The fight for justice and equality demands the strength and courage of individuals willing to place their hearts and bodies on the front line. This is what we admire about the activists in our communities-past and present. However, the costs of being on the front line often amount to extensive trauma exposure that leave us vulnerable to depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. Here are a few reasons why it is important to prioritize our mental health while staying WOKE.
“I feel that women are thrust into this paradigm around hustling [hard] and around a more masculine way of approaching the world. We’re taught early on that if you want to succeed, if you want to scale the corporate ladder, if you want to have the life of your dreams that you have to do it a certain kind of way. Terms like ‘slaying’ and ‘killing it,’ these are the adjectives we use. ‘She’s killing it.’ But, no one is killing anything that is doing well in the world... because they’re probably nurturing it.”
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.
As black women, anything we choose to write enters a realm in which our voices are already an endangered species. So little have we been heard in the past – even by ourselves – that we have catching up to do. But to speak out, with authenticity, takes practice. We may well feel things that we are unconscious of until we see them in writing and, even then, we have to survive those feelings.