By declaring a three word phrase, Congresswoman Maxine Waters has offered new confirmation for self-care
Journaling also gave me space to release low frequency emotions that can be cumbersome and weighty. A 2002 American Psychological Association journal article cited research from Dr. James Pennebaker that suggests in addition to mental health benefits, journaling can boost immune functioning.
Releasing the “Strong Black Woman” Trope
While often lauded as a compliment, the “strong Black woman” stereotype or trope was a key factor in how I viewed my time. This trope frames African American women as superhuman figures who can bear any burden and carry on without even flinching. For the unmarried, separated, or divorced mother, it can become THE rationalizing factor leading African American women to easily relinquishing our time to everyone but us.
Through attention and intention, I have detached myself from this and other tropes designed to shame, isolate, and silence my existence, allowing me to reclaim my time and live freer.
Making Creativity My Sanctuary
As the marriage between me and my college sweetheart began coming apart at the seams, life still required I remain a dutiful homemaker and primary parental figure for our four young children. I dedicated almost every waking hour of my day to someone besides me, and drowning in this reality may have been closer than I realized. Thankfully, I discovered a freeing, creative outlet through creating the H.Y.P.E. Hip Hop Therapy curriculum.
This form of the creative arts became my self-care, connection to my community, sanctuary, and emotional outlet. In an American Journal of Public Health review exploring the impact of creative arts on wellness, researchers observed several positive effects including healing and spiritual awareness. Through connecting to my creative mind, reclaiming my time became second nature.
Representative Maxine Waters and her avant-garde understanding of the worth of her time inspired hilarious memes, catchy social media posts, and even a song. But be clear, for many African American women, it is confirmation that we must take control of our most treasured commodity; time.