Be a Social Justice Warrior While Being at Peace with Yourself
What are some things that you can do individually to affirm your worth? Black joy is an act of resistance.
As protests nationwide grew in response to the ruthless murder of George Floyd, my timelines became flooded with content, both inspiring and disheartening.
I had to spend my time trying to dodge graphic imagery of Black people’s lives that was being shared carelessly by those who don’t realize the trauma they induce on others through what they share because they most they’ll experience is shock at other people’s experiences rather than the dangers of living the experience themselves. Try as I might to not drain myself educating others and becoming the advocate for an entire race to my non-Black peers, the chaos followed me everywhere.
I left Facebook alone more frequently only for LinkedIn-the platform I spend basically all my free time on-to be filled with its own tomfoolery. I watched as caring people of all races around me put in extra hours to compile resources for those willing to learn and engage in lengthy discussions with those who were not. Being Black is a blessing. The way Black people are treated is not. It’s exhausting as is to go through the macro and microaggressions of daily life but when the whole internet decides to be talking about things that are actually extremely triggering, exhausting becomes defeating.
I refuse to be defeated. I focus on empowerment. I advised my Black peers to invest energy in joy and not take time to help problematic people collect their thoughts if they’re not collecting a check for it. Some took my advice quite literally and started charging for emotional labor, as they should. Some continued to engage with trolls and ignorant but earnest folk alike. Bless their hearts.
As for me and my house, anything that costs me my peace is too expensive.
I labor enough for the world and I wasn’t going to be sucked into feeling pressured to do more than I already was because it was trending. I know myself and what I do based in integrity; not clout. So as Black Lives Matter initiatives grew around the world, I turned inward to my world and decided to focus my efforts on this Black life and her joy.
I have a habit of meditating but as white men felt entitled to playing “Devil’s advocate” in my inbox and my closest friends turned on me to reveal their true colors, a simple breath wasn’t enough anymore to keep away the panic attacks, and the crying, and shaking. I cannot afford therapy so I turned to a humorous alternative.
I found this meditation while in college as a joke but in the heights of my anger, sorrow, frustration, grief, fear, and pain, F*ck That was exactly what I needed. I laid in my bed thinking of all the insensitive and outright violent things that I had been exposed to throughout the day and I went through them all saying F*CK THAT! Is it an equal replacement for the very much needed therapy? Never. But we’re resilient and resourceful so we make lemonade out of lemons.
I cried a lot grieving all the beautiful souls mercilessly taken too soon while listening to this song. Prayers for all my kings, queens, and non-binary royalty. Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King. Hallelujah.
A lot of messed up stuff happened with my classmates on Tuesday, June 2nd. Luckily, Tuesday, June 2nd is also when my new hair products came in the mail.
Black hair is an unnecessarily contentious topic so I enjoyed being able to talk some time to nourish and strengthen my luscious locks while unwinding for all the useless ways systematic oppression locks me in. I showed love to parts of me that the world does not treat with love and that type of validation is so powerful. Treat yourself how you want to be treated. We can’t wait for others to show us what we rightfully deserve. We have to shower it (in this case, literally) on ourselves and let the world catch up. Or not. Either way, we’re shining. Thriving. With or without your consent and co-sign.
My favorite esthetician is a beautiful Black woman, LA Beautyologist. I recently got her suggested cleanser (that’s affordable. A lot of her other recommendations are top shelf and out of my price range currently.) to show love to my precious skin. While the world struggles to figure out why it loves my culture but not me, I poured a lot of love into myself. This is really up to the oppressors to fix and you’re not going to make me kill myself slowly through stress and exhaustion by getting into a fix about the issues you refuse to acknowledge.
So, to all my sun-kissed siblings, I’ll ask the question I asked at the beginning: What are some things that you can do individually to affirm your worth? I’ve shown you some of my ways of affirming my worth and not letting myself be brought down by those who are foolish enough not to see it. This is all very taxing. Treat yourself to the care that you deserve.