I always have a mantra for my day, for my week, for the month and then the year. I find that these mantras keep me sane and focused. More than that though, is that they help me to find my grounding in moments of great challenge. As a brown woman in this country, I find myself often presented with images that tell me I’m not worthy…these are my 7 secrets, my 7 life-saving graces that tell me that not only am I worthy, but I am capable, human, and undeniably present.

7: I Manifest LOVE. Love in my Self. Love in My Life. Love in my Surroundings.

My newest everyday mantra. I found this one because I decided that I really do want to manifest love in my life, but that I forget so often to start that process with me. Isn’t that odd? Love isn’t only about partners or lack thereof. It isn’t about friends or family. Love starts with self. Manifesting a strong center helps me to stay on task. What is it that I truly need to do? How do I do it? How do I love my self? How do I love my life? How do I love my surroundings? Even if I don’t, how can I embrace this moment? I like moving in love. Love is a mindset.

6: You are strong. You are human. Be no ones trope.

I had a moment today, where I was referred to as a “Strong brown woman” and I cringed. That trope will not allow me my humanity, my tears, my weakness, my wholeness. The tropes of Mammy, Sapphire, Strong Black Woman and more flashed in my mind. In the superwoman black woman trope, I am only allowed strength and not the multi-hues of my existence. I am strong. I am human. I am no ones trope. I am my own. So are you. You are strong. You are human. You are no ones trope.

5: No Overdraft Fees

How often do I allow people in my life who are causing overdraft fees to my mental, spiritual, physical, emotional well-being? It stops now. NO MORE OVERDRAFT FEES. I can’t afford them! As Ntozake Shange said, “You can keep a sorry. I can’t do nothing wit em!”. The only reason that I allow abuse of my existence is because I don’t respect myself enough. Love yourself enough. Know your worth. Add tax. Can this person still afford you?

4: What feeds my soul?

I have not yet had one job that truly makes me feel fulfilled. Yes, I’m an artist, an activist, and hold many skill sets in my toolbox…but just what is it that I really want to do? What feeds my soul? What makes me full like a child after a good meal? How often do I say yes to life knocking me around and finding a new definition of up?

3: What gives me joy?

Not just happiness, oh no. I mean pure unadulterated unfiltered joy. What gets me out of bed in the morning and makes me smile at absolutely nothing in the day? I am constantly looking for my joy. That black girl carefree joy. That brown womxn in the middle of nature joy. How do I find it? Where is it?

2: There is no comparison, only you.

I was listening to a song lately by an artist that I admire by the name of Dio Gandih. In the song, they talked about not having to compete because they were a leader, but not in a competitive way. In a communal way. In a collective way. It made me think about leadership and followership. I’ve been meditating on those things for a while and it’s always good to continue evaluation. There is no comparison. You are you and I am I. That’s just it. We live collectively, communally. I am not better than anyone. We’re all learning and growing at our own pace. Allow yourself that time, that space, that breath. Be gentle with you. You are precious, indeed.

1: My Life is My Own, So I Live It

Self explanatory….Live, my love. Not for anyone else, but for you. Because you want to.

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