Standing Solo: Part II

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“You know I have the world to think
And I know I gotta go ahead and take some time
Because the last thing that I want
Is think that it's time that I leave the borderline”

- Borderline, A Seat at the Table, Solange aka Solo aka Young Muva

Our favorite young muva has taught us so many beautiful things about self-love and self-care and once she offered us a seat at the table we were running for our chairs. I think the beauty of Queen Solo comes from her being so transparent with who she is and no one can deny the unapologetic blackness Big Mama Tina gifted Solo & Bey. They were obviously guided from an early age with exceptional care but even with all the right tools the world can get in the way. So how do we maintain the love we have for ourselves in a world that is set on stripping us of our peace? We care for ourselves in ways only we can. Let’s get into just how we can keep that fire going with the greatest love of our lives, ourselves.

Be kind to yourself. Baby, there are enough people in the world looking to hurt you, don’t be one of them. It’s okay if you want to be better or do better but give yourself credit for what you’ve already done. Being gentle requires a multitude of attributes including patience and flexibility. You know the old saying, treat others how you would like to be treated? This may be a wild concept, but maybe you should treat yourself how you would like to be treated.

Take some time for you. Drop the kids off with your mom/sister/aunt/BFF, close your textbooks, silence your phone, just do whatever you need to close off the world and focus on you. Whether it’s just a few hours, a weekend, or two weeks, make some time for yourself in your crazy life. Read a book, kick your feet up, or binge watch your favorite show on Netflix. Make a little room in your schedule to work on your hobbies or simply relax because you’re no good to anyone when you’re run down. Give yourself a break and recharge before you go back to running the world.

Treat yo’self!! This is rule one in the self-care book. Most people associate the phrase with reckless spending but treating yourself doesn’t have to cost a dime. Treating yourself can be as simple as soaking in a bubble bath then taking a nice nap in the middle of the afternoon. The idea of treating yourself goes along the lines of indulging in something that you typically feel is a luxury. One way I treat myself is by taking myself to the movies. While not an extremely lavish experience, I feel like this is a small luxury, one which I enjoy immensely. I grew up in a simple family in a simple place so we didn’t go very many places when I was a kid, so the experience of being in a theater and watching a movie has always been a privilege for me.

Caring for yourself isn’t as straight-forward as it seems. Learning to care for yourself properly comes with time. We have been gas lighted and spoon fed so many ideas about what is and what is not socially acceptable based on our gender, race, or socioeconomic class that we limit ourselves and our happiness based on some universal law dictating how we love and care for not only ourselves but each other. It’s okay to buy yourself something nice or to want a day to yourself without the kids. This is normal and needed and telling yourself otherwise is unnecessary. You deserve a break from the real-world ever so often and I think you should take it!

Love yourself. Care for yourself.

Keigan Ross