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Just Be You!


Essential Living Blog

The other day I listened to this TEDx talk by Denise Francis regarding her road to self-love. She spoke that African American women are trained to be “strong black women” and how we were never given the space to be anything other than strong. The talk resonated with me because she said the strong black woman is the healed black woman.

That made perfect sense to me. How can we be strong if we are harboring mental anguish and trauma? How can we be strong when we have the weight of our families, communities, and careers sitting heavily on our shoulders? Our mental struggles start with anxiety. We were entrusted with keeping everything afloat. We don’t have positive pictures of black women addressing their mental health. It is not ok for us to take some time to fall apart and get in touch with our emotions. We just have to suck it up, hold our heads up high, and keep it moving.

Since I’ve been off work, I’ve had a chance to slow down and think and get some coaching. My coach reiterates that I don’t have to be strong all the time, that it’s ok to feel what I feel. She also stresses that I get to decide how I want my life to go. Meaning just because society says that I should be a strong black woman and follow the pattern that suggests that we are successful: i.e., corporate job, 2.5 kids, and the house with the white picket fence, does not mean that is the path for me. I get to choose what’s best for me. If I don’t want to show up in this world as a superwoman, I don’t have to. If I don’t want to stay at a corporate job that’s draining the life out of me, I don’t have to.

The best thing that you can do for yourself is to find what makes you light up in the world. You need to find your lit path! This path is uniquely you. It is what resonates within you. It’s ok to be different. It is ok to follow the path least traveled. Give yourself permission to be you.

Now, if you don’t know who you are or what you want, that’s ok. Give yourself permission to find out. Do different things to see what you like. Go on a trip. My self-discovery really started in 2019 when I joined a group of women on a retreat in Paris. That got me thinking about who I was, what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to show up in this world. You deserve to live the life that you wish to, that makes you feel good about yourself! Honor yourself and go for it!

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