Tag Archives: Uplift Black Women

SOPHIA’S SUNDAY UPLIFT: Week of August 15, 2021

Sisters,

As you boldly embark on a new week, try to do so without letting your baggage weigh you down. We all have baggage, Sis. All of us carry within us the good, the bad, and the ugly of everything we’ve experienced. We’ve all endured hurt and trauma. And everyone has certainly seen their fair share of tragedy.

The thing to remember is that the hurt, trauma, and tragedy you’ve experienced don’t have to define you. You’re the sum total of all your experiences, not just the bad ones. And when you can fully embrace everything that makes you the uniquely created person you are, you’ll see that you’re so much more than your worst day or your worst experience.

So stop defining yourself so narrowly, and don’t allow others to do so, either.  There’s so much more to you than the baggage you carry. Celebrate the fullness of who you are, including the softer spots and the joys. Embrace everything about yourself: the quirks, the weirdness, the laughter, the tears, the silliness and the depth. Because every single bit of you is worthy and enough.

I’m not sure we can ever completely let go of the hurt, trauma, and everything else that weighs us down. And honestly, we probably shouldn’t, because again, even the bad stuff is part of who we are. But we don’t have to bend, buckle and fold under the weight of all that baggage, either. We can, in fact, stand tall in the knowledge that, even with our heavy loads, we still move forward with purpose, determination, and even joy.

This takes work, though. And that work starts with forgiving and loving yourself first. Prioritize yourself and your well-being. Put your needs first for once. Then, focus on healing those damaged parts deep inside you, getting professional help to do so if you need it. Do this and you’ll soon discover that as you heal and grow, your baggage will seem lighter.

In the meantime, remember that when your baggage seems too heavy to bear, you can lay it down, if only for a little while. Give yourself a break. Take a rest. You’ve earned the right to do so, Sis. You deserve it. Take the time you need to  re-set and re-charge, because the world needs you back out there when you’re ready.

Have a wonderful week and stay safe!

Sophia

ASK JANICE SPECIAL: Not Your Usual Mother’s Day Post

Happy Mother’s Day!

I know this is a tough weekend for many, especially those of us whose mothers have passed on. It’s my sixth Mother’s Day without my mom, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m struggling. On the other hand, it’s also my first Mothers Day as a grandmother, and I am elated! Because yes, I can be both things at once: deeply saddened because I miss my mom, and joyful that I get to spend my first Mother’s Day as a grandmother with my grandson.

I think Mother’s Day brings up conflicted and complicated emotions for a lot of people. We just only talk openly about grieving our dead mothers or celebrating our amazing living ones. But you know who gets left out of the Mothers Day conversation? Those people who have or had difficult, violent, or estranged relationships with their mothers. I mean, we all know there are awful mothers out there, even if we don’t like to talk about it.

So this weekend, I’m holding space in my heart and prayers for anyone whose relationship with their mother is, or was, a bad one. I can only imagine how painful this particular holiday can be. It’s telling that people kind of just assume everyone has a good relationship with their mother. Although what exactly it tells, I don’t really know. But it just doesn’t seem right.

There’s a meme that goes around at this time of year. I’m paraphrasing, but it says something like, “If you’re blessed enough to still have your mother with you, show her some love. Because you only have one mother, and one day you’ll miss her when she’s gone.” The actual meme is shorter than that, but that’s the message.

First of all, not everyone has only one mother. Yes, everyone only traveled down ONE person’s birth canal. But passing another human down your birth canal isn’t a requirement for motherhood. But also, not everyone misses their mother when she dies. That’s just a fact. Because not all mothers are good mothers.

(And no mother is a good mother all of the time. But y’all aren’t ready for that conversation.)

Some mothers do real harm to their children: mental, emotional, sexual, and/or physical. And their children, especially if they’re on a journey towards healing from that harm, might feel some kind of way about celebrating Mother’s Day. And we need to do a better job of making that okay.

