Self-Preservation & #BlackGirlJoy
No one cares for Black Women
Not even Black Women
By this, I have realized that, when it comes to taking care of our emotional selves, Black women do not even prioritize it
We somehow have spent our entire lives being praised for loving everyone but ourselves
There is this false sense of pride that we have bought into that states our value exists in how much we sacrifice for others
We are praised for Riding and Dying
But not for Loving Ourselves and Thriving
We are Bonnie to his Clyde
Instead of his being Mark Antony to our Cleopatra
Even when we have existed within movement spaces, there has been this spoken and unspoken rule that we sacrifice parts of ourselves while centering what matters to others
We are dismissed when we bring up race in gender-based movements
And denigrated when we discuss gender within racial ones
There is no place that fully appreciates Black women
Even within the hearts of Black women
Yet, it is not because we possess this false “magic” or “superwoman resiliency”,
We do suffer and we know it
We are just not given permission to heal from it
During this time when the racial injustices that have been the lived experiences of Black women are making it into the national spotlight again
During this moment when the long-standing effect of health disparities and access to basic services for Black folks has shown up in how COVID19 impacts us
Black women continued to be faced with stress and trauma with “no time” to address it
Yet, we must begin to take time.
It was Audre Lorde who stated “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation”. Our lives, our sanity must be saved.
We as Black Women must learn
1. We deserve to exist---we cannot continue to be martyrs for others to the detriment of our emotional well-being
2. We owe ourselves therapy-our emotional wellness must matter
3. We need to seek out Black Women-Centered Spaces—where we cannot only be vulnerable and sit in our shared experiences, but also assist each other in centering ourselves
4. We must take breaks-the movement will be there. Our children will be there. We will not be able to be fully present if we do not take even brief moments to guarantee our own existence
5. We must demand our seat at the table—no movement in which we are a part should only focus on a piece of us
6. We must love Black Women---even when no one else does. Even when we have bought into the messages that we should not.
7. We should find joy-because finding joy in a world that wants to harm us---IS an act of resistance
Dr. Dent is a licensed psychologist. Her hardest job is being a Black Woman who centers the experiences of Black women and girls. She is trying to make time to rest.