Joy for a black person is political. Deciding that in spite of everything that is thrown at you, you still deserve that moment of light heartedness without guilt is an act of self love and preservation. It’s political when you don’t let the system break your spirit.
On my Instagram story I asked people how and where they are finding joy, and people said through being creative, through family and loved ones, through prayer and through funny social media videos.
Joy helps build resilience. It reminds us of the things that are worth surviving for. It gives us the light at the end of the tunnel, it gives us purpose. During this pandemic, I made it a habit to steer away from too much COVID-19 news, and leaned into creating self-portraits and positive videos. In the past three weeks I have been reminding myself of all the incredible works of Black women and men who got us here. I have been learning, volunteering my time, teaching… looking back at photos of moments spent and people I love smiling and having a great time, watching videos of black people laughing (thank you TikTok), babies being cute and old comedy specials. Nostalgia makes me feel connected.
Rest and take refuge. Pray, meditate, be present in your body, seek therapy and support groups. This isn’t just about self care – the constant racial trauma and stress affect our bodies by releasing the stress hormone cortisol which if elevated can contribute to heart disease and a compromised immune system. It affects our minds (check my previous post)…it can even affect our genetics.
So unplugging, stepping away, closing of the world for a day is sometimes necessary for your survival and you should never feel guilty for taking care of yourself. Your joy and life matter. Your existence is resistance. Lean into the little moments that make you smile. #BlackJoy
“So verily, with hardship, there is relief. Verily, with hardship, there is relief” [94:5-6]