That’s why I send love and light to anyone who has or had a bad mother. As a society, we too often make these people feel guilty for their ambivalence towards such a sacred thing as motherhood. We tell them “at least she gave you life – you should celebrate her for that”. Or, “celebrate the women who ‘mothered’ you in your mother’s place”.

Who are we to police their feelings or actions? Why is it so hard for us to accept that not everyone has a reason to celebrate Mother’s Day? We should extend grace and understanding to anyone struggling this Mother’s Day, even the ones who have their reasons for not celebrating.

Whatever kind of relationship you had with your mother, I hope you find a reason to enjoy this day and every day.

#mothersday #happymothersday #askjanice #suzyknew

 

 

 

UPLIFT by Sophia Ned-James (Week of 4/25/2021)

HAPPY SPRING!

I know I’m late, but it’s finally SPRING! Despite April snow for some of us this past week or so, it finally feels like spring. Singing birds wake us up in the morning, fresh buds and blossoms greet us when we, tentatively, venture outside. The burgeoning flora and fauna slowly wash away the greyness of winter, and make joyful way for the soft pastels of Easter and Passover to gradually become the bold colors of summer. Even this year’s Ramadan prepares us for the brightness to come.

I think that’s what makes springtime so special: it represents the promise of summer. For many, springtime also represents rebirth and renewal, restoration, and even fertility. It also represents cleanliness, hence the term “spring cleaning”.

But Sisters, as you embark on your spring projects, like de-cluttering and preparing your home and yard for a summer of masked and socially distant summer gatherings, please take some time to de-clutter your personal life, too. Listen. We’re more than a year into being mostly at home (except for our deeply appreciated essential workers), so by now many of us have gotten to know ourselves very well. Whether you’ve lived alone or with your small “bubble”, you’ve also probably had more time to do some reflecting. How could you not, with all the death and mayhem of the past year?

Chances are you’re like the millions of us who have spent the past 13 months reflecting on your life, including the choices, good or bad, you’ve made. After spending so much time with your loved ones, you may even experience changes in your closest relationships. Some of these changes may even be major ones. For example, experts cited increasing divorce rates around the world at the end of 2020, and they warned that “the pandemic induced break-curve may not have peaked yet”. (Source: BBC, December 3, 2020)

The events of the past year haven’t only impacted romantic relationships. Months of isolation, lack of physical contact, as well as illness, fear, and grief, have affected all of our relationships with each other. Some friendships got stronger, while others waned or even ended abruptly. This past year heavily tested many familial relationship bonds, too, resulting in both miraculous reconciliations, as well as heartbreakingly permanent breaks.

And here we all are now, facing another spring and another chance at renewal and restoration! True restoration and even rebirth require getting rid of the things, people, ideas, habits, and activities that no longer serve us on our path to happiness and fulfillment. That may sound harsh, but you know it’s true. After the kind of year we just had, you can’t tell me you don’t know exactly what you need to do to live the kind of life you want to live. Even if you don’t have everything figured out yet, you have a general idea of what your next steps should be.

It won’t be easy, especially when it comes to letting a serves you may not be easy, but it’s always worth it in the long run. So let it go, Sis. Let those old clothes you’ll honestly never wear again go. Let that toxic friendship that saps the joy right out of you go. Trust me, she is not your friend. Let that tired, going nowhere, relationship go, too. You know he’s not the one. Let him go, Girl. Let. Him. Go.

I promise, you won’t regret it.

Use this glorious spring to purge your life of everything and everyone that isn’t actively helping you move forward in life. And by “helping”, I don’t necessarily mean materially. Genuine emotional availability counts as helping someone attain fulfillment. So does praying for, and sending positive vibes to someone. Bottom line: everyone entitled to your time, love, and energy should also deserve your time, love, and energy.

Of course, you can still love the people you’ve chosen to disengage from! But love them from a safe enough distance that they can’t impede your progress. Remember, this is a season of renewal and restoration. Letting go of what holds you back makes it easier for you to move forward. You’ll feel lighter as you move toward your true purpose. Just don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers along the way.

Happy Spring, Everyone! Mask up, stay socially distant, wash your hands, and get vaccinated!

