Why an Internal Recharge Must Complement Your Rebellion

By Chelcee Johns. Contributions by Lauren Ash. Photography by Deun Ivory.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde

Political warfare feels evident in today’s climate. We, women, have always, all ways asserted ourselves into the rebellion. As women across the nation and the globe make their voices, affirmations, declarations, and frustrations heard we must not forget to recharge, to refill our collective wells. Today in cities and suburbs across America, rebellion has lifted her voice as “A Day Without a Woman,” led by the Women’s March on Washington. As we organize, we must also prioritize our wellness.

I am recalling the summer of Michael Brown, the days the news stayed on in the background at work, and at night livestreams of protests that shot teargas at children. I am remembering aches across my body as we recently marched the streets of New York in opposition to the Trump administration. I still feel the shivers of passing a graveyard after the death of Sandra Bland.

It was, and it is, these moments in the heat of our collective rebellion that sometimes demand an even stronger call to self-preservation, to self-care.

Maybe your rebellion is in the schoolroom, or courthouse, or pew, or yoga studio, but how do we recharge as we rebel? Our country, today, makes almost every woman an activist especially women of color.

“Our current political climate makes my leadership and activism within the wellness industry even more crucial. Black women are consistently made invisible, intentionally so,” stated BGIO founder Lauren Ash.

As most know, Lauren has answered her call to rebellion by creating safe space for women of color within the wellness industry.

“It seems strange, right? That this would be a field that would require rebellion. But even in the wellness field, women of color remain marginalized. It has been my mission to create more space for women of color to breathe easy for nearly three years now and I’ve been blown away by how necessary my work is. The response remains the same: that spaces that prioritize women of color, and black women in particular, are still far and few between, yet when we come together in these kinds of spaces we remember that we are powerful beyond measure.”

When asked what she’s found to be the most effective way to recharge, Lauren noted, “Unplugging. It’s always refreshing to remember that the world will not end because I take a step back from e-mail, social media, and my phone. I discuss how refreshing this was for me in our first episode of season 2 of the BGIO podcast!”

Are you participating in today’s rebellion across the country? We urge you to create space within your day to also recharge.

Three Ways to Recharge:

1. Unburden your personal self from the weight of societal frustrations.

There often seems to be no way, as a woman of color, to be separate from the ills of the Trump administration, the clawing at women’s rights, at our autonomy. However, there are hours, days and sometimes weeks we must allow ourselves to internally unload.

It can be an arduous task not to carry the injustices currently facing the world into our day–to-day activities. As natural nurturers, we often take on the burden while forgetting to allow our minds, bodies and souls to rest. Unburdening may look like giving yourself permission to cry, to honor all of the emotions that come with the work. It may also come in the form of a daily mantra, “I hold steadfast to my joy and peace, the world has enough pain, I will offer it my love. I will walk in love as resistance.”

Rebellion is also the way you continue to provide genuine care for yourself in the tides of activism; this too is your political act.

2. Create an intimate support system, (i.e. phone a friend).

There is healing in safe spaces. After putting our bodies on the frontlines of rebellion, we all may relate to the fatigue and heaviness that can come with our varied forms of activism.

I can personally recall coming home from a march once and sitting in tears. I’m sure there was sadness, frustrations, some joy in the collective call to action; however, I was actually in need of a debrief. A person to call-in and one who related intimately, who listened intently.  

Do you have at least three people to call on when the rebellion feels heavy? As Lauren mentions, when we gather we are powerful beyond measure.

3. Take an intentional fast from the headlines (and energy-draining political conversations).

While the desire to “stay woke” is certainly an earnest one, when exactly do we rest? Especially in today’s political climate, where new Trump headlines drive CNN alerts to our screens daily. Choose a day, maybe even two, that you take a fast from political engagement. In this time, read what restores you, listen to what affirms you, and commune with those you love.

The rebellion is being televised, it is in our daily work, our call to action, our design as nurturers to hold steadfast to our power to change society for the better. In these pursuits, our self-care must be just as revolutionary.

In what ways do you recharge as you lead your own rebellion? Share below!

Chelcee Johns is the BGIO Online Publication Editor. She is a digital nomad, Detroit native, editor/content strategist and word & world-loving soul. Her passion for the power of the written word & highlighting often policed narratives has led her to work in publishing for the past 7 years with organizations such as Moguldom Media Group, Serendipity Literary Agency, the New York Times and writing for the likes of Ebony. BGIO is the place Chelcee is able to create a community of safe space in our collective stories. She is empowered by the (inner)work! With that said, her self-care go-to's include journaling, prayer and meditation.