On self care & revolution
It is revolutionary to be a happy black woman in the midst of microaggressions & police brutality. Institutionalized racism & Facebook videos. Peaceful & unpeaceful protests. Every smile we smile and every laugh that bubbles to the surface is an act of revolution because… they don’t want us to be happy.
Well let me clarify – they do want us to THINK we’re happy. They provide bread & circuses for a reason. But it is revolutionary to find our own happiness and for peace to well from within us.
July 7th. After #AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastille (#whosenamesshouldnotbehashtags) every major city across the nation rose up in peaceful protest. Can you imagine what the headlines could have been?
“BREAKING: America realizes #BlackLivesMatter”
“STORY: How America woke up”
But Dallas flipped the narrative. Police fallen were idolized and black lives lost were ignored because now the U.S. public had to choose between black lives and white lives and – well, you know how that goes.
So I grieved: for our victims of police terrorism, for the night that could have been & my hope that had suddenly gone MIA. There was a brokenness in folks that no healing circle nor vigil seemed to mend.
Revolution. See, they wanted to break us to the point where we could no longer fight. And maybe we still didn’t know how to pick up arms quite yet, but after all they put us through we might still have had the strength in us to smile.
Self care. That weekend I went away. I traveled to the redwoods with someone I trusted and slept under a leafy canopy 200 feet up, and I witnessed a tree that was born the same year as Christ. There was something about standing inside the trunk of a tree that could hold twelve other people that reaffirmed my humanity. Or, at least, that no matter what color my skin was, that tree was still older, wiser, taller, stronger and deeper breathing than any human could claim to be.
Everyone has their own way of healing, and not everyone can find solace in a redwood forest. But when it comes to self-care, I have found three takeaways:
You ARE revolutionary. That doesn’t give you or me an excuse to do nothing in the face of injustice; it does mean that you are enough and when you have had enough it is OK to breathe and collect yourself before you get back to it.
Surround yourself with people who uplift you. It is not fair to burden the oppressed with teaching the oppressor. That said, we must speak up for ourselves when no one else can share our experiences. Just ensure that after that conversation is had and you feel drained or offended or (hopefully) optimistic, you can process those feelings with someone who will validate you.
Love, love, love. Don’t turn the other cheek, but have compassion where compassion is due. Love yourself. The more you hate, the more your heart shrivels up and dries—and a dry heart is as bad for you as it is for the movement.
Don’t let them steal your happiness.
Love & Revolution,