#SophiasUplift #Uplift #LetItGo #sophianedjames #suzyknew

UPLIFT by Sophia Ned-James (Week of 2/22/21)

Congratulations! You’ve made it! Despite everything you’ve endured, you’re still here. I hope you appreciate just how amazing you are, especially after the year we’ve had. Despite a global pandemic, economic upheaval, social and civic unrest, and increasingly dangerous weather events thanks to climate change, YOU ARE STILL HERE! Go ahead and celebrate this win, Sis. You deserve it.

I know it doesn’t feel like it, but you’re actually doing better than you think. You may not have hit your goal weight, but you’re still trying, right? You may not have gotten your dream job yet, but you’re still working towards it, aren’t you? Stop focusing on what you haven’t done or achieved, and congratulate yourself for still being in the game! If you haven’t given up, you’re still in a position to win.

Listen. Life is hard. Really hard. And even though your peers seem to have it all together on social media, they’re struggling just as much as you are. Sure, some have it better than you. But others don’t. And they don’t matter, anyway. Because you’ve got your own journey to travel, and your own victories to claim. Like the elders say, “comparison is the thief of joy”. So stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, and focus on your own dreams and aspirations.

More importantly, give yourself a break. Show yourself some grace. Recognize that you manage to live a pretty decent life under some very extraordinary circumstances. Give yourself credit for doing what you do every single day. After all, not everyone can do what you do. You need to appreciate yourself more. Because you are incredible!

Do me a favor. When you’re done reading this, make a list of 15 things you love about yourself. I got this idea from a YouTuber who is less than half my age, and it changed my entire outlook on life! Like you, I spend too much time berating myself for everything I haven’t done or accomplished. I’m also really hard on myself, so I know how hard this will be for you to do. Honestly? It took me three whole days to finish my list. So I get your hesitancy.

But trust me, Sis. Make the list. Think of 15 things you love about YOU and write them down. You can include physical characteristics, personality traits, anything you want! Go ahead and be conceited. Compliment yourself and gas yourself up! Write down all of those beautiful things you know to be true about yourself, but are often too modest to admit to anyone else. Be as vain as you want, since you’re the only person who will see this list.

If you love more than 15 things about yourself, great! Make your list as long as you’d like. Just don’t go below 15. Don’t stop at 5. When you hit 10, keep going. It may take a while, but don’t stop until you list at least 15 things.

Why 15, you ask? Well, anyone can make a Top 10 List. But you’re better than that. You deserve more. So keep going until you hit 15.

When you’ve finished your list, read it out loud to yourself. But when you do, start each statement with “I love that I …”. For example, one thing I love about myself is that I’m a good friend. So I would say “I love that I am a good friend”. This part is important because you’re telling yourself why you love yourself. And how we talk to ourselves has a huge impact on not only our mood, but our self-esteem, too. Saying each thing out loud, declaratively and with purpose, forces you to speak kindly to yourself, and changes the narrative in your head.

Think about it. Don’t you love it when someone you love tells you why they love you? I mean, hearing “I love you” is always grand. But hearing specifically why someone loves you just feels extra special. Shouldn’t the person you hear this from most often be yourself? Makes sense, right?

Start making a habit of reading your list out loud to yourself on a regular basis. You can do it after your morning prayers and meditation to kickstart your day. Of you can read it every Monday morning to start your week off on a positive note. Whenever you choose to read your list aloud is fine, as long as you regularly do it.

Do it even when (especially when) you feel your worst. Read that again.

Let the wonderful words you’ve written about yourself replace those negative, self-hating words in your head. Let the sound of your voice singing your own praises become your own personal anthem. We all need regular reminders of our greatness, if only to give us the fuel to keep going when times are hard like now. And who better to remind you of your awesomeness than the woman who knows you best: you?

Sis, we live in a world that under-values US. We spend every single day justifying our existence, proving our worth, and fighting to be seen and heard against the backdrop of systemic racism and virulent misogynoir. That’s why we MUST fight for and protect our happiness and emotional well-being.  Let your own words of affirmation and self-praise be another weapon in your fight. Because you and I both know, we may not ever hear such kind words from anyone else. So we better learn how to speak them to ourselves.

