We human beings take a lifetime of experiences and begin to (subconsciously) form the belief that fear is our best friend against pain and suffering, forming the Modern Protection Thoughts that shape each and every action that we take. This pattern of thinking couldn't be more detrimental.
This Mother’s Day we sat down with Chicago’s forerunning style maven Autumn Merritt - a divine creative, wife , mother of two and co-owner of Sir & Madame. With her mother and daughter, they talk multigenerational mothering as a woman of color, love, activism and more. They remind us of the strands woven together in motherhood and the women we become in the sewing.
The beautiful thing is that we can make and clear space for the relationships that will best support us. And we do this through practicing awareness. Make space in your life for the relationships that nourish you as a means to making space for the life you desire.
There are days that the spring cleaning doesn’t feel like enough, that you look at that carefully curated vision board, the calendar with dated goals, the dress you’re saving for that special celebration… but it’s yet to come. Days where our wellness and our impatience have a stare down over where we feel we should be by now. If you’ve felt this, if you’re doing the work and finding yourself staring at the soil waiting for the sprout, Lauren Ash and Tracy G. blooms a revelatory conversation that will make you look at the soil in new light.
The disease to please is real, but only until we develop the courage within that comes from understanding that it is YOUR right as a human and a spirit to have joy and peace and happiness and love not only in YOUR being but around YOU. Once YOU know and feel that YOU can confidently state YOUR own intentions, not needing the consent of any other person who is not able to create the life that YOU desire for YOU.
Stop viewing your life as a land mine in which you’re nervous to take a step in fear of causing an explosion. Be BOLD. Get excited for challenges because when you accomplish each one, you’re one step closer to your goal and you also get stronger in the process.
I wish I had the willpower and self-discipline to not need a digital fast, but the truth is journaling is the only non-digital activity I do, other than my daily chores such as cooking and bathing. Self-care is very important to me and I regularly take time to unwind, but even my go-to activities of choice - reading and listening to music - involve digital devices.
Softness is yin energy that is essential to living in balance.
Yang energy consumes society in times of scarcity, injustice, and tyranny. Yin rebels against that. To be soft in our individualistic society, is an act of rebellion. We are rebelling against the impetus to be hostile and relentlessly rank one another. To be soft is to maintain a sense of wholeness that has not been fragmented by the enemy.
The seven quotes below are lessons on self-love, service, art, feminism and more. They are words that remind me who I am and the legendary voices that support my growth both internally and externally. My hope is that they do the same for you!
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Are you participating in today’s rebellion across the country? We urge you to create space within your day to also recharge, find three ways to do so inside.
Metamorphosis embodies a transformative experience. For me, it emphasizes the commitment to and the pursuit of growth. Naturally, growth is central to establishing and maintaining any capacity of wellness.
One of the most loving acts of self-care is adapting a mindful, clean-eating regimen. I used to chemically induce the release of serotonin, spike my blood sugar, added a layer of starch, salt, and cheese, and provoke oxytocin. I ate until I was too full to do or feel anything else. It was this reactionary relationship with food that aided in my declining health. It was time to implement new, healthier coping skills.
Spring has sprung and it’s the perfect time to switch up your skincare routine. Why? Well skin shifts throughout the seasons, and since spring has landed in all her glory, it’s time for a shake up. I’m going to show you my homemade masks I whip up when spring arrives. They’re pretty simple to make at home with ingredients you can quickly find at your local market, or in your pantry/fridge.
For Women’s History Month, we’re focusing on the idea of the Rebel Woman. It’s a timely focus and, as our editor Chelcee Johns notes, “it’s these moments in the heat of our collective rebellion that sometimes demand an even stronger call to self-preservation, to self-care.” Do you connect with this idea? How do you embody this notion of being a Rebel Woman through your everyday life and experiences?
Intuitive eating is the practice of choosing the foods you want to eat from a place of love and alignment with your life. It is understanding yourself to such a deep level that you only choose the foods that coincide with who you are.
Winter in the midwest is the ultimate scam. Native Midwesterners like me carry unique, er twisted, realities: we tell ourselves that six months of mostly sunny, warm weather justifies six months of nightmarish cold, harsh winds, and sidewalk situations that we can't even wear regular shoes in.
Think I'm being dramatic? Winter means shorter days, more layers that I don't enjoy peeling off, and a tendency to neglect my H20 game.
I love to do as many things as naturally as possible—my hair's been natural for a decade now, I enjoy getting real DIY when I clean my house, and I like to eat food that has 3 ingredients on the box, rather than 30.
My skincare game is no different. While I can admire a good contour, I can assure you I would look like a straight-up CLOWN if I tried to do that on my face. I embrace a natural look when it comes to my skincare, and make-up, and have been gravitating toward brands that understand this.
I’d never been to a restorative yoga class, so I didn’t know that we’d be challenged to stay in each pose for at least three minutes. I’ve grown used to the flow of Vinyasa with a few breaths being all that is required of a pose. If the pose becomes difficult, there’s the constant relief of movement. I know that in a short time I can readjust and, “play” within the pose; just a quick shift of the body and I’m good. A sweet escape. This, until now had been my life motto: If you don’t like what’s happening move, act, or fight back.
