immigrants: I can’t fully identify with Canadian culture, but I also can’t truly relate to their home culture. Racial and ethnic groups are a great way for POCS to connect with a group of others with similar life experiences, but as a racially ambiguous person I’ve never felt like I could belong within one, or that I would be co-opting a space or identity that’s not really my own.

On one hand, I recognize that I have the unique privilege of evading stereotypes and perceptions associated with specific racial and ethnic groups; sometimes my racial ambiguity and the confusion that surrounds it gives me the opportunity to define myself based on my own personality and values. But that’s only sometimes. A much more common reality I’ve faced is that people treat my ethnic ambiguity like the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter; basically, they take the unidentifiable nature of my race and project whatever they want me to be.

 

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Image from Pottermore.com

 

For example:
• White friends throughout my life have considered me to be a “tan white girl”
• People of Latinx and Hispanic people have spoken to me in Spanish and been annoyed when I explained that I actually was not Latinx/Hispanic/Spanish
• I’ve actually had a man try to convince me that I was lying when I told him that I was not from the Middle East

When I was younger, I really searched for tangible ways to feel a sense of belonging and define myself. Since I attended a dominantly white elementary school, that translated into appearing as “white” and behaving as “white” as possible. The past five years of my life has been a race to reclaim my actual culture, my ethnic ambiguity, and present myself on my own terms while refusing to passively let others impose their ideas upon. I’m still learning and still figuring it out, but it’s a step.

 

xoxo,

A Conscious Black Woman

&

A Professional Sad Girl