Tag: mental health

We. Are. Tired.

america, politics, society, thinkpiece June 22, 2020

I couldn’t get these words out last Wednesday, on my usual ‘new post’ day. I was too tired. I couldn’t do it last Thursday either, because I was too busy being tired carrying the weight of other things. And I figured talking about this on Juneteenth might come with bad juju, so today’s the day that I’ll say this:

I’m tired.

I was hoping I’d have more energy to talk about how urgently we must practice and protect our freedoms, how we undermine the size of our spheres of influence,

 

the history of governments wanting us to shut the fuck up, as shown through America’s Sedition laws, and The Earn It Act; I wanted to share notes from the talk I gave to a class at California State University last fall, in which I highlighted Michael Kent Curtis’s sentiments in his Free Speech, The People’s Darling Privilege, revealing, “the Supreme Court came to its current protective view of free speech only very gradually and only in the twentieth century…[due to struggles] between the Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans over the 1798 Sedition Act, the fight over slavery, attempts to suppress antislavery speech, as well as anti war speech during the Civil War,” but I’m tired. 

I wanted to talk about how The Earn It Act threatens our cybersecurity and free speech, under the guise of spending $5 billion towards “uncovering more child sex abuse material by investing in more FBI agents and online investigators,” but I’m tired.

I wanted to use this space–the one I pay to occupy–to inform, drop sources, and stir conversation, but, I’m tired, just like SO many Black women.

We show up, we take up space, we do the work, just like OLUWATOYIN SAULUonly to be subjected to humiliation or death by male assailants. We’re pushed in dumpsters for timelines. And when we’re not being called out for merely being, we’re gaslighted for merely feeling. Even after we start book clubs, and show that we truly just want the best for the people who look like us and still don’t see our humanity, just as much as we do the people who don’t look us and never saw us, we’re the least prioritized.

And when Black women are silent, because we’re busy healing from the traumas we carry; because we’re tired of screaming at the top of our lungs in memoriam; because we’re tired of our hearts breaking over the people who call us QUEEN with the same venom they’ll use to call us cockroaches, we’re selfish.

Why can’t we fucking rest instead?

"We mostly praise Black women for how much they can endure, strength, how much emotional labor they can provide for us. 
That alone is dehumanizing. Think about what you're contributing to. And please listen to Black women on this. You are causing harm. 
Protect Black women."

Why I Started ‘Oh…We’re Going There’ Podcast

podcast January 29, 2020

When I started blogging in 2014, I had no idea what I was doing…But, little by little I figured out that I wanted to create a space that told stories of all kinds. I came up with visual stories and look books, but for a long time, the know was a bit lost on me…I had to get very vulnerable with myself in order to share my experiences. As I peeled back the layers, the idea of turning my experiences with everything from heartbreak to discrimination into pieces that people on the internet could read slowly became second nature.

Then, I started to view think pieces as an opportunity to educate, or to spotlight other creators and entrepreneurs, and to create conversations. I started to play around with different content mediums–from YouTube and IGTV, to shows on MTV and ABC–all helping me confirm my passion for unpacking complex subjects–like the economy, social justice, legislation, diplomacy–just as much as I am about creating my usual–fashion, travel, art, and entertainment.

In an effort to get people my age talking about those important things, I decided to start a podcast from a lens that seeks to understand how Black and Brown Millennials and Gen-Zers are shaping and influenced by society. Why? We live in a world where those voices simply don’t get enough play. End of story. But whether Black, Brown, White, Purple, or Green, Millennials and Gen-Zers have been through a lot; the oldest Millennials entered the job market during the 