It’s February, the month that symbolizes love for many, as well as black history. So, I’ve decided to make this blog about black love, particularly self-love. No, I’m not talking about masturbation, even though that a perfectly natural and normal thing to do. I’m speaking more to the self-care aspect of things. The fact of the matter is, statistically, minorities as a whole, engage in less self-care activities than their white counterparts. Studies have found a positive correlation to both a lack of funds and access to be the cause of this. There is another factor that isn’t as explored, possibly because of the difficult nature to test it; it’s the social and cultural aspect. Minorities, often report, not believing that they have the time for self-care activities or feeling that they are deserving of it. A popular ideology surrounding the fortitude of African Americans and is often simplified in the form of the compliment, “strong black woman” or “strong black man” is slowly killing so many black people. The belief that strong only looks one way, and that it doesn’t include self-care is a false, and very destructive narrative. You can be strong and cry. You can be strong and have depression. Taking care of yourself if not selfish.
Often, when people think of self-care, they think about the big things. The lavish vacations, the expensive dinner dates, the weekend getaways, etc. Self-care can be something as small as getting enough rest or taking a long walk. It literally doesn’t cost any money to do many self-care acts. A lack of self-care has strained our society greatly. I get it, it difficult to find the time to do some of these things, but it is a must. I’m a diagnosed insomniac, I can literally go days without sleeping if I’m not careful and I have done it. In undergrad it was unfortunately, a common occurrence. I would use my insomnia as a tool wielded to complete homework, go to work and still maintain a very active social life. The problem is, the body needs sleep, and if you don’t give your body the rest it needs, eventually, it will take it. And, when it does, it might be at the most inopportune time. One such instance, was during a test. I literally knocked out in the middle of a test. Luckily, I had a good relationship with my professor, and she allowed me to retake it. You would think I would have learned from that lesson, but I was stubborn (still kinda am) and had a slight invincibility complex, so I didn’t. Over and over, I found myself in these situations; until one day I ran off the road. It was a lonely road so there was no traffic, and thankfully I wasn’t hurt, but I could have been. I could have died. All I kept thinking to myself was, “how on earth did I get here?”. Why do I keep doing this to myself?” I learned my lesson that day. It shouldn’t have taken that long, but it did. I had a plethora of excuses of why I couldn’t just go to bed like a “normal person”. I used to even brag about my ability, to essentially abuse my body to get things done.
How many times have you made an excuse regarding taking care of yourself? How many times have you told yourself that you don’t have time, to take time for you? In today’s society, there is the “hustle” mentality that you have to constantly work and anything that’s not related to working is a waste of time. THAT IS A LIE! The saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” should be expanded to………”all work and no play makes Jack, depressed, anxious, develop chronic fatigue, and develop other mental health issues that can lead to physical issues”. Basically, all work and no play can literally kill you. It might seem dramatic, but that doesn’t negate it as a fact. I understand that sometimes, taking care of yourself can be difficult and inconvenient, but not taking care of yourself, can and will have longer and possibly more permanent negative effects. If you are tired, try to sleep. If you are hungry, try to eat. If you are sick, stay home from work (if you can, because I know how jobs can be). Find a hobby, invest in it and do it as often as you can.
The main question is, do you care enough about yourself, to actually take care of yourself?