Love Yuhself

By Tracey Coretta Ferdinand. Photography by Aaron Ricketts.

tied to a whipping post
she took lashes for love. 
worked in sugar cane fields
of self doubt, dusk ‘til dawn
carving herself into a worthy woman.
back bent into submission
cutting sweet fruit but the fruit
of her labor left her bitter.

season turned.
a hurricane raged inward
with Tubman’s spirit roaring
on gale winds of change singing,
“Don’t you want to be free? 
Travel North. Find that place
between love and light. 
Build a temple there and 
worship the divinity 
within your eyes.”

Tubman’s liberation talk terrified her.
so she ran to her master’s 
house of hate
but his doors were sealed shut.
she knew freedom journeys were costly,
required underground railroad travel
toward self discovery, 
meant learning to read her soul’s narrative.
(stories of strength courage and wisdom
were written there waiting for her 
to see, to be free.)

she conjure the confidence to
sign her own freedom papers.
left her dirty, old cabin 
one room cramped space 
a familiar unfriendly place
of self hate.

struck out deep into the wilderness
where the dead go to die to their masters,
where infinite possibilities and
unlimited visions of our stories are written.
North Star dust lighting her path,
dogs of self doubt snapping at her heels,
she ran North, 
past mental shackle boundaries and crossed over 
to a place of safe harbor.
she journeyed home to love.

PHOTO: AARRON RICKETTS

PHOTO: AARRON RICKETTS

Tracey Coretta Ferdinand is a love disciple who believes we carry medicine within us in the form of self-love. She is a fierce advocate for framing holistic wellness within this context.  Her work is rooted in the understanding that love has the power to transform our health improvement strategies since it requires adopting an ethic of radical self-care. Tracey Coretta holds a master’s degree in Africana Women’s Studies from Clark Atlanta University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Ursinus College. She is also a certified 200-hour vinyasa yoga instructor. Her writing inspires sustainable lifestyle transformations guided by self-love and self-care. Her mission is to encourage women and girls to cultivate vibrant lives by exploring creative wellness practices. Tracey Coretta loves the sun, the ocean and lush plant life. When she’s not outside celebrating her divinity in nature she’s writing, cooking, or practicing yoga. She is thrilled to be a part of BGIO's wellness collective. Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Tracey Coretta is currently based near Philadelphia.