Sometimes we need that extra boost because it helps us know that we're not alone in the world! Ok this may be a bit more for me, rather than for you. lol
Let's start with holidays because today is Easter! - a happy day, a day that most celebrate. However if I may . . . holidays are often a time of sadness for me because I think about my family - I miss them; My family and I are estranged. Nevertheless, my best friend always shares with me that your family can be the people you choose. And the ones who've become my chosen family throughout all these years... have always been my students, my assistants, & my mentees because I feel like they are always the ones who get me together lol (aka they teach me and I learn about myself, through them); They make me feel loved and appreciated (btw I received the most beautiful message from a former student today). And though they have their own families and some have chosen to move on . . . I still have this DIPR (deeper) love for all of them, to this very day! No matter what!
Back to the subject at hand - External vs Internal. And what do I mean pray tell
. . . VALIDATION?!?!?! Let's talk about it! I have chosen both explanation marks and question marks because sometimes it makes us feel too good because it comes from an external place and at other times it makes us question (internally) if this is something that we really need:
Well in my opinion, whether the validation is external or internal - it matters. Without external validation our work, our creation, our stories aren't seen, nor won't be acknowledged, and without the internal validation that empowers us, we wouldn't take that leap of faith or tell ourselves "Yes, I'm dope!." haha
So yes to VALIDATION?!?!?! We need it, you need it, I need it . . . BUT never become beholden to external validation - It should merely put a smile on your face!
~ deeply out ❤
I know we all see tons of SM posts about self care AND
what we should do AND
what it really means OR
even gives us examples of how we should care for ourselves BUT! I wanna add something that maybe isn't talked about that often:
RADICAL self care . . . not in the "black panther" type of way lol, but in the terms of what's working for me atm. We are taught to "do what's best for you" right?
Well, my radical self care isn't the norm . . . the massages, facial, bubble bath, get my nails done, etc type. My radical self care is EMPOWERMENT. How can I re-empower myself when I'm feeling hella low? I just came across something that helped me and maybe you can use this suggestion for yourself.
I recently wrote a 'controversial' letter and shared it with the dance community and better yet, the world. And I found out that whenever I READ what I wrote or share parts of my story . . . it EMPOWERS me. It makes me proud of myself...for moving past the enormous amount of fear I had before writing it, but also knowing that I'm reaching people who may feel good, bad or indifferent about it.
I'm learning that sharing my truth and advocating for myself is a true STRENGTH that I'm very proud to have. Many may fall off or hate me in some way, but MY story is MY truth, I wrote those words, that letter was written eloquently and very factual.
Long story short: Showcasing POWER is my Radical Self Care.
Why? Because I'm listening to my feelings and finding ways to cope with the feelings that don't feel so good.
FYI: Self Care via Google says: the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own heath; the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
Well Well Well Google seems to be right on the money! I've been HELLA stressed BUT I'm learning that MY self care, doesn't have to look like other people's self care.
SELF-EMPOWERMENT is my self care, my radical self care - reassuring myself that I matter, that I'm worthy to be loved and I have the right to stand in my truth!
~ deeply out ❤
I don't believe this serves as a tip, but I do wanna share something with you - starting with T for Thursday ~
T H E R A P Y
...therapy that doesn't involve movement or rehearsal therapy lol, nor am I referring to retail therapy or let's just do some self care & keep it pushin' . . . I'm talking about the therapy that will assist in your mental growth, from an outsider perspective.
We all have those friends that we can go vent to. . . like how I ALWAYS talk to my best friend re everything good or bad or indifferent in my life. However, if you think that I can't afford therapy, at this time - let me reassure you that YES YOU CAN!
I filled out forms with this black company, about where I am mentally, physically, and spiritually and after that I was approved for FREE Therapy. So, what am I saying? Do some research & find out what applies to you. :)
We're in a time and space where therapy isn't about lying on a couch with your legs up, like in the movies, & it's not just the therapy that becomes a sponsored post on Facebook. I'm referring to the therapy that will honestly help you slowly move 'one day at a time' or in my case 'one moment at a time.'
Life is different for us all, but my therapist reminded me today that
"YOU ARE MORE THAN THIS MOMENT." (I see her 2/wk btw)
She helps keep me on track and empathizes with my experiences, while validating the deep work I AM doing . . . and I can't always see it.
We all need that person.
~ deeply out ❤
Don't be afraid to ask questions . . .
Many artists think they should just say yes and "sign on." Most don't fully read the contracts they're given, if they even care about receiving one at all.
Yes, this may seem like I'm generalizing, but I've only come to this revelation because of how most employers respond when I ask questions about my contracts. It's like none of these (my) questions have ever been asked before.
So what am I saying?
Ask questions for clarity.
Ask questions for true transparency.
Ask questions so that you're not wondering later.
Ask questions so others are forced to respect you, on another level. :)
Ask questions BEFORE you sign on . . . you may find that you may not agree with all the terms. You may even look at it and see what more needs to be added. You may even recognize just how much value you have for yourself.
YOU ARE WORTH every penny!
P.S. Don't forget what your "non-negotiables" are.
~ deeply out ❤
It's ok to not be ok, right?
Well . . . I'm not ok.
However, I'm aware and have the tools that'll get me to a calm place or calmer place today. For example,
So what am I saying?
I'm saying that it's SO important to check in with where we REALLY are. Yesterday, I felt empowered, but last night I felt broken and today, I chose to start my day off with checking in with myself.
My suggestion to you on #mentalhealthmonday would be to REALLY check in on YOU. Instead of being so available to others, compartmentalizing or distracting yourself (aka ignoring your emotions). CHECK IN, better yet CHECK WITHIN, that's where you'll become more aware of yourself and begin to understand "what do I need right now?"
Personally, what I need is . . . a positive change to happen in my life again, my life for a year has been full of so much loss (heartbreak, betrayal, financial insecurity, etc)
I genuinely ask: What do YOU truly need?
~ deeply out ❤
What has given my spirit so much peace, a spark of productivity in the last 2 days is allowing inspiration to push me towards purpose!
My depression has taken me on a rollercoaster ride of un-productivity and accepting defeat. But yesterday I ran across an Open Letter by an artist in the New York Arts community, along with a Dance Magazine article that spoke about Racism and Mental Health. These 2 pieces inspired me SO much - to take action with my current project: BWYM, aka getting my ass back on social media, to share my new project . . . also resonated deeply with me.
In reading these pieces, it truly inspired me to take MORE action in my community - to make a difference in a more impactful way, regardless of the "rumors," the dislike, the ignorance, the 'not so good' reputation that I have . . . I'm passionate about mental health and sharing the truth about the harm that black women, black artists, BIPOC communities experience, etc.
However, the difference this time is . . . strategy.
If you strategize (like I'm strategizing my next move now), write & you still feel led to DO something . . . then, no one should have a say on whether or not you move forward with that vision. If you want your close friend, or tribe, or support system to SEE your vision or chime in with their thoughts . . . that's ok, BUT if you have the STONG desire to take action on something or to make a difference - I fully support it!
We often say that phrase with an arrogant and demeaning tone, BUT Do you! - is my way of sharing that your mental health is slowing improving. Do you recognize that? You're feeling something again. You've found passion again, just in a new way! You are contributing to your wellness, your well-being . . . YOU.
What is making you feel better today . . . than how you felt last week?
Remember: You are feeling better. You are feeling well.
~ deeply out ❤