Beyond Bubble Baths: Self-Love and Self-Care Look Different for Black Women
For Black women, Self-Care Sunday has not only become a trending hashtag but an obligatory necessity in order to survive 2020. As the twin pandemics of Covid-19 and systemic racism continue to disproportionately impact Black women, now more than ever, self-care serves as both our rest and resistance in the pursuit of self-love.
In her new book, After the Rain, Author and Self-Care Facilitator, Alex Elle, helps to redefine what it means to be at true peace with our individual growth and transformation. She benevolently echoes the value of loving up on ourselves, including being self-forgiving, even when our healing process may feel too slow in comparison to the grind culture that we have become accustomed to. Elle encourages us to take all the time we need to heal our bodies, hearts, and minds. Extending beyond bubble baths, candles, or incense burning, her skillful facilitation challenges us to go deeper in our self-care, asking us to consider how our identity and experiences as Black women are inextricably related to how we take care of ourselves.
After the Rain is filled with inspiring affirmations that harness the collective power, beauty, and resilience of Black women. Messages of hope reminding us to never compromise who you are, and to not give in to imposter syndrome. What is for us, will be for us. Historically and currently, as Black women navigate predominantly white spaces, we are all too often asked to suppress our identity, where we are subjected to tone and body policing, Eurocentric beauty standards, microaggressions, or simply being silenced when we dare to speak up; happening everyday in classrooms, boardrooms, meetings, and the casual trip to the grocery store. Despite these attempts to steal our joy, each chapter of the book calls us into the practice of self-care, reminding us that we have the capacity to release our pain, when we choose to show up both authentically and apologetically, Black. In reading the book, one of the quotes that I kept returning to that deeply resonated with me was, “you are not for everyone-and that is a blessing”. Those words spoke to my spirit reverberating the importance of knowing my worth, the necessity for creating space to make meaningful change in my life, and surrounding myself with relationships that align with my higher calling and purpose.
In these times of challenge and uncertainty, Black women are at the forefront of activism and liberation. We are literally putting our bodies on the line in the pursuit of justice. Before we can liberate others, we must first start with ourselves. Our self-care must be radical — one that is rooted in self-love, where we are intentional about ridding ourselves of the things, people, and institutions that are no longer serving us. This is no easy feat, however, enduring this process has the potential to become our greatest teacher on what it means to choose SELF, to love on SELF!
Black Women: We are the light at the end of the tunnel. Our pain is the gateway to our healing, and our joy is a form of resistance. The grace we extend to ourselves is the compass to our resilience and liberation. Only we can determine that for us. We must protect our peace, at all costs. In doing so, in any adversity, including the rain, no one or thing can dim our light.
Alex Elle’s, After the Rain is out everywhere on 10/13. Join her self-care community on Instagram @alex_elle.
Ralinda Watts, a native of Los Angeles, is a diversity expert, consultant, educator and writer who works at the intersection of culture, identity, race, and justice, sparking thoughtful conversations on what matters most; authenticity! Her weekly podcast, #RalindaSpeaks, is available on Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Connect with me on Instagram & Twitter @RalindaSpeaks