We often remind each other to “speak life” to our children and loved ones. Let’s not forget to speak life to ourselves. Make the list and read it out loud. Then go on out there and continue to shine!

#SpeakLife #SophiaNedJames #UpliftWithSophia #SophiasUplift #Uplift #UpliftBlackWomen #SuzyKnew #SubscribeNow #BlackWomen

ASK JANICE SPECIAL: Ready for a Black Woman VEEP?

Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States of America! That’s right, the Toddler-In-Chief currently occupying the White House, will be a one term president. The headline may be that Biden flipped five states to win 290 electoral college votes. And the subheading may be that he toppled the worst presidency in the history of the Republic with 51% of the popular vote (winning by nearly 6 million votes). But the real story, the juiciest part, is that he did it not only with unprecedented support from Black people, but with a Black woman ON THE TICKET!

Y’all, our next Vice President is a SISTA! Come January 20, 2021, the person a mere heartbeat away from the most powerful position in the world will be a BLACK WOMAN! The majority of Americans elected Senator Kamala Harris to be the new Vice President! She will be the first woman, the first Black person, and the first person of southeast Asian descent to EVER hold that office.

Wow. Just typing Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris feels sublime.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see the Biden/Harris ticket coming. Neither Biden nor Harris were my first choice at the start of the election season. In fact, after the first debate, I even posted (only kind of jokingly) “I’m gonna pissed if y’all make me vote for Biden in November”. Back then, I honestly couldn’t see Biden as the right choice to topple the Orange Menace.

Harris at least made my top three, but only barely. A deeper dive into her career in California politics did quell some of my initial reservations about her. But, I still liked other candidates better based on their platforms. You see, I’m what I call a “Primary Purist”, who ultimately “falls in line” when it comes to the General Election. In other words, I believe that you should vote for who you WANT to win during the Primary. But when it comes to the General, you vote for your party’s nominee. I never “throw away” my precious vote when my preferred candidate isn’t on the ballot.

But don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a Joe Biden enthusiast since his opposition to Robert Bork’s SCOTUS nomination in the 1980s. In hindsight, I hated his lack of support for Anita Hill during Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings after she accused Thomas of sexual harassment. But honestly? At the time, I don’t think Biden’s failure to vigorously defend her really resonated with me. This was 1991, before the internet and 24-hour news cycles. So the nuances of what went on behind the scenes went over my head. Besides, he also co-sponsored and passed the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994.

Later, I loved him as former President Barack Obama’s Vice President. Although admittedly, I enjoyed him as VEEP as much for the optics of an older, white man playing “2nd fiddle” to the younger Black man as anything else. Remember all the funny “Uncle Joe” memes and jokes?

My point is, I wasn’t so much “anti-Biden” as I was just for other candidates. For me, his advanced age and firm position within the Democratic “establishment” meant he wasn’t progressive enough for me. But by the time he won the nomination, I enthusiastically supported him. Because even Biden’s old, white man centrism would be a huge improvement over the deadly debacle of 45’s administration. I would’ve voted for a dustpan to replace that dude!

Then Biden chose Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. He selected a Black woman with an Asian background, who’d graduated from an HBCU (Howard University), and who is a member of the oldest Black sorority (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., founded in 1908). He chose a BLACK WOMAN! And despite my reservations about both candidates, I got very excited.

Now some folks out there like to think of themselves as the “Gatekeepers of Blackness”. You know the ones. They always sit in judgement of who is or isn’t “Black enough” in appearance, thought, and deed. I mean, I get it. Even I have some hard and fast Blackness boundaries (i.e. Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King are NOT Black, dammit). And while I admittedly hold some pretty strong opinions about Black Card revocation when someone actually works against Black people (like Breonna Taylor prosecutor, and coon extraordinaire, Daniel Cameron), I don’t usually challenge a person’s claimed Blackness.

