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I Just Needed A Break

Authenticity.

It's been coming up for me a lot lately.

I've been drawing the same card over and over again (#iykyk)



I think of authenticity as evolution. Not in a wishy- washy way, but in a "honoring who you are while holding space for who you are to become" kind of way.


Years ago, I was so stuck, unhappy, and resentful at a number of things that hadn't gone well for me, that my definition of authentic used to be: "this is just who I am and you can fuck off". Something I now know is code for I'm hurt, I'm scared, and I need support.


So, if I keep pulling the same card, it stands to reason that there's a lesson I need to learn.



(Yes I know the picture doesn't show the full paragraph. The cards are linked here if you'd like to check them out. I've had them since 2020 and they're a necessary part of my self-care practice.)


I didn't grow up with social media, so there's still something very odd about sharing my life and thoughts. There's always a tiny voice in the back of my mind going- does anyone really care about this? Why am I even doing this? On some level it's insecurity and on another level, it is just friggin' weird. I mean honestly, did you ever think you'd be privy to so much about other people? Did you ever want to be?


So now, I'm in a marriage with my phone and some days I feel like we need a divorce.


Every single day, millions of people share so much about their lives and yet I feel that as a Black Mom in America who breastfeeds, who doesn't have childcare but is still a working mom, I often feel that the unrelenting nature of my roles and identities aren't reflected. I find myself gravitating to the accounts and people who value what I value: authenticity. Telling the truth. Taking up space in compassionate and loving ways.


Because you know what? Everything is not always ok. I am not always ok. And as much as I meditate, eat well, move my body, have a support system... sometimes I can't get rid of the not okay-ness.


There are three main buckets of time that I pour most of my energy into. One is my time with Zion, another my time with Mark, and finally my time for myself.

Here's the thing about social media: (and really anything else I participate in) the time has to come from somewhere. I refuse to take time away from my husband or my son, so I take time away from myself. Sometimes that's ok, and other times it's not because the cost is too great. It leaves me with little time to care for myself in a deep and thoughtful way.

The wisdom of knowing when to rest, and the strength to actually do it are things I will forever be working on.

And speaking of rest-

this is what I mean when I say a bubble bath or a manicure doesn’t fix anything; it’s a momentary feel good action. Sometimes, all you have is a moment, but it's still like putting a band-aid over a bullet hole. And especially for Black moms in this country- rest is essential to survival. Rest is essential to combating the chronic stress that is every day racism, discrimination, and general worry over the physical and psychological safety of our minds, bodies, and spirits.

Something that comes to mind for me here is the quote: "Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it." I don't get to choose many things, but I can damn sure use rest and joy as resistance. Get still, get quiet and take up space in different ways.


Motherhood is so hard that there is no word to describe the difficulties of having a job that you can never ever leave.


We all know this, yet in a lot of my interactions with other moms, there is sometimes the brushing off (i.e. toxic positivity) of the overall weariness that comes with the job.

you’ll be fine

you’re strong

it’ll change

don’t worry about it

have you considered daycare

do you have a nanny

maybe you should sleep train


While good intentioned, it feels like we’re just afraid to say that it’s fucking hard and unrelenting and sometimes you have no choice but to sit in it. It's ok to be authentic (there's that word again) and admit that it sucks. Then send emoji hugs in solidarity. Or offer to listen. Or send pizza. Because lying about it or pretending to be fine when you're not is exhausting. We don't have to wallow in it, but we don't have to lie, either. And it’s funny- I texted. I talked on the phone. I saw people in real life. No one knew what I was doing or who I was with or what I was celebrating or if I was having a good day or bad day. Oddly, I felt good about it. That's part of why I stayed off for so long. I wanted to make sure social media is something I enjoy and not something I need. That other people don’t validate me. That my life can be as big or small or public or private as I choose.


There’s a reason why so many people are sick. Life is sucking the life out of us.

Choose to be less busy sometimes and pour back into yourself.


And if the sound of silence is too loud, that’s information.

If you can’t “sit still”, that’s information.

If you can’t be with yourself or your thoughts, that’s information.


Are you living? Or are you hiding behind the façade of living?

So, I stayed off social until I didn’t want to anymore.

I hope you have the courage to choose yourself over and over again.

I'm glad to be back with you.


xo,

Ash


A quick update:

What I’m reading: Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

What I’m watching: Masterchef Season 12 (I'm obsessed with Gordon Ramsey #sorrynotsorry)

What I’m cooking: Grilled everything. Veggies, meat, fish... tis the season!

The last purchase I made: A water table for Sir Zion James

The thing I’m most excited about: Father's Day. It used to be such a source of pain not having my dad. It's still sad, but this year Zion and I get to celebrate Mark for the first time as a family of 3. My heart <3


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