The 3 R's of My Life
Being a woman of color is hard. It's even harder when you're in a space that wasn't made for people like you in the first place.
I came to my university in a daze. My mind was filled with fantasies of the perfect college life. I pictured myself to be a straight A student. I dreamed of being the girl who did it all. You know, from being president of multiple clubs, earning accolades in every aspect of life, to finding and having the sweetest love.
These innocent daydreams became factors for comparison of myself and of other women on campus. I never realized that I started to set a standard for myself based on the lives of other women around me. That was dangerous. I feel that we have been so conditioned to look and feel amazing all the time, especially with social media now. Otherwise, we simply aren't "good enough."
What the media never taught me was how to appreciate myself in all of my being. From the color of my skin to the unspoken traces of generational trauma. The same trauma I carry upon my shoulders each day... but my being is not only physical. It does not only consist of what the world sees me as. If that was the case, I would be living in a self-imposed cage. Thus, seeing my worth narrowly through the eyes of others.
It never taught me that those factors are significant to my experience in a place like college and more importantly, to how I see myself as a woman. We are only in our 20's. Yes, some people do seem to have it "together" at this age, but no you aren't obliged to do the same. I promise that you are a unique being. It took me three years to finally realize that my being also consisted of the relationships in my life, my passions and interests, the kindness that my heart exuded, and so much more.
I have spent years picturing myself as a different woman, not realizing that I am already enough as I am at this very moment.
So I am here to reclaim my space and time.
If this spoke to you in any way, I want you to focus on these three things for the next few days:
Reflect. Re-evaluate. Rejuvenate.
Reflect on your biggest accomplishments thus far. It could be personal, academic, career-related, anything. As long as you felt that progress was made in that moment. Reflect on the mistakes you have made, and how you moved forward from those situations. The point of this is to both remind you of your lowest moments, but also motivate you because you were able to make it out regardless of the situation. This will also help you pinpoint your hustle.
Now Re-evaluate where you currently are in terms of achieving your next biggest goals. Are you involved in things that are of true interest to you? How much time are you investing in activities or things that don't make you feel as happy? What do you need to add or take away to ensure you're engaging at your highest potential? This is probably the hardest part because you have to learn how to say "no" and NOT feel guilty afterwards.
Finally, Rejuvenate. Take time for yourself. For some of us, rejuvenating means having an hour of quiet time and reading. For others, it's spending an entire day relaxing at the beach. For me, rejuvenating is simply cleaning the house and singing along to my favorite Neo-soul, R&B songs. Whatever it is for you, go and do that. If you know you don't like doing yoga, please don't force yourself to sign up for a class just for the sake of doing it to "feel good." Girl, that's called a front. Just be simple with it.
*Repeat this cycle when necessary.