As an undergraduate student, I was big on getting to my goals all on my own. I rarely went to academic advisor meetings, and I refused to be a part of study groups. I would not dare ask for help because I could figure everything out on my own… right?
No one wants to feel like what they have worked hard for was simply handed to them because of who they are. You have gotten to this point in your life because of your work ethic and your determination and no one should be able to take that away from you. However, what if I told you that some parts of your identity might help you navigate aspects of your experience more seamlessly than others?
To the young black girl with the big brown eyes, big dreams, big ambitions but small confidence, why do you forget the trail of diamonds and glitter you leave behind in every room you enter? Why do you shrink and downplay your abilities to make others more comfortable? Why do you let a world of problems overwhelm you when you know the power you hold within?
As I’ve gotten older, I started to resonate with the phrase “all work and no play makes Jim a dull boy”. As life has become more hectic and demanding, finding the balance between work in play has not been easy. Many times, I find myself bribing myself with a break or any form of enjoyment if I finish x amount of work. As helpful as that could be, it also can be potentially harmful. This is because you start to associate productivity with being deserving of rest or the pleasures of life. Sometimes it’s okay to finish 1-2 things off of your list and still decide to take the night off. Maybe you were not able to even start work today… this does not mean you should punish yourself until you get the work done. I have learned this lesson the hard way. I would force myself to check boxes off of my list for the sake of productivity without realizing I was not fully present while completing any of the tasks. There is nothing worse than wasting time by forcing yourself to do work that, in your eyes, is not considered quality.
On April 7th, 2022, Judge Ketanji Brown was confirmed as the first Black Woman Supreme Court Justice. Judge Ketanji Brown is yet another Black Woman who shatters the glass ceiling imposed on the abilities Black Women. She confidently challenged a system that is actively working against her. There is a trend that accompanies the success of a Black women and that is making space for others to also make their mark. Black Women defy the odds and gracefully elevate themselves.
In a perfect world, every day would be productive and fulfilling… Personally, some of my days are the exact opposite and sometimes I would beat myself up over it. I would experience this ongoing cycle of wanting to do so much but not having the bandwidth to engage in seemingly “basic” tasks. Social media and even college institutions attempt to utter words like mental health and self-care but there is a disconnect in what rest, self-care and catering to mental health looks like.