Glowing radiant skin. We all want it but getting it can sometimes feel like a nearly impossible task of beauty product experimentation. And while I love trying and buying the latest serums, creams and oils as much as the next skin care junkie, the secret to amazing skin isn’t necessarily found in the beauty aisle. Often times we forget that the skin on our face is intrinsically tied to our overall health, meaning our skin care regime shouldn’t be thought of in isolation but instead approached holistically.
The Waterworks Road team consists of two sisters bringing together their exotic vibe of the Caribbean with the sophisticated taste of New York to create premium products and experiences. They hope to share the tastes of peanut punch, sorrel, mauby, soursop, ginger-beer, mango, pineapple and other authentically caribbean flavors to the world.
The first time I heard Rihanna's "Sex With Me" I kept it on repeat for a good 6-8 times. I couldn't help but think of how amazing my next sexual experience was going to be and how great I was going to make the other person feel.
Jennifer Sterling writes about moving away from the 'guilt, shame, and shoulds' of relationships with food. Here we learn how to be mindful, differenciate between physical and emotional eating and be kind to ourselves when we need it the most.
This International Yoga Day, we celebrate two ladies bridging the gap between moving meditation and women of color. Lauren Ash and Zakkiyyah Najeebah are the leaders behind Black Girl In Om—a mindful lifestyle brand, global community, and tangible platform for an increasingly marginalized audience around the world. Their mission is to promote holistic wellness and inner beauty for brown girls like us.
Years of unwittingly internalizing societal “should” statements about women (and Black women in particular) has had a huge effect on my self-perception. Race and gender play no small part in my mental health, and learning to love every part of me the world has called ugly is indescribably cathartic.
We just closed Women's History Month and, at Black Girl In Om, we've been highlighting how we can all be Rebel Women through self-care, our creative space, sisterhood, and more. Here, in part two of our series spotlighting the rebellious ways of amazing women of color in our tribe, we hear from Chelsea Jackson Roberts (aka popular Atlanta-based yogi Chelsea Loves Yoga), Thoughtfully Magazine Founder Brandie Gilliam, Chicago-based reiki healer Courtney Cobbs, and Food Heaven Made Easy co-founder Wendy Lopez, and The Hoodwitch Founder Bri Luna. Be inspired by their perspectives and be sure to let us know what resonates with you! Check out our first part in this series with more amazing women, if you missed it!
I became a vegan after I became a vegetarian. I became a vegetarian on and off for several years after watching Food Inc, a harsh but necessary exposé on the food and meat packing industries. Horrified, I saw how many farming practices exploit animals for the sake of our meat-heavy diets. As a lifelong animal lover and Eliza Thornberry wannabe, I felt a deep sense of shame and guilt come over me while watching the dreary life cycle of a farm cow. The peaceful life I've always aimed to live by was not conducive to eating meat.
Societies are defined by their dreamchasers, their limit-pushers, their risk-takers. These are the folks that take the dare, create something from nothing, and force us to see the world differently. We often greet these worldbenders with resistance and hesitation because they challenge our comfort zones in ways that make us feel vulnerable and uncertain. I‘d like to explore some of the ways dreamchasers make the world, and us, better.
There is something about the way Erykah Badu tells Sway ‘I’m exquisite’. When I heard it the first time, I thought ‘This is the goal. Being exquisite.’ A few months before watching that video I would have said the goal was being in a relationship and a career as a freelance writer.
But the relationship and career I wanted had been my goal for years. Through all the jobs that just weren’t a fit and all the ex-situations who cheated, took my money, called me stupid or hit me.
Since serenity is defined as the quality or state of being calm, peaceful and untroubled, this range also allows us to find the shade that connects to us personally. That’s also true about our choice of gemstones: there are many blue stones available to assist us in finding the serenity that we seek. Here are three gemstones to consider.
I just turned 29 (#SagSeason). I'm already really, really into this year and what it already symbolizes for me. Rather than terror at the thought of nearly stepping into my thirties, I'm excited. I'm an advocate of taking intentional time to reflect on our life journeys and our self-care journeys, more specifically. So, in the spirit of reflection, I'm sharing twenty-nine things I know for sure.
We are all in progress and working on renewal; we don’t need to win a prize for our longest relationships, we don’t need to be fixated on the hurt, and we don’t have to pretend. The real truth is that sometimes things have their own way of ending when it needs to and not when we want it to. Sometimes, we have strong connections with people who we don’t see as often as others. The point is, we have to trust the flow and trust our own vibration. Love never leaves the spirit, it's the flesh that is fleeting.
Vulnerability has been the misunderstood friend of mine for many years. It wasn’t until recently that I learned my volition to reject vulnerability in my life caused more conflict and stress than I knew. Things I thought were just character traits, was me avoiding to be perceived as weak, as less, wrong.