So some folks say Kamala isn’t really a Black woman because of her Indian mother or her white husband. I say “haters gon’ hate”. Yes, I’m sure she’s benefitted, both personally and professionally, from her light skin. But Kamala Harris is, undeniably, a Black woman.

Given today’s climate, she’ll definitely be treated like a Black woman by the nearly 73 million Amerikkkans who voted for the racist rapist responsible for more than 245,000 COVID deaths.  I shudder to think about the hate and vitriol she’ll encounter from our racist countryfolk. But this is Amerikkka, so it’s not surprising.

But for now, rather than focus on all the ways this nation has failed to adequately address it’s white supremacy problem, I choose to focus on the fact that a Black woman has shattered another glass ceiling. Even though I’m bracing for the inevitable racist backlash Harris’ election portends, I choose to celebrate that a sista will soon ascend to the highest levels of our government.

Twelve years after electing our first Black President, the citizens of the United States have elected our first Black Vice President, and she’s a woman. The politically nerdy little girl inside me celebrates this moment with unbridled joy and unfettered hope. The idealist in me sees this triumph as a win for progress.  And the 35-year Delta girl (of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the 2nd oldest Black sorority) in me sees my sister-Greek’s win as a win for us all. As our deeply divided nation slowly and painfully inches towards that “more perfect union” the Framers set out to form, I know that Kamala Harris’ ascension to the 2nd highest seat in the land means that we are, indeed, ready for a Black woman to lead.

Go get ’em, sis. We got your back!

SOPHIA’S SUNDAY UPLIFT (Good for Every Day of the Week)

Sister, as you walk your fine ass into this coming week, I want you to OWN IT! Own every inch of space you occupy and every particle of air you breathe. Own it like Senator Kamala Harris owned that mediocre-white-maleness-on-a-stick, Mike Pence in last week’s debate. (When she smiled and said “I’m speaking,” I felt that in the depths of my soul, didn’t you?) I want you to own this week like it’s about to be your best week yet!

Listen. You already know that you’re gonna have to deal with some bullshit this week, right? I mean, it’s always something these days: an idiot boss, with a tenth of your brains and even less of your talent says something sideways; or a mask-less stranger gets a little too close in public. Whatever form it takes, you know some bullshit is coming your way this week, because it always does. Especially during these turbulent times.

But it’s how you deal with the bullshit that matters. So this is your reminder to own whatever comes your way this week, because you already have the power within you to get through ANYTHING. You already have what it takes to overcome any obstacles, roadblocks, or bullshit this week throws at you.

I promise: you got this!

Think about it, Sis. You’ve already survived 100% of the bad things that have happened to you, right? So I’d say the odds are definitely in your favor that you can handle whatever bullshit this week has in store. After all, you’re already a pro at getting through tough situations. You’ve been training for this your whole life.

My point is that you’ve already proven how strong and resilient you are by simply surviving what should have taken you out the game a long time ago. You’re still here, still getting shit done, and still looking damn good doing so. That tells me that you can certainly face this coming week like the Boss you are.

So get out there and OWN this week (and stay safe and healthy while you do)!

#WearAMask #OwnItSis #BlackGirlMagic #Vote2020

 

Sophia’s Sunday Uplift (Good for Every Day of the Week)

I know someone needs this message today.

Listen. You’re way too precious to beg for time and attention, Sis. Maybe you’ve simply forgotten your worth. Maybe you’ve been so caught up in “survival mode”, trying to keep your loved ones safe and healthy, that you’ve forgotten how wonderful you are. Is that why you’ve been accepting less than you deserve? Could that be the reason you’re letting someone get away with neglecting your needs? Have you forgotten that you’re lovable and deserve only the best?

Stop accepting scraps from people who don’t appreciate your value. Notice I didn’t say they don’t recognize your value. Because they do. They know full well how amazing you are. They’re just counting on the fact that YOU don’t. They only do the bare minimum for you, knowing that you’ll gratefully accept it from them. So, stop it.

No, really. STOP IT.

