WHO IS THIS WOMAN ANYWAY?
a Black, female, educator, social worker, community organizer and facilitator. I am the oldest of 5 children of a single parent household. I went to 11 different schools as a child, survived abuse and chronic childhood illness. I experienced homelessness, death of parents and many friends. At the age of twenty three I became the guardian of 3 of my 4 teenage siblings and struggled through family dysfunction. And yet, I've still been able to find great joy in my life.
Self care is a major part of what brought me joy. Initially I did not even think self care was a thing. I assumed that my life journey would entail working constantly to fight off my inherited poverty, that taking a break wasn't really an option for people that were Black and poor - taking a break equated laziness. As a child the adults around me worked as much as they could and often attempted to ease their stress and overworked bodies with ill habits. I saw the toll this took on them and after a few years of simulating their ways - I realized that I needed something different - I needed to break this cycle of self deprivation.
Through self awareness, self reflection, planning and sustainable action I've been able to change my internal state and improve my mental health in order to dismantle fear and self doubt, leading to increased joy and contentment in my life.
I've obtained two Masters degrees, been honored by The Philanthropic Foundation, UAspire and am featured in the documentary Gaining Ground for my work with youth in the community, and am still reaching for whatever brings me more happiness and fulfillment in my life.
My aim for this work is not that you will never have fear, but rather that with a foundation of self care you can strike down your fears at any given moment. Self care breeds self love, self confidence and hopeful faith in the unknown; let us use this to defeat fear.
Photography by Brandon Slaughter