Self Care Saturday

My Guide to Journaling

Hello everyone! So this is my first post on Self Care Saturday! Woooo! Self Care Saturday is pretty self explanatory…I give you different ways of self care on every Saturday of the month (or at least a Saturday of the month).

Today, I’m taking you into one of my favorite self care past time…journaling! Oh how I love journaling. There is nothing more therapeutic than writing in my opinion. I actually have three of them that I carry everywhere. Each one serves a different purpose.

  • My yellow journal is for my day to day entries. I always date the page and write about what happened that day. I like to do this after I take my bath or shower and change into a clean pair of pajamas (or an overlarge t-shirt). I naturally have an overactive imagination, so when I am starting to get bored of my surroundings, I pull out my journal and write how I feel.
  • My pink journal is for my dreams, goals, prayers, and manifestations. When I’m feeling low, I like to open up this bad boy and envision myself in a more positive situation. I like to write out little scenarios that I hope will happen. For instance, I wrote one about strolling through the Louvre in France wearing a flowy white dress with my curls in full bloom like flowers in spring. Man I was really in my feelings that day, I tell you. It just let’s your mind run free to a happy place.
  • My black journal is for my short stories and poems. They don’t have to be a full fledged sonnet; sometimes they’re just little quips and ideas. When something pops into my head, I quickly jot it down. I can’t draw to save my life, but some of them have drawings and doodles on the pages, as well as little songs that I may create.

Now having three journals might be a little excessive, but for me it helps organize my thoughts. But when it’s your journal, you can do whatever you want with it. It can be as messy and cluttered as you want. It’s for you and your thoughts. I would say, when journaling…

  • Sometimes choosing the journal is important. This is something that you’re going to be writing in, have it be enticing. You should want to write in it. I bought my journals at Walmart, but they are so cute. They are Pen + Gear Five Subject Notebooks. I love that they have little tabs to divide different sections of the journal.
  • Write every day. Every day. Even if it’s just one sentence. I am sad. I am happy. Thank you God. Shoot, it can be one word if you want to. Just make sure you write something.
  • It’s okay to restart. I have journals that haven’t been finished. Sometimes the things in that journal don’t give off the energy that you expect. It’s okay to switch journals and start anew!
  • Be in tune with your feelings and emotions. Don’t hold back.

That concludes the first Self Care Saturday post! Hopefully, you find a journal and fill its pages with stories, hopes, and well wishes.

Happy journaling!!!!

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Journaling

Month Number One: A slight rant and 400 years

January is coming close to an end. The first day ushered in this new sense of hope and discovery for all of us. 2018 was a year of realization. It was like a gnat; buzzing around our ears and crowding our personal space. The lessons of 2018 are going to be the foundation of my 2019, and so far I am still going strong. Could it be because of the new year and its new wave of energy, or has nothing really changed? Maybe this new feeling of purpose and confidence is some sort of placebo. Am I still the same person now that I was in 2018? Some of the voices in my head (true Gemini lol) tell me these things off and on, and I try not to succumb. If I really think about it, all of my manifestations for the first month of the year are slowly but surely coming into fruition, and I think that has a lot to do with myself, as well as the beginning of a new year.
I wanted to briefly talk about an article on The Root that I happened to come across while scrolling through the internet one day. The first person of African descent set foot on America’s soil in the year 1619. Ever since then, black people have had a treacherous experience here. We are seen as foreign objects that do not belong; the “other.” Our skin is discriminated against, as well as our hair, body types, and culture…but it’s always copied. Like I stated in a Facebook post a few days ago, we are the culture, we just never get the credit. I just thought that is was kind of interesting. This 400 years of slavery (even though slavery was abolished in 1865) may have brought some sort of curse. We might not be picking cotton in fields and being beaten with whips, but we are still slaves to systematic oppression as well as archaic ideologies of how black people should be. Jim Crow kind of still exists you know? It just manifests itself in various ways throughout the years. The 400 years trope comes from the bible. In Genesis 15:13, it says, “Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there (New International Version).” Sounds familiar doesn’t it? If you add 400 to 1619, what do you get? I know I’m not an aficionado in mathematics, but if my calculator is correct, you get 2019!
2019 is the 400th year. Has the curse been lifted? I can say as a minority in America that my experiences here have not been peachy keen. I mean, a bit of my self loathing as a child came from the fact that I did not resemble my Caucasian counterparts. Going to college in a town that is more than 90% white lets me know some days that I am not accepted in some communities. This, however, has only made me stronger as an individual and prouder of my blackness. People are so pressed that I exist, like…keep hating boo. 2018 had made me come face to face with myself. People will not always like me just by looking at me, and I can’t let that affect me. We as people can work together as a collective to strengthen our community, but we must first acknowledge the beauty and power in ourselves individually…and there’s an abundance of it. Do you know how important you are? How much you’ve endured? How much your ancestors have gone through? Your looks are envied by others. Your history is rich and full. Black people…that is all in you! It’s in me! And 2018 has made me aware that I am a blessing and I should think of myself as such. That might sound a little vain, but you are a blessing. You could be six feet deep in the ground. Every day that you live is a blessing.
I have a tendency to get rather preachy with these posts when I’m passionate. My main focus for this post is to say that we must break the curse that we held in ourselves, and that’s with changing our habits and thoughts. I need to plan out my thoughts; my mind goes a mile a minute. This month I have made an effort to better myself, and I will continue to do the same in February. I prayed and manifested for more experience in the career that I want to be in, and I was promoted to a higher position. I’ve had people from my past come and contact me, trying to slither their way back into my life…and I ignored their advances. My worth is much more important than a brief stint of attention. I’ve accepted the fact that I cannot change what has happened in the past, and can only move forward. I’ve accepted my face and the way it kind of hangs to the right. I’ve accepted my little round nose and full cheeks, as well my gap teeth (which I’m proud of). I’ve practiced self-care by keeping to myself when I need to. It’s okay to say no to hanging out. It’s good to spend time with myself and get to know myself even more. She loves overly feminine stuff. She likes perfume and getting her nails done and fashion. She loves to read and write and engage in her own little world. She’s introverted…but nowhere near antisocial. She is delicate, but durable.
I have taken steps toward keeping my peace. I’ve moved mountains this past month. I’ve spoken my truth and expressed my feelings thoroughly. I’ve come to terms with past mistakes that I have made, as well as acknowledge what I did to get into that situation in the first place. The groundwork has been laid, and I need to follow what I’ve laid. I’ve learned not to be as trusting as I have been in the past, and not tolerate the things that I have previously. I just feel chains falling and my head lifting. I just have a good feeling about 2019, even though we have had some major mishaps happen already (thank you Trump). I can only control myself, and I am trying my very best to not fall back and remain the way I used to be. I am slowly evolving, and I can see the progress.
In a few hours it will be February, which is the perfect month to talk about self-love. I want to tie self love in the black community, because I know that us as people are conditioned to think that our beauty is lesser than. I am beautiful. I am beautiful because I am black. I am beautiful because of my history, good and bad. I am beautiful because I am continuously growing and changing. I’m beautiful because I am finally realizing my worth. I am just beautiful….PERIOD!

