It has been five months since Breonna Taylor was shot in her home by police. As of today, no one has been arrested or charged for her murder. Innocent Black transgender women are being killed, and no one is held accountable. There is a daily surge in COVID-19 cases, but thankfully, people find the courage and strength to march for equality and equity for minorities. I wake up every day plagued with fear, stress, and anxiety. I think about death daily. As a queer Black woman, I face constant challenges and hardships; quarantine and the killings of innocent Black people only add more stress. I have to prioritize quiet time, recharging, and trying not to take on other people’s burdens.
It is hard to balance life’s everyday changes. On the one hand, my relationships are thriving and I have more time to do things that I love. On the other, there is extra pressure to perform daily activities and push through simple things. The most minuscule task like eating seems daunting. And yet, I try to find beauty in every little detail. In fact, there is peace coupled with these unsettling times.
I plan less and live in the moment more. I am learning more about myself during this time than ever before. I make space for myself and find healthy productive ways to stay active. My self-care routine and newfound hobbies keep me grounded, safe, and positive. This is an unprecedented time to be a Black queer woman in America, but I choose to focus on the good by being proactive and honing in on myself. Here’s how:
Therapy helps me find a balance between strength and emotions. As a Black woman, I thought strength came from being guarded and stoic. Because of therapy, I am re-learning what strength means and how to apply it to my daily life. I am also learning how to manage grief caused by the onset of COVID-19. Therapy is my hour to be completely vulnerable, transparent, and honest. I am overcoming obstacles and practicing mindfulness. At the end of each session, I commit to self-compassion and am empowered to be my most authentic self.
My grandmother is the cook and pastry maker in my family. I spent many hours learning from her in the kitchen. As a child, I remember sifting flour, whipping room-temperature butter, cream cheese, and confectioners sugar to ice a red velvet cake. Each lesson I learned in the kitchen inspires my baking ritual. I lean on my southern roots when I bake. The process of assembling the mixer, gathering the ingredients, and following the recipe creates patience. Every fluffy sweet cake, pie, or cookie sparks joy. Baking creates peace and the final result is always delicious.
Reading is my form of escapism. Fiction and self-help books build my imagination and spark my creativity. There is beauty in creating an alternate universe. This is how my ideas form and eventually translate to paper. As a writer, I read, analyze, and critique text daily. My library is filled with stories of heartache and triumph written by minority and LGBTQ+ authors. This is my space to educate myself while growing in my craft.
Writing in my journal is an opportunity to practice gratitude. It is where I release my thoughts and clear my head. I record my mood and recollect my previous day. This is my only time to put pen to paper, so I take this opportunity to write affirmations and manifestations. A significant part of my spiritual journey rests in speaking and writing my goals and visions for the future. Words have power, and I harness that power for good. Journaling allows me to take time to improve my skills and grow in my field. Writing releases stress and worry; it fuels my creativity. It is a mental breath of relaxation. Writing reminds me that all of my energy can be placed into words. When I journal, I express myself. Stringing words together is a constant reminder of practicing until I am proud of the final product.
I write about our victories as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. As the Black Lives Matter Movement slowly shifts to a marketing tactic, it is important to document the journey through words. I choose to do this by holding the powerful accountable and bringing attention to the abuse of power and minorities being abused in the workplace. I use my words to write stories that will bring awareness, educate, provide peace, and uplift both communities.
Growing up, my family encouraged me to play instruments, so I chose the clarinet. Now I practice acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and bass. Whenever I feel overwhelmed or anxious, I play. It is one way I create art and another way I express myself. Learning to play takes patience and tenacity. Once muscle memory kicks in, I move from one song to the next. Now I look forward to learning new songs and finding new ways to play chords.
The recent events stir frustration and anger. I decide on how to address this negativity. I choose to use this moment to create, encourage, and find peace. I dedicate time to write and be a champion for the rights of my community. My work is only beginning.
This is the time to redesign our lives. There is no right way to practice self-care. Find peace in small things, go for walks, start a garden, create art, or sing out loud. Life is a journey and should not be taken for granted. What we do now will ultimately lead us to the future.
At this moment, we as a community have the right to express ourselves. It is clear that we are facing challenging times and people are ready for change. It is time our country treats its citizens equally. We have to meet the moment. No one knows what is on the other side, but we will get through this together.