Happy New Year! No doubt this is a phrase that you’ve heard and said many times, in recent days. You’ve also probably heard and seen many people talking and posting about their new year’s resolutions and goals for the year. This is always the case, as the New Year represents an opportunity to ‘start over’. And I’m no different. In the last couple of weeks, I thought long and hard about the personal changes I want and need to make. I’ve had long discussions with friends and colleagues. I’ve even thought about making a vision board – a visual depiction and reminder of all the things that I want to work toward in the coming year.
Now truth be told, I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions, because I know the likelihood of me sticking to them is small. Yet this year, I thought long and hard about what changes I need to make. Of course, I want to save more money, lose weight, eat right, and travel more! Hell, who doesn’t want to do these things. However, I want to focus on something deeper and more meaningful to my overall well-being and happiness. So the one thing I am resolving to do this
year, and am fully committed to, is increasing the amount of time and attention I put into my own personal SELF CARE.
As a Black woman, I think implementing some type of self-care is essential!! While self-care is important for all people, I really want to emphasize how important it is for Black women. In our
society, Black women are often stereotyped as being “The Strong Black Woman”, who takes care of others and manages everything against all odds. Many of us take on the burden of this stereotype, often out of necessity. I know I’m guilty!! But we can’t bear the weight of this stereotype, without much personal sacrifice! We have to find ways to affirm ourselves, even as the rest of the world continues to incorrectly and unjustly label us. WE HAVE TO TAKE BETTER CARE OF OURSELVES!! PERIOD!!
I define self-care as those things which not only improve my health and well-being, but also those things that increase my sense of contentment and happiness. For me this means, taking my time to be by myself and to reflect. It means increasing my ability to be honest with myself, forgiving myself for past mistakes, releasing control over things, and not being scared to move forward. It
means admitting my flaws, seeking help when I need it, being OK when things don’t to go the way I envision, and being OK with NOT being OK. One thing I am keenly aware of is that I’m tired…..and it’s time to change, it’s time to evolve!! And this applies in all areas of life: physical, spiritual, financial, and emotional.
So whether I attend a yoga or dance class, sing LOUDLY in the shower, stop cleaning up and fixing other people’s mess, stepping away from certain people and/or situations, or simply closing my door and drinking a nice glass of wine, I resolve to be 100% committed to me!! If I don’t, who
So my suggestions for increasing you level of self-care include
1. Being honest with yourself about the areas of your life which you are unhappy with or are stressed by.
2. Identify activities or things that increase your level of happiness/contentment and decrease your level of stress.
3. Set aside time for you to focus on yourself and maintain boundaries around this time. This can be tricky for parents, especially single parents (I know I have struggled), but it’s a MUST DO!
4. Have the courage to follow through with your plans, no matter how far-fetched, and do it! Let me
provide a personal example. Growing up, I wanted to become a professional dancer and in recent year, I have really regretted not following this dream. Now realistically, at 41 with 2 kids to raise, I am not going to fulfill this dream. However, I can take a dance class and get back into the groove!
5. Take time to pray and/or meditate. Taking take to quiet your mind, body, and spirit is so important!! It can improve your physical, mental, and emotional health and refuel you for the challenges of life!!
The key is to find what works for you and to JUST DO IT!
So here’s to 2014 and taking care of US!!
I have recently gone through some major changes in my life that have caused me a considerable amount of joy, but also huge amount of discomfort and stress. A few weeks ago, I became an official member of the Sandwich Generation. For those that don’t know, the Sandwich Generation is the term used to describe the growing number of middle aged people (mostly) who are simultaneously raising children and caring for their elderly parents. The term is used to describe the position that many people find themselves in between the responsibility of being a parent and the needs/demands of caring for a sick parent. What you are left with is very little space and time for yourself.
I am a single parent of 2 active children. I am always running between dance classes, soccer practice, cheerleading competitions, PTA/Teacher meetings (at 2 different schools), doctor appointments, play dates, teen activities, and trying to find time to spend ‘special’ individual time with each child. Oftentimes, I have to look to ‘my village’ to assist me in covering all that my kids require.
