Interview by Lauren Ash
I've always imagined Black Girl In Om being the online hub for women of color, especially black women, looking for inspiration and information on their wellness journeys—as the connecting thread between women of color leading different wellness initiatives: from yoga to clean eating, from fitness to spirituality, and more. So, it has been my joy to connect with Brittany Josephina again and again and to have her so involved with BGIO! She's one of today's most authentic examples of what it means to be committed to self-care and self-love as a woman of color and guiding and affirming other women of color along the way. I wanted to chat with Brittany more about her platform, Brittspiration, and share more about this amazing light with all of you! Be sure to check out Brittany's Instagram platform (@BrittanyJosephina) and Brittany's conversation with Zakkiyyah and I for the Black Girl In Om podcast which is one of our most listened-to episodes yet! (Seriously: listen to it today and share with your sisterfriends.)
LA: What inspired you to create Brittspiration and who is your content geared toward?
BJ: Brittspiration is a one-stop shop for visually delicious, spiritually refreshing content that empowers viewers to embrace their abundant selves and direct their destiny. My content is geared towards men and women looking to reclaim their power and seeking creative, inspiring tools to help them in the process.
Anybody who knows me would tell you that I’m an optimistic person with a zest for life. The misconception is that I am happy for no reason, which isn’t bad at all. However, the truth is I’m happy ON purpose. My joy is intentional! It’s not a mistake. This is not a mistake. The thoughts you have about your life, the thoughts you have about yourself, who’s informed those thoughts, the actions you take, the things you’ve been taught, the images that are sustained all around you play into how you’re ultimately assessing your life. With Brittspiration, I’m here to help you redirect the story. Let’s tell a different story that feels good. A story that empowers you, supports you in elevating your goals and honoring yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Let’s choose a narrative, personal philosophy, thoughts, beliefs and actions that says, “I matter. I AM supposed to be here. I am capable. I am worth being loved. I can do this. I deserve to live the life I love.”
I’ve always been shameless in my urge to sustain joy because I refuse to believe I’m not here to enjoy myself. I refuse to uphold a belief that says I’m not good enough or not worth it. Most of all, I refuse to not be myself. It doesn’t feel right. Even if the message is coming from a perceivable “authority”, like a parent, teacher, employer, I have to advocate for myself. We are our ultimate authority. Choose to make the agreement that you do matter. With Brittspiration, I’m advocating for others to be themselves without apology and have some fun in the process!
LA: Have you always been a source of inspiration and positivity? If so, who has influenced you to cultivate this work? If not, what came before this work and how have you found yourself doing this now?
BJ: I’ve always had a curious, quirky, inspired outlook on life! I get my free-spirited nature from my mother who is a gorgeous Libra. Growing up, I got to see my mother be radically loving, independent, compassionate and unapologetically herself. She taught my sisters and I to believe in ourselves and embrace our individuality. I always knew that I mattered because my mother told me it through words and actions.
When I was in 7th grade, I told my english teacher I wanted to be a writer to which she replied, “You could never be a writer.” I understood two things in that moment: 1) I will be a writer because it’s what I feel called to do and 2) She could not see me. 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. I’m a total social butterfly so I know my teacher was annoyed that I spoke a lot in class and I understood that she wrote me off as incapable because of that - and that’s okay. I already knew I mattered. My mother told me.
With Brittspiration, I’m doing what my mother radically did for me. It’s funny looking back now, but ever since I was young child, people would always come to me for advice. I noticed that my energy naturally communicated to others that they could be seen and heard in my presence. Growing up, I had many moments of being misunderstood. I remember how that felt. It’s definitely why I make it my mission to see people the way they want to be seen and support them in existing in a world that supports that. I know I’m amazing. I know you’re amazing. Let’s live our beautiful lives.
LA: You identify as an “emotional nudist”? Can you say more about what this means to you?
BJ: Yes, I am a shameless emotional nudist! Emotional nudity began as my personal proclamation to remain deliberately open and intentionally vulnerable. Vulnerability is the birthplace of every single thing you want. Ready to start a new business? Entering a new loving relationship? Learning how to trust a family member? Getting to know yourself more? It has to start with vulnerability. It’s the sacred bridge you must cross to get a taste of life’s deliciousness.
Being an emotional nudist means entering an unconditional, unwavering, utterly accepting relationship with my entire self. The parts of me that are glamorous and gorgeous and the parts of me that are sometimes unsure and afraid. It all matters. When fear shows up, when I feel stuck, when I want to close up, it’s a reminder to let the light in. I don’t want to close down, I want to open up. I want to walk through it. I want to become the alchemist of my joys and doctor to my sadness. Most importantly, being an emotional nudist is about embracing your love to love. I’m a proud, unapologetic lover and again, you have to leave your hand open to embrace another hand. The practice of remaining open is also a practice of intentionally setting boundaries.
LA: What is your process for creating the beautiful visual mantras you share on your Instagram and Twitter accounts?