First of all, let me remind you that you are more than enough just as you are … flaws, and all. You’re more than enough even with those extra pounds you picked up during quarantine, and even before you’ve completed that degree. You’re enough even though you’ve been out of work for a while, and you’re still not back on your feet. YOU ARE ENOUGH! You’re worthy and deserve only the best: the best treatment, the best loving, the best of EVERYTHING! So stop settling for less, and stop putting up with the bullshit!

Secondly, you need to take responsibility for your own happiness, Sis. It isn’t up to him, her, or them to “make” you happy. That’s on YOU. You’re more in control of your life than you realize, even now, when the world is literally burning. Seize that control and create your own joy. And when you do, you’ll realize that you don’t really need approval from all those people who underestimate and undervalue you. And the people who truly appreciate you and all your magnificence will only enhance the joy you’ve created. Never, ever depend on someone else to make you happy.

Finally, you need to make your mental and physical health a higher priority. Not only do you need to protect yourself from the pandemic, but from all of the other illnesses and ailments that can affect your quality of life. If you lack insurance or are under insured (as so many of us are), get online and research what free or low-cost services are available to you in your state, county, or city. Network with your friends and family to see what resources they use. As Black people, we really need to stop keeping all this stuff so secret, and share what works so that we can all thrive and be healthy. So go ahead and start those conversations with your loved ones. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from others who may be having the same hardships as you.

The bottom line, Sis, is that you’re too precious to let anyone, even yourself, treat you any old kinda way. You, and you alone, have the power to create your own joy, and divest yourself from people and situations that don’t appreciate your value. Stop accepting bad or even mediocre treatment from the people in your life,  stop looking to others for your happiness, and prioritize your mental and physical health so that you can thrive and live the life you deserve. Now, straighten your crown, hold your head high, and get out there and walk in your purpose!

 

SOPHIA’S UPLIFT: Radical Self-Acceptance, Pandemic-Style

We talk and write a lot about how this current pandemic wreaks havoc on our mental and physical health. But have we really addressed how the isolation, stress, and uncertainty of these trying times affects how we feel about ourselves? I’m not just talking about how COVID-19 has affected depression, anxiety, and other disorders, either. I’m talking about how nearly SIX MONTHS of this mess has changed the way we see ourselves.

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who have used the lock-down to complete a gazillion household projects, learned a new language, or baked thousands of loaves of bread. Or you may be one of those enterprising entrepreneurs who parlayed their job uncertainty into a lucrative side hustle, making more money than ever. It’s quite possible that you eat healthier, exercise every day, lost 50 pounds, and can now bench press your living room couch. You may even be proud of everything you’ve accomplished since mid-March, and your self-esteem is better than ever.

If this is you, then congratulations! And I mean that sincerely.

But, if you’re like me and millions of others, you’re more stressed, significantly fatter, and maybe even a little disgusted with how little you’ve accomplished since binge-watching The Tiger King back in the early days of this never-ending pandemic. And if you’re like us, your self-esteem has taken a beating. That’s why we all need to get back to practicing radical self-acceptance and self-care.

Radical self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you stop trying to improve yourself. It simply means that you love yourself as you are, flaws and all. It means you stop beating yourself up over the 17.7 pounds you’ve gained, and start embracing the fullness of your body. You can love yourself deeply and accept every inch our yourself fully, and still work at getting, looking, and feeling better.

Radical self-acceptance means that you’ll strive to do better today than you did yesterday, but also that you’re still proud of the person you were yesterday. It means that you love yourself out loud, because you can recognize where you need to improve, and still adore who you are right this minute

Speak affirmations to yourself throughout the day. Take time to pat yourself on your back for the little things you accomplish, as well as the big things. If all you managed to do today was the bare minimum of what you need to do to survive, then allow yourself enough grace for that to be okay. Be kinder to yourself. Give yourself a break. You really are doing the best you can at any given moment during any given day. And sometimes, that has to be enough.

When you get back to deeply accepting and loving yourself, you’ll no longer accept the things that don’t serve you. You’ll disengage from disrespectful and harmful people, and you’ll only embrace those who truly love and honor you. Some people will accuse you of being selfish when you love yourself enough to make YOU a top priority. They’ll resent your self-acceptance and confidence. But that’s okay. Let ’em go, Sis. Your real friends and family will be proud of you and encourage your self-love.

