Unpacking The Bags of Others.

Erykah Badu’s song “Bag Lady” released in the year 2000. I was only in the 5th grade and I would ride the bus to and from school on the other side of my city, but I remember the bus driver would always have the radio on and it would always be on the soul and R&B stations so on our way to school and on our way home from school the bus would be full of kids singing along loudly, not fully understanding what these songs were actually about.

I remember listening to “Bag Lady” literally thinking it was just about women carrying too many bags. Like the kind you see struggling to catch the bus, with a bunch of groceries or shopping bags, but as I got older I began to understand the figurative meaning of carrying bags. We as women tend to carry a lot of them and often times when we’re told to let them go…we don’t know how.

Sometimes as black women it’s hard for us to unpack the luggage we carry because often times its not our own but someone else’s so we don’t even know it’s there. But it is and it affects us and those around us deeply. If you’re one of those women it’s time to start doing some self-checking on the state of your mental and emotional well-being. If you haven’t done so, now’s a great time to start. Who’s bag are you carrying?

There are times when I’m around certain people and my entire attitude just shifts. I find myself easily agitated, complaining and upset and it’s really unnecessary for me to be feeling that way. There are times when friends are going through a tough time and while it might be ideal to be there for them, their energy is taking a negative toll on you. It’s okay to let all of that go. It’s also okay to be there for them without taking on their baggage. It’s possible.

Don’t burden yourself with someone else’s baggage. Women we are often guilty of doing that. We absorb the burdens of our children, our family, our friends, our significant others and we carry them with us. We can’t resolve them because we don’t even know that the death of your friend’s grandma’s sister’s cousin is stuck with us. You don’t know that your best friend’s boyfriend’s financial issues are now your burden because she talks about them whenever you’re around each other. You don’t know that any of it is there simply because it isn’t yours, but it’s there. We are the original empaths, but while we’re emotionally investing in others, who’s checking on us? Who’s bags are we carrying?

So in the words of Ms. Badu “let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go.”

5 Podcast To Get You Through The Monday Blues

In this digital age, there are certain things that I miss at times like the importance of a landline phone, or a good paperback book and talk radio shows with music and hilarious discussion topics. I’ve jumped on the podcast bandwagon. I love them. I laugh with them and shake my head in agreement with their commentary. There are five in particular that I look forward to every week to get me through my 8 minute ab workout or help me get through the digital pile of deadlines that find their way onto my desktop.

The Friendzone 

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I’ve been a HeyFranHey fan since my earlier Tumblr days in 2009 and she serves as the right amount of balance between Assante and Dustin with their hilarious antics and commentary. Listen along every Wednesday as Dustin Ross, HeyFranHey & Assante explore mental hygiene, because who in the hell wants a musty brain? 

Girlboss Radio

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In case you’re ever in need of some morning inspiration #Girlboss legend Sophia Amoruso finds some of the most brilliant women entrepreneurs and gets all the inside scoop on their building process, career gems and strategies. It’s also girl chat as well.

Black Girls Talking

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It’s like dialing up for girls on a conference call. Black Girls Talking is a podcast wherein 4 black women discuss pop culture, Beyonce, & the pursuit of the perfect body oil.

Another Round

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Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton cover everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes, all in one boozy show.

2 Dope Queens

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Join the 2 Dope Queens, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, along with their favorite comedians, for stories about sex, romance, race, hair journeys, living in New York, and Billy Joel. Plus a whole bunch of other s**t.

Produced by WNYC Studios.

So you know, while you’re brushing your teeth or while you’re getting dressed or frying you an egg or simply making a smoothie, give one of them a listen and get ready for some morning laughter.

 

 

Am I Doing My Part as a Social Activist?

Many of you expressed regret for not attending any protests over the weekend. Many of you expressed that you had no desire to attend a protest, but you still want to be an advocate for social justice and do your part as an activist in your communities. I’m just going to say that if you didn’t attend a protest or stand on the frontlines…that’s okay! I came across a recent post discussing that how as writers, artists, and creators, it is our job to speak about these things, but at the end of the day, in my opinion, they are just words. I’m more interested in how those words are received. I’m more interested in the actions behind those words, so yeah I can write a blog post about social injustice, police brutality, and political warfare again racism in the hopes that they will inspire you to get out there and do something or I can just show you the best way I know how.

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When most people think of social activism, they only see this…

There were a plethora of protests that took place in Jersey over the weekend and I could’ve taken a train to get to any of them, but instead I was at the public library assisting with a kid’s book club in Trenton. It dawned on me, that change began right there where I was at.

I thought about the kids. The next little girl that will walk in my shoes when she gets to the age 26 or the next little boy who will celebrate his eighteenth birthday in the years to come. Don’t get me wrong, I will fight for my brothers and sisters. I will fight with them, but for the people who don’t know how to do their part, I say start right where you are. For me, it was at that library, helping those children read.

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…not this…

Maybe protesting isn’t your thing, and it doesn’t have to be, but you’re really good at organizing workshops and programs for different audiences such as children, or teens or other ethnic groups. Maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe you’re a lawyer or someone interested in practicing law and you’d like to teach a compliance workshop or a “know your rights” class. Maybe you’re a doctor and want to discuss the mental and physical effects of protesting. Maybe you’re a teacher and want to teach an educational class on diversity and tolerance to small children. Maybe you’re a chef and you do your part by providing food and drinks for people who are protesting. Either way start wherever you are with whatever you have and that’s how you can do your part as a social activist.

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What can you do with what you have?