I am also the daughter of a chronically ill parent. My Mother is suffering with moderate Dementia and Chronic Kidney Disease. Previously, my Mom lived in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, due to the level of care she needed. I was never really comfortable with her living arrangements, but also knew that financially and time wise, taking care of her would be extremely difficult. However, after my Mother ended up in the hospital, due to poor care on the facility’s part, I declared that she was coming home.
During the time she was in the hospital, I became incredibly anxious about how I would manage all the responsibility that would fall on my shoulders. I dealt with feelings of sadness about sacrificing the little time that I already had to myself, the additional cost of adding another person to my household, and the additional work of physically assisting her in daily functioning. I got into several arguments with my older sibling, who has a grown child and is financially in a better place, over why she couldn’t be the one to take care of mom. I was totally frustrated and felt like my life was over!!
You’ve got to understand!! Here I was, recently divorced, rebuilding my life with my children, finally being able to afford to do special things for myself and my children, starting to want to date again and BAM!! Now all of that would be swept out the door: time gone, privacy gone, freedom gone, life gone!!! I am ashamed to admit it, but that is honestly how I felt. I was mourning the loss of my space, time, and freedom. However, I am also a person of consciousness and I listen when God’s voice speaks to me. As a result, during my lamenting, I heard God telling me “you can do it” and “you will find a way to make it work." So I followed that small, still voice and my heart and brought mom home.
Since Mom has been home, there have been adjustments for everyone. My children have had to adjust to having less of my attention and are learning to be more responsible and independent. I have had to become better at managing my time. My mother has had to adjust to being around boisterous kids and running around to their activities. I have had to continue to lean HARD on my dad, who will do ANYTHING for my Mother, despite being divorced for 30+ years. And we all have had to get used to my Mother’s mood swings and agitation/frustration that comes with Dementia. It’s been BUSY and HARD!! And I am truly ‘sandwiched’ in between the needs of someone else. There are days were I don’t stop moving until 11pm and I am exhausted beyond words. I’ve had to pass on many social engagements and hanging out with friends. I’ve had to watch my pennies a whole lot closer! I continue to have days where I’m frustrated, too tired, totally impatient and grumpy, but I know that God has a plan and I know that we are all being blessed in this process!
The truth is, I don’t know how much longer my mother will be with us! I have several friends who have lost their Mothers and even though I know it will happen, I really can’t even imagine it!!! I LOVE MY MOTHER and in the end, I’m blessed to have this time and opportunity. I remind myself of this daily and, with God’s grace, continue to put my best foot forward.
I have been thinking and talking about starting a blog for quite some time and thanks to my fellow #EducatedHoodChicks, I'm finally doing it!! There's nothing like having people in your corner who are willing to listen to you, support your endeavours, and even give you a little (or BIG) push, when you need it!
So what will my blog be about?? Well, I love to talk/converse about politics, culture, social justice issues, Mommy issues, love, and relationships!! You ask me.....I definitely got an opinion!! Hell, I got an opinion even if you don't ask me! However, despite all my opinions, the thing that I am most passionate about (at least at this time) is REDISCOVERING LIFE & PURPOSE. Having recently divorced and moved back to the Bay Area with my children, I have truely felt revitalized! I'm starting life over again, but instead of being discouraged and down about it, I am excited and overwhelmed by the possibilities my 'new life' is presenting!! I'm starting to take stock on my life in certain areas and am poised to make some life changing decisions and moves this year!! And I want to encourage others to do the same.....to take their lemons and make some good ass lemonade!! Sure, I hit roadblocks along the way and question my strength and abilities, but I am FINDING MY WAY and determined to win!!
Being an Educated Hood Chick should not be equated with being 'bourgeois', 'siddity', or 'stuck-up'. An Educated Hood Chick is not a woman who has 'moved on up to the East Side' and doesn't remember where she came from. On the contrary, an Educated Hood Chick is a woman who is confident and comfortable with who she is. She is comfortable operating in different circles, without missing a beat. She's used to being one of few or the only, yet knows her very presence makes all the difference in the world. An Educated Hood Chick is a woman who desires and seeks betterment for herself, her family, and her community. She is willing to use her talents, time, resources, and knowledge to improve herself and those around her. An Educated Hood Chick is down to earth, well rounded, and down for the cause! So get to know us!