If you haven't heard Solange's new album "A Seat At The Table", please allow yourself the space and time to be heard. Heard because Solange clearly responds to the woman inside screaming for understanding and solidarity.
A work of art and genius, Solange's album resonates with ideals of self-care, community, solidarity, knowing your worth, and #BlackGirlMagic. One of my favorites, "Cranes In The Sky", is a beacon of #iSeeYouSis. Bringing light to the oh-so common life of some black women. Myself included.
With few (but growing; shoutout to BGIO) spaces of solidarity and acceptance, many black women are creating and taking on what feels like substitutes for what we each really need: ______ (fill in the blank).
In her lyrics, Solange keeps it real: "I tried to drink it away ... I tried to dance it away ... I tried to work it away ... I tried to sex it away." I mean, the lyrics alone, acknowledging the many fillers we grasp to fill voids or ignore them completely sent chills down my spine. "Have I gotten that disconnected with myself?", I've asked numerous times, ashamed. We have found so many ways to work AROUND what we need to work THROUGH. I dare not generalize but the sadness and craving for value I've experienced has often been pacified with multiple jobs, multiple roles at church, passion projects for myself and friends, interpersonal relationships, responsibility for others, and the nightly glass(es) of red wine (Malbec, please). Don't get me wrong -- self-care can look like therapy or twerking, wings or writing, sleeping or support groups. But what's the motive? Are we filling time with "busyness" to suppress what's requesting to be addressed? Probably ...
I have personally put over 7,000 miles on a car I purchased in May due to "busyness". I can't sit still. Stillness brings quietness and guilt -- that I should either escape my thoughts and/or remain productive outside of myself. And that's my error of self-sabotage.
I have often been challenged to spend a weekend at home to take care of my space(s), myself, and essentially spend time recharging. However, the way society has crowned the busy, independent, Jackie-of-all-trades type black woman as the epitome of damn near perfection, that's what I've been crawling my way towards.
There is nothing wrong with having goals and relentless ambition. But -- when your striving derails you towards perfection and away from happiness, wholeness -- you're bound to wreck.
There is no better way to love yourself than without conditions and sans expectations for perfection. Even in this reflection I am loving and not chastising myself (or anyone else) because these areas for improvement also reflect authenticity; the imperfections that make "ME".
So, is this process a perfect one? No. Hell no! And that's it. Because I'll journey to happiness, embracing uncertainty, controlling my self-care, with a glass of wine for the ride.