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Poetry

In Me

Do you see beauty in me?

In Oklahoma

Seminole

Sunshine’s smooch

Mother Nature’s soul

Brown sugar

Emerald green

The hues inside my skin

The orange-ish reddish undertones

My moonshine distilled lips

Family

Grown in Jackson

Born Biloxi

Build them healthy

Cornbread

Collard greens

History

Chitlin circuit

Wrinkled hands

Do tell their take

But haven’t sold my legacy

Cracklin’ oil

Pops strumming

Guitar groans

Intertwine the tone that comes along

Through the Louisiana bayou

Your past lies too

No handwritten

Spoken fiction

Uptown heartbreak

Rhythmic lymphnodes

Teach me the code

Reach coast to coast

Your sister’s stories

Your mother’s prayers

Crest fallen goals

That I will break

And carry on

Let me add my verse

To the song

To the hymn

I’ll make it my own

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Facts and Opinions

Nike Up in Flames: Wasting Money in Protest of Preserving Lives

The company Nike is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. For thirty years, we’ve been lacing up their sneakers, pulling up their jogging shorts, and dressing ourselves up in the apparel and using the products of the brand. I have a pair of their gym shoes in my closet right now, as well as a pair of Nike sweatpants that I love to change into after a hard day of classes. Thirty years is a big accomplishment, so of course Nike wanted to do something special for this anniversary. What else than to do a campaign to commemorate the business being in existence for so long? Usually with a campaign, there’s always a face. Someone to represent the brand and all that it stands for. I don’t know anything about sports, but I know that there are countless sports players Nike could have chosen. Lebron James; arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. They could have gotten Laker’s wonder boy Lonzo Ball, or Lord forbid his Father. They could have gotten really anyone who has made news this year, but who would be appropriate to ring in Nike’s thirtieth year?

On Monday afternoon, former San Francisco 49er’s player Colin Kaepernick posted on his Twitter the ad that started a whirlwind of controversy, as if Kaepernick hasn’t had enough of it already. Nike had chosen him to be the face of the campaign.

fine ass woke ass brotha

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” is displayed in white words in front of a black and white image of Kaepernick gazing into the audience’s eyes. The picture is simple, and so is the quote. This quote is very compatible with what Colin is about.

In August 2016, Kaepernick was seen sitting down during the National Anthem. After being asked why he did what he did, he states, ” I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Even after that incident, the NFL released a statement recognizing that not all people want to participate in the National Anthem, and have the right not to. Kaepernick sitting out during the National Anthem, turned into him kneeling to show respect for the people of color who have fought and died for this country. He didn’t even have to do that! This began a grand controversy. Kaepernick continued to take a knee, and people began to impose their opinion on the situation.