The people in your life who truly have your best interests at heart will celebrate your happiness and progress, not be jealous of it. So let those others go. They weren’t for you, anyway. Putting yourself first is an important step towards radical self-acceptance. Anyone who begrudges you that isn’t good for you.

You may not be where you thought you’d be by now, but you’re still here. And that’s something, especially during a pandemic. You’re here and you’re beautiful, and smart, and at ALL times, more than enough. Whether you’ve mastered working from home or not; if you’ve lost 20 pounds or gained them; or if you parlayed your side hustle into a well-paying job or you’re trying to survive on unemployment; you’re still here and you are amazing exactly as you are in this moment.

Don’t let the fallout from this pandemic or any of the other craziness happening in the world rob you of your self-esteem. Put yourself first, love yourself deeply, and accept who you are, flaws and all.

Stay safe out there and wear a mask!

#SophiasUplift #Uplift #selflove #selfacceptance #upliftBlackwomen #Blackwomen #radicalselfacceptance #radicalselflove #loveyourselfdeeply

 

SOPHIA’S WEEKEND UPLIFT: How Ya Doin’, Sis?

Hey, Sis! How ya doin’? You good? I know it’s been a minute, but I just wanted to check in and see what’s what.

These are some crazy times, right? A pandemic, mass protests, political unrest … there’s so much going on, right now! The economy sucks, the current administration seems hell-bent on killing us and stealing the election, and we can’t even get together with our friends (in person) and commiserate! I know it can be overwhelming and scary, so I hope you’re taking good care of yourself.

No, really. Are you taking care of yourself? Because I know you’re taking care of everyone else: your kids and family, your job and friends, your faith community, and all the other causes and organizations you give your time and talents to. But are you taking care of YOU?

I hope so! I know we talk about self-care a lot here at SuzyKnew! But the importance of self care can’t be overstated, especially now. Are you drinking enough water? Getting enough exercise? Enough rest? Please, Sis. Do whatever it is you need to do to take better care of you. Because we need you. The world needs you. Your loved ones need you.

We need you to not just survive, but to THRIVE! Listen. I know you’ve already been through a lot. You’ve endured so much during your short time on this planet, more than most people could ever bear. And your pain and struggles have shaped your strength and your beauty. Your survival is a testament to your fortitude.

But you’re more than just the sum total of your past pain and heartbreaks. You’re more than just a survivor and a “beater of the odds”. You are a fully-formed person, deserving of all the good things this life has to offer. Your dreams matter and you deserve to have them all come true. You’re not just here to make the world a more beautiful and loving place (though you do that so well), you’re also here to reap the benefits of that beauty and experience pure, unadulterated joy! You deserve this!

So go ahead and put yourself first for a while. Because it’s up to YOU to live a vibrant and meaningful life, filled with wonder and bliss. So use your time wisely, choose your friends carefully, and remember your dreams and your purpose. Hydrate your mind, your body, and your soul. Always be your most authentic self. And never settle for ANYTHING less than what you truly deserve.

Before I sign off, I want to talk a little bit about rest. Taking care of yourself means getting all the rest you need; not just exhausted sleep, but real, restorative REST. Your body needs rest. Your mind needs rest. And your spirit needs rest. If, in order for you to get the rest you need, you have to shut yourself off from the rest of the world for a bit, then do so. Even if it’s only for a few hours alone in your favorite room.

I know your family needs you. I know you can’t afford to miss work.  But you know what? I bet if you ask a trusted friend to watch the kids or take care of your mom for a day or so, they’d gladly step in and do it. I bet if you actually took the time off your job probably already owes you, the place will still be standing when you get back. You just have to ask: for help, time off, a break. So go ahead and ask. You deserve this.

I hope you take this advice in the loving spirit for which it’s intended. Because I do love you. You are me and I am you. And most of the time “we all we got”. I love you, Sis. So take care. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. And please … be well.

