Why the Act of Black Women Engaging in Self-Care is Revolutionary
Every now and then, the voice of Malcom X will pop into my head, as he proclaimed a truth that many of us have known for a long time — that the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman; the most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. This statement resonates so much right now in the light of the Surviving R. Kelly Docuseries recently premiering. Our society has shown the world time and time again how little it cares for our lives. People right now, in 2019, watched the premier of the TV documentary and proceeded to then stream his music on Spotify, directly putting more money into his pocket. Despite the survivors’ brave testimonies and the exposé of his atrocities, he continues to profit from his exploitation, defilement and destruction of Black girls. Even the healthcare system does not protect us. Right now there is a maternal and infant mortality rate crisis in the U.S., but only pertaining to Black women. Access to adequate resources only exists for some people and not for others, even in the most affluent countries. This is our world today; the message could not be any louder.
Ironically, Black women are perceived as the universal caregivers by others. It’s particularly true in the media (seriously, I swear every nurse in every movie is played by a Black woman), but even more so in reality; in our personal lives. We are constantly expected to give up pieces of our own happiness for the sake of someone else’s, and we are vilified when we decide not to do it anymore. It can feel like we have the whole world on our backs, at least our individual worlds. But who cares for the caregiver? Some people might not even realize that we, too, are in need of caring. We’ve all heard the cringe-worthy description, “she’s a strong, independent, Black woman,” used way more times than necessary. We give and we give ourselves to the ones we love, and our love for them is abundant. But, we are usually left waiting and waiting to receive the same love in return.
How does one heal from that?
It can be impossible to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” when each time I try, someone or something just knocks me down. When we turn on the news, or even just look to social media, we are constantly shown what the world thinks of us. We’re shown how the world is treating us. Society expects us at the bottom of every barrel, and quite frankly, I think it is actively working to try and keeps us there.
This is why I declare it is revolutionary for us, Black queens, to engage in self-care and self-love right now and out loud. For us to remain able to thrive amongst all the heinous sh*t that is happening to us is extraordinary. When we amount to the greatness of our potential, it scares our oppressors. Look at what Stacey Abrams was able to accomplish in Georgia. They simply could not handle it, because according to their built system, we should be on the bottom looking up to them for help. So, when we are able to pull ourselves back up from the ground with ease, and will no longer be knocked down again, that sparks change. We are the ones creating it.
Having an abundance of love for your whole self, your whole being, is revolutionary. To be affected by how our world is treating us, but to choose love above all of it, is strength. When we are all comfortable in our skin and comfortable with projecting our voices, regardless of whom can hear us, that is revolutionary. Loving our sisters and creating spaces that allow us to be our most authentic, true selves is revolutionary. Whenever I go to community yoga classes for women of colour and practice dedicating time for self-care and self-love with other queens, I think of it as a small act of resistance. We are collectively making our communities stronger when we love ourselves, and we should not hide it. Our healing is revolutionary, because it is paradoxical. Our claiming or reclaiming of our bodies is revolutionary, because to carry the movement of liberation forward, we all need to become the best versions of ourselves, and that is how we become resilient.
These are just my thoughts, anyway (usually during my night-time routine lol). Tell me what yours are!
Thanks so much to anyone reading.