More athletes began to follow suit, showing their support for Kaepernick’s plea, as well as what he stands for. During the National Anthem, Kaepernick’s former teammate Eric Reid joined him in his September 1st. Former Seattle Seahawk player Jeremy Lane sits out while everyone else stood for the Star Spangled Banner. From then on, other football players, basketball players, soccer players, even cheerleaders protested in solidarity with Kaepernick. It quickly spread to other walks of life. Students in marching bands were kneeling. Children would stay seated during the National Anthem when they would recite it in their schools. I went to a city school board meeting in the city of Charleston, Illinois, and when everyone stood for the National Anthem, I sat down and stared right at the mayor of the city. Savagery, right? I know, but this isn’t about me. With the support that was given to Kaepernick, the backlash was just as fast, if not more swift.

As of now, people are grabbing their Nike apparel and burning them. Literally igniting a fire on them. A video that I saw was of a man spraying lighter fluid on his white and black Nike sneakers and setting them ablaze. People are destroying their merchandise to try and stick it to Nike and Colin Kaepernick. Now, is Nike the most unproblematic company out there…no, but complaining over who they chose as the face of their 30th anniversary campaign really isn’t as important as people claim it is. I’ve been scrolling through my Twitter feed, and there is a mix of support and contempt. I was able to catch Trump’s Twitter comment, claiming that the stock and sales in Nike were dropping just like the ratings of the NFL.

Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!
8:39 AM – Sep 5, 2018

Donald J. Trump
@realDonaldTrump

If you can’t tell, Trump is not a big fan of Colin Kaepernick. I mean, he’s not a fan of people of color period, but he really has a problem with people who are against his policies. Trump, I will say, had a point. Nike shares were down about three percent Tuesday, but they are back up again today. With the numbers being shown, his WAY DOWN implication was highly exaggerated. So, as you may guess, Trump’s followers were not so happy with Colin’s stance either. And so Trump and his army spewed hatred and filth towards Colin, the NFL, any person who has kneeled to protest gun violence and police brutality, and anyone who agrees and stands with what Colin is doing. The main reason why people are upset with kneeling during the National Anthem is because they feel that it disrespects America, the people who fought for the country, and freedom, because that’s what America is supposed to be…the land of the free (that can be said easier for certain demographics more than others). In my opinion, that is further from the truth.

My Dad was a U.S Military Captain. He served in the military ever since he was eighteen years old. He was drafted in the Iraq-Afghanistan War and was stationed over there for three years. As a black man in America, my Dad has been pulled over the color of his skin. He’s been pulled over because he drives a Cadillac Escalade and, well, I guess black people can’t have those huh? He’s been spit on and called nigger and was told to go back to Africa by racists as he walked through certain areas of Illinois. But my Dad, an army veteran, and many other people’s family members, fought for the right for you to be able to stand during the National Anthem, but they also fought for the right to kneel. America is so free right, why aren’t people free to kneel? Kneeling not only respects someone like my Father and the brave, heroic efforts that he has made, but to acknowledge the fact that as a black man in America that American flag at first did not represent you, and until people of color are treated like human beings, it still doesn’t. That flag represents slavery. “That flag represents the pain and the turmoil that people of color have faced and will continue to face. American history for people of color hasn’t been that great to us. I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America. And to the Republic, for which it stands. One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Liberty and justice for all huh? That’s a stretch. Was there liberty and justice for Trayvon Martin, or Eric Garner, or Freddie Gray, or Sandra Bland, or Aiyana Jones, or Tamir Rice, or all the other countless black and brown people in America who have been gunned down, attacked, or penalized for being people.

Let’s go over the Star Spangled Banner quickly shall we. Everyone knows (or thinks they know) the first part: oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, so on and so forth. Everyone usually recites the first stanza, but there are actually three more. I want to focus on the third stanza more so:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

First of all, Francis Scott Key (the writer of The National Anthem) was a defender of slavery. Let’s just put that out there. Slaves? Loved them, or having them I should say. He believed that black people were “inferior” and were untrustworthy. He was an attorney, and overthrew many cases created by abolitionists. You can read right there in the stanza posted above. “No refuge could save the hireling and slave, from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” When I read that part, the thought that no matter what any slave does, they are going to die. They cannot be saved. Dr. Jason Johnson, a MSNBC contributor and The Root writer and political editor, confirmed my suspicion. In his Root article Star Spangled Bigotry: The Hidden Racist History of the National Anthem. With this article, he exposes Francis Scott Key and his background and his beliefs. He was opposed to the Colonial Marines, a battalion of runaway slaves who joined the British Royal Army in exchange for freedom. At the Battle of Bladenburg, Key’s was serving as a lieutenant. When him as his troops ran into a group of Colonial Marines, they were taken to a woodshed. He ran back home to Georgetown. The British troops then began to burn the Library of Congress, the Capitol Building and the White House. Key was not happy. Weeks later, in September of 1815, Key was on a British ship pleading for his friend, William Beanes, to be released. While on this boat, he was able to witness the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore. This is when the third stanza of the Star Spangled Banner was written. This stanza is basically threatening the former black slaves that were with the British army in exchange for their freedom. The National Anthem never counted people of color.

To summarize basically everything I said in this article, burning your shoes, cutting the checks out of your shorts and throwing away your Nike water bottles won’t really do much. Nike knows what they’re doing with choosing Colin Kaepernick. Him and his protest are making a lot of prejudice and racist people uncomfortable, and this new campaign is definitely adding fuel to the fire.

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