BJ: All of my mantras flow directly from the heart. Mantras should be curated to pinpoint what you desire more of in your life, highlight the deliciousness that is in your life and further affirm the energy that’ll continue to flow into your life. Therefore, my mantras begin with paying attention. How am I feeling in this moment? How are others feeling in this moment? What could I use more of? Less of? What is the energetic temperature in the atmosphere right now? Once I narrow that down, it’s easy for me to generate mantras that speak to the message that needs to be heard. In result, I’ll design a beautiful design to pair with the mantra.
I’m a huge proponent of decorating every stretch of your life. From your clothes and bedroom to your thoughts and actions, you want to make sure you’re resonating at the vibrational reality that matters to you. It’s easy to embody a mantra when your life begins to affirm it. I have sticky notes filled with mantras throughout my bedroom. On the ceiling above my bed, I have one that says “visualize the life you want.” Before stepping out of bed, I give myself time to meditate on how I want to feel that day and how I want my life to feel. Another note I have is, “take a deep breath”.
LA: What is one of your most beloved experiences related to your inspirational platform and how one of your community members has received your inspiring content?
BJ: There’s so many amazing experiences I’ve been able to share through my inspirational platform. Before the term Brittspiration came about, I was spreading all of its deliciousness through my tumblr account - MindofaTaurus. I’ve had that account since 2012, so a lot of my Brittspiration community began with me there. About 2 years ago, a young man reached out to me during a difficult period in his life. He was ready to come out to his parents, but also afraid of how they’d react to him being gay. I reminded him that without one drop of doubt, he did matter and there wasn’t anything wrong with him. We must give ourselves permission to be. Whatever details come with being - so be it. But we all have a right to be in who we are move more and more freely in that space. I was there to assure, affirm and support him in really coming to terms with those feelings of self-doubt and worthiness. His parents were understanding of who he was but the great news the commitment to embracing that element of him, sparked this incredible spiritual journey he’s embarked on to living more freely and doing the unthinkable. We kept in contact and we met a couple of months ago. It was incredible! It was like seeing an old friend. But that’s what it’s all about. Starting where we’re at and embracing our many layers step by step.
LA: Do you relate to Black Girl In Om’s mission? If so, how?
BJ: I absolutely connect with Black Girl in Om’s mission. Holistic living, self-care and yoga is incredibly important. That’s because taking care of yourself is not only an investment in you, it’s a healthy investment in the world. With Brittspiration, I share a lot of myself both creatively and emotionally. However, I have no qualms about putting the work on pause to tend to myself. I love that my brand stands for self-care,, so my community understands when I take a break or decide to fast.
LA: Do you have an even larger vision for Brittspiration? What can we expect from you in the coming year, five years, or more?
BJ: I definitely have a larger vision for Brittspiration! In the coming year, you can expect the launch of Brittspiration.com. There is where I’ll be continuing the inspiration conversation and launching self-exploration challenges of the month, curating audio affirmations and generating videos on shameless living. I’ll be heading to school to get my masters in art therapy, so that’s definitely something I want to incorporate in my work to show people how they can manage stress and anxiety, as well as sustain optimal living through various outlets, including art. With journaling being a huge part of my life, I will be creating gratitude and self-exploration journals. They’ll be filled with writing prompts, reflections and inspiring call-to-actions. I’m also in the process of finishing my first book, which is filled with so many encouraging words and radically inspiring perspectives. In the coming years, you can expect a Brittspiration coaching program where I’ll be coaching others in sharing their gifts with the world both personally and professional. There will also be Brittspiration workshops and retreats to bring the community together for healing, support and exploration spiritually, creatively and geographically.
LA: What holistic wellness and self-care practices do you personally practice?
BJ: Meditation and journaling are huge staples in my self-care routine. In a world that’s constantly moving, it’s necessary that I intentionally slow down. I meditate every single day. I identify my meditation practice as any intentional space that puts me in the present moment; where I’m completely tuned into where I’m at and am restoring, unpacking, resting or being in myself. Therefore, I enter meditative spaces multiple times throughout the day - i.e. walking to school, painting a new project, listening to music, sitting in silence or taking a shower. I enjoy variety to be honest. Sometimes I don’t feel compelled to enter meditation through sitting down, so it’s important that I tap into other outlets that allow me to enter that sacred space. Quite often, journaling will carry me there.
Journaling honestly changed my life. Back in 2012, I started journaling more than ever before. Before that point, I always heard that writing was therapeutic and attempted several times but nothing really happened. 2012 was a transitional period in my life where I was graduating high school, experiencing a lot of shifts within my personal life and family life. Life as I knew it was changing rapidly and I honestly felt lost, sad and curious. I needed someone to express my feelings to - and I was available. What better person than me to see me? Journaling is empowering because you give yourself a chance to share how you’re feeling. Articulate your feelings, desires, doubts, joys. You get to witness your progress. Life is honestly very magical and when you keep a journal, you get to witness how things come together for you.
More about Brittany Josephina. Brittany is writer, emotional nudist and creator on a mission to spark inner r(e)volutions. Through her platform Brittspiration, she generates visually delicious content that inspires others to boldly embrace their authentic self and deliberately create the life they deserve. With astrology, psychology and spirituality as a foundation, Brittany provides numerous tools for radical self-empowerment, self-acceptance and self-exploration.