Written by C. Nikole
As black women, we are denied the luxury of identity. More often than not we are birthed into roles of responsibility that do not directly benefit our growth and development. We are born into roles of caregiver and motherhood before we have the opportunity to create families of our own. Often we adopt these tasks, titles, and expectations before we are issued a school supply list. We then are expected to live and evolve into healthy functioning members of a very needy society. An even more overwhelming fact being that we accomplish it! Even with these burdensome worries and responsibilities many of us manage to rise to the top of our desired fields, industries, and endeavors we prosper effortlessly.
However, every black woman has faced that dreaded moment of not so clear clarity where we ask ourselves “Who am I?” or “What am I doing?” You are not validated by your degrees, you no longer feel connected to your career, hell, you may not even know if you like your husband and children for real! If you are a woman who prides herself on the things around her representing her satisfaction with life then these realizations can cause you to panic. The revelations vary but the realization remains that none of what you did or are doing is for you. Your whole life, for lack of better wording, becomes a crisis.
However, the ever resilient Black woman can combat these crossroads of identity with three simple steps. These actions will only cost you time, and for the average woman that’s less dispensable than money. I challenge you to view these small lifestyle alterations as vital and as lucrative as monetary investments to one’s estate. Below are the three things I have done, and recommend you do, to help foster a renewed sense of self:
- Devote Time to Meditation.
I’d bet my next paycheck that in the year 2016 someone has led a crusade for the vitality of meditation in your own life. There are tons of chants, breathing techniques, and poses recommended in order to facilitate this level of enlightenment. This section is not that. I will simply state this alone time for anyone, is very rare but also extremely important. Alone time with intent is life changing, and that is meditation in its most simplistic form. As a Black woman, we become our obligations. We are siblings, children, aunts, spouses, students, bosses before we ever get the chance to be ourselves. We know what role these obligations play in our lives but rarely are we afforded the space and opportunity to sit and assess the role we play in these situations. This is where even five minutes of meditation is key. When you allot time to abandon worldly responsibilities you allow The Creator to slowly reveal who you are to yourself.
- Recall, Reclaim and Accomplish a Forgotten Childhood Dream
We were at our purest form as children and despite societies rhetoric we were at our most aware as well. Even those of us with traumatic or unconventional upbringings can recall a time of conscience before life got the best of us. Where our dreams were limitless and time was infinite. We knew were going to be doctors, lawyers, chefs, pianists, actresses, singers and mothers, all at the same time. Sadly, life destroyed a lot of who were as children requiring us to trade in hope, imagination, and determination for practicality and responsibility. I challenge you to resurrect your childhood self. Thru meditation or rummaging through childhood trinkets try and recall a dream or goal you once had, big or small, and fight to accomplish that as you would a goal set as an adult. If you wanted to sing, join a neighborhood or church choir. Interested in acting, seek out some small auditions. Wanted to run your own lemonade stand, get that cardboard and markers, and start experimenting on that money making recipe. In the process of achieving said goal you will begin to unlock feelings and emotions of freedom. Hopefully stirring up the memories of a life you lived only for yourself.
- Say No.
That’s it. No explanation is needed. Saying yes has been programmed into a lot of our beings. We feel obligated to do all we can in a way that we can for everyone except ourselves. Yes is a commitment, no is an option. When we say yes to even the smallest gesture we obligate our energy to said situation. Redefine the role ‘no’ plays in your life and use it liberally. Since we are afforded the luxury as humans to change our minds, ‘no’ does not have to completely void you of responsibility, it gives you the option of delegating your own contribution to any circumstance.
I pray these practices elevate you as they have me, no matter where you are in this journey called life. Peace and love.