*This is for all women, but more specifically for my fellow black girls at Goshen College.
Dear Black Girl,
After speaking to other peers around campus, I have come to the conclusion that this semester sucks. Our government is fighting against us not only because we are black, but also because we are women. Every inch of our identity is being scrutinized, criticized, and observed by people who think that have rights to us, to our souls and bodies. But I am here to tell you, they do not own us, and we do not owe them anything. To paraphrase Vanessa Garrison, for black women, whose bodies are buckling under the weight of systems never designed to support us, we must become our own lifelines.
I know it’s easier said than done to act on this, so I’m here to give you some of the personal steps that I take daily, to remind myself that I am so much more than just that angry black woman our society has created me to be. (Which, P.S., of course, we’re angry. We have every right to be, but that’s beside the point.)
7 Steps to Black Girl Self-Care
Drink your water. Use cocoa butter. Lather in it. Bathe in it. Breathe in it. Just use it. Take care of your skin. If you are feeling good on the outside, you’ll feel good on the inside.
Take care of your hair. I know that it may seem that we don’t have that many options around town to get our hair done, but the resources are there. Go get it washed, get it trimmed, get your braids done, or a lace frontal installed. Look into it and make sure that you are accepting the beautiful crown that sits on top of your head.
137 black women die every day due to preventable heart-related problems. In a Ted Talk, Vanessa Garrison and T. Morgan Dixon gave the statistics and talked about their organization, GirlTrek, a group of women who walk around their communities for health and social change. It is proven that walking for thirty minutes a day is the best way for us to keep our hearts healthy. One of my favorite quotes from the whole talk is “when black women walk, things change” (cough cough, Ms. Harriet Tubman). So, go on a walk and clear your mind, take care of your body, and change the world in the process, because you can, queen.
Listen to the music created by the bad*** slayers who have faced the same troubles we have and written music about it. Solange, Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki, Cardi B… they may not have it all together, but they are proudly themselves, and that’s what we should strive to do, too. Plus, there are so many Black Girl Magic playlists on Spotify that can really hype you up, especially when you are doubting your melanin.
Poetry, stories, thoughts, doubts, whatever you need. Write down your frustrations, because then you are getting them out of your mind. Once they are written down you have so many opportunities to get rid of them. You can throw it away, set it on fire, reflect on it, answer the questions you have, turn it into a Record article, or slam poetry.
Find your tribe. We’re out here waiting for you. The Black Student Union is full of other amazing, empowering black women that walk around our campus. We are part of a sisterhood and we want to know you. We need each other here. Like I said before, systems were designed to break us down, and we are here to build each other up.
Raise your voice to God. Seriously. Our ancestors have been praying this country into motion since they were brought here. They have filled the soils of the United States with their voices and we need to do the same for the little girls that will come after us. We’ve all been through that stage of questioning our worth and our beauty. At this school, it’s easy to fall into self-doubt, because we aren’t represented as much as we would like to be, but we can still love ourselves. God created us perfectly, and if we can find a reason to believe this, and trust in Him, then we can make it through anything.
I love you my brave, black girls. We are here for you.
Treat yo’self, baby.