Doing You is OKAY, sis.

Being in such fast-moving environments, I've started making more of an effort to be conscious of what I'm feeling mentally and physically. It's much different from what I'm used to doing (which is pushing through to the point of total burnout and spiraling into a deep bout of depression), and it's working for me. When I'm tired, I take a nap. When I feel sick, I take care of myself. I burn candles to help me wind down after a long day. When I'm feeling sluggish and bloated, I pay attention to what I'm eating. 

Over the past few months, simply making time for myself and protecting my own energy has given me some awesome results. I smile more, my skin has never been better, and I'm more productive when it comes to things like getting my grad school homework done wayyyy ahead of deadlines.

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With all of the positive changes I'm making to treat myself with more love and care, it still hurts a bit when I'm made fun of for choosing my own wellness above everything else. I have a hard time digesting pasta now, which I used to be able to eat every day without fail. So I switched to quinoa to try something different. I still do pasta every once in a while, but I have to add in a ton more veggies when I do so that I'm not in nearly as much pain. At first, EVERYBODY made fun of me and my quinoa. Family members would comment about me eating "bird food." Some people would go as far as to say that I was trying to "copy white folks". I've even had folks ask me where my real food is, and call my plate gross! Honestly, it used to make me feel so small and like I just needed to suck it up and suffer through eating all the stuff that would have me in pain for days on end. Self-confidence is something I have to work at all the time, so feeling attacked for being willing to eat better for myself used to really get me wayyyyy down. And every time I'd fall back into eating the stuff that I knew would make me sick because it was easier than having to explain myself. But then one day I was like, 

GIRL. If it's helping you, it has nothing to do with anybody else. Let them pick!

I'd only ever share if people asked, but I don't outwardly talk about my food decisions now. Because, why? I probably eat meat a couple of days out of the week. Not because I'm trying to make a statement, but I'm noticing more and more how different foods affect my mood and ability to get shit done. And I mean, that's the key, right? How you gonna be a girl boss out here and constantly feeling sick and shut in? Besides, I season the crap out of my food so don't worry about me. I'll make it just fine. 

Why Emotional Check-ins are Important for Black Women

The concept of "Community over Competition" goes against everything we've ever been taught. In environments rampant with misogynoir, we're often told that other black women are meant to be our rivals. It's an unspoken law that we must never be vulnerable. We're taught that only some of us are worthy of success and that we must take what we can get at the end of the day. 

That way of thinking got old for me so quickly. 

Who do I turn to the most for support with ventures like this blog or starting the journey of graduate school? OTHER BLACK WOMEN. I look to you all because you know exactly what it's like to feel as if you're working three times as hard for minimal payoff while others are recognized for simply breathing. Many of us come from a culture where showing emotion doesn't exist, and one where you'd take care to never utter the word "depression" and think that anyone will take you seriously. I surround myself with women who won't dismiss me with "Just pray," because sometimes I just need to be heard.

My emotional check-ins look like a weekly get-together surrounded by food and beverages with my amazing friend Andrea over at Motherland Essentials. We talk about our weeks, relationships, and the tone-deaf interactions we encounter in mostly-white spaces. Check-ins don't HAVE to be "How are you feeling today?" Ours look like tables full of food and laughing about how the only shape we'll ever get into is round (you all can thank Andrea for that clever line via late night text thread). Sometimes a black woman just needs to vent without the societal and cultural pressure of maintaining a wall of strength against everything thrown in her direction. 

Good food. Good drinks. Good vibes. Good life.

Good food. Good drinks. Good vibes. Good life.

How often do you check up on the black women in your life? Let me know in the comments below!