My younger self didn’t care as much about eating right or working out, but now that I’m in my early 30’s I have to keep myself in check from the way I eat, sleep and challenge myself physically. I know these don’t always apply when meeting deadlines but not taking care of my body always reflects in the creative process and how I feel mentally throughout the day. I make better work when I work on myself first.
"Sometimes people will speak something over your life or say something that is completely false because they don’t see you. They don’t know you. But YOU know you. You know your authentic self. You know who you are when you’re alone with yourself. You know your greatness."
Meet Zuri Croson: Mother, entrepreneur, yoga teacher, activist, dynamic creative spirit, and risk taker, is the founder and lead designer at Thread and Jewel, Inc. Through her creative work and involvement with social justice organizations in her home of Atlanta, Zuri is committed to sharing her love for the arts as a means of support and empowerment towards youth in her community.
Creativity, I believe, is self-care. I literally love to exhaust myself in the creative process. From self-portrait sessions that last up to 5-6 hours. Sometimes in the snow; sometimes in 100 degree weather; most times on an empty stomach. That sense of discipline that pours from truly committing to what you stand to learn and how that works to improve who you are/what you can offer, is so necessary - especially when referring to self-care.
That was never the plan to leave her here. At least not forever. But what I’ve grown to depend on was her, her youthful ignorance, growing curiosity or was it that she was too young to grab hold of life’s seriousness?
Contemporary philosopher, theorist, and writer bell hooks says in All About Love: New Visions that "[t]he word ‘love’ is most often defined as a noun, yet...we would all love better if we used it as a verb.” I’m really interested in hearing about how real-life Black couples that I’m blessed to know would describe love as they practice it, and as they have experienced it, with their partner.
I shared all of me with someone once. That truth distorted her image of us so much that she, in a confused haste, took her love from me. This didn’t happen right away. I felt her drifting in the midst of prayers, over Skype sessions that lost focus and clarity and over cancelled date-nights. I heard her leave in the heart of her asking, “so, what are you saying?” I felt her go as she paced the steps of the Musée du Quai Branly during our summer trip, trying to gather the courage to tell me that she needed less, more, or both from a lover. We flew back home and landed in separate classes, separate dorm-room meetups and separate friend circles. I told myself that I would never again, by any means, be so forgotten.
To write this piece, I had to keep asking myself the question: when do I feel the most vulnerable? Then: why do I feel the most vulnerable when I talk about my desires, when I talk about loss, when I talk about my intimate relationships? I can tell a good story, sure. But when you ask me how I feel about the story, I get nausea, my chest tightens, my stomach hurts, and I want to run away—and far.
Lead by concrete, structured teachings, being vulnerable is an underground myth Harriet only told her homies. Being open to attack is unearthing a stench of tenderness wrapped in hushed trauma. The ineffable gawk for burdening salvation and baptized horrors has gone unchecked for long enough. Liberation is unruly, colorful and relevant! Let me be here.
Although my work changes drastically at times, and themes are ever changing, the one concept that remains the same is human emotion and human connection. The ability to work with a subject that is emotionally open is the dream for me, and it happens more often when I am open myself. Through the 2 years of being a photographer I have realized that the ability to make this experience therapeutic for the subject is a key priority. I enjoy the connection, it is a necessary theme.
As a creator and even in my life, vulnerability has been something I’ve found myself struggling with lately. I want so desperately to give of myself freely and unabashedly to the world, but putting my guard down to do that can sometimes be overwhelming, if not terrifying. To me, it means opening up my whole self for judgement, for ridicule, for someone else to view me the way I often times have viewed myself—which hasn’t always been the most flattering. Sometimes, I even fear praise. Your added attention just reminds me that I am naked and exposed. Luckily, I am now journeying back to myself. I am learning that vulnerability is not about opening ourselves up to judgement, but to possibility.
Vulnerability invites courage into our lives. It requires surrender and reinforces our faith. It’s found in the moments between closed eyes and open hearts. It lives in the contemplation of ideas that challenge our identities, who we think we are, and what we believe we represent. Vulnerability means stepping outside of your comfortable mental walls, exposed somehow, to the great unknown.
I think a lot of us have been conditioned to think or live a certain way at some point of our lives. And then there’s a moment in our conditioned ways where something feels off. There’s something within our comfort level that no longer feels comfortable. Which can’t make sense because we’re comfortable, right? So we ignore this feeling, this inkling, and keep moving. But the feeling comes back and over time, it gets louder and we can no longer ignore it.
Growth is another word for abundance. And when we clear space of material things, --of relationships, of work, of tasks in our lives, we make room to be better versions of ourselves. We make space to have the things we want and desire.
Creating a space that supports both our work and wellness, is not always an easy feat. Nikisha’s journey of living with ADHD, depression and anxiety makes the need for a self-crafted space even more vital to her mental health and wellness. Dive into our conversation and prepare to expand your wellness tribe with this rebel woman.
Not only do we live on the Earth, but we are a part of it, and that means that we can’t care for ourselves without caring for it too. We’re all connected to and by it. The air I breathe, the water I drink, the ground I walk on and how I interact with each element affects and connects me to you. How then, can I say I love you and I love myself but not love the tree’s branches and roots that look like veins?