All My Love,

Sophia

#selfcare #selflove #upliftBlackwomen #Blackwomen

 

ASK JANICE SPECIAL: How Ya Doin’, Sis?

How ya doin’, Sis?

It’s been a rough few months, hasn’t it? It’s as though we’ve entered a weird, combination of 1918 (global pandemic), 1929 (economic crash), and 1968 (civil unrest) all at the same time. We opened with the untimely and tragic death of NBA star Kobe Bryant; saw the Republican-led Senate vote to acquit the current occupant of the White House on two counts of impeachment; became completely obsessed with the antics of Joe Exotic and his arch-nemesis, Carole Baskin (Netflix’s The Tiger King); and the ENTIRE world caught a deadly virus which shut down EVERYTHING.

As a result of the COVID-19 virus, the economy tanked, causing millions to lose their livelihoods; states issued “stay-at-home” orders to stem the spread of the deadly virus, forcing us all indoors; then, armed civilian militias stormed state capitols to protest the stay-at-home orders; murder hornets are headed to the U.S. and a giant asteroid is headed towards earth; and the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of racists and George Floyd at the hands of (under the knee of) racist police officers sparked massive protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality WORLDWIDE.

And it’s only June! I mean, really, 2020 has been a wild ride!

So, I ask you again: how ya doin’, Sis?

Because we all know that Black women, in particular often bear the brunt of all the craziness going on in the world. For example, the racial disparities in health care alone make us more vulnerable to the ravages of COVID-19. We all know Black women who either couldn’t get tested or were denied quality care during this pandemic. And don’t even get me started on the covert and overt racism we experience on a daily basis. From the irritating microaggressions we grin and bear from our white colleagues to the “Karens” who want to call the manager/police/anyone-in-charge on us for simply existing in our Black skin, we catch Hell even during the good times. And these are not good times, are they, Sis?

So how are you? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you drinking enough water? Are you exercising and eating healthy? How are YOU?

I ask because I know you, Sis. I know how hard you work for your family and your people. I see you out there at these protests making sure people have enough water and masks, keeping track of everyone’s kids, putting yourself between the police and your husband, brother, son. I see YOU!

I see you driving around making sure your elderly relatives and friends have enough food, water, and toilet paper when they can’t go to the stores because of the virus. I know you’re helping the kids keep up with their schoolwork so that they don’t fall behind during the pandemic. I see you using what little spare time you have left to sew masks for your friends and to donate.  I see you out there taking care of everybody.

But, Sisters! If ever there was a time to make your own well-being a priority, it’s NOW! Because this is a marathon, not a sprint. We Black women already know that without us, this entire society that’s really a house of cards built on a shaky foundation would crumble. Or get burned to the ground. So we have to stay strong and be ready for the long haul.

That means you MUST take care of yourself. Drink more water. Exercise. Meditate and pray. Eat right. Laugh with friends. Make love. And take time out of every single day to center yourself and YOUR needs.

You can’t pour from an empty vessel, Sister. You’ll be no good to the people you love if you don’t take good care of yourself. So, if that means you have to skip the next march, then so be it. Let others march in your place. If you need to unplug from cable news and social media for a while, then do it. I promise, it’ll all be there when you get back. If you have to turn off your phone for a few hours every evening, then do so. Give yourself permission to stop, be still, and find some peace.

We’re only halfway through 2020, and there’s still so much work to do. Here in the U.S., we have an election coming that will determine what our country will look like for decades to come. We don’t know if our kids will be learning online or returning to the classroom. We have an economy to repair, deaths to properly mourn and funeralize, and a lot of healing to do. We’ve also got to keep the momentum from these protests going and set about making real and lasting policy changes. And that’s just a partial list.

So please take care of yourself, Sis. Put yourself first for a while. Take a break. Take a nap. Take a bath. Take a breath. Take care of you so that you can be battle-ready for the days, weeks, and months ahead.

I know 2020 has been a lot … but we got this. We will win.

Stay healthy and safe.

#BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForBreonna #SayHerName #BlackWomenMatter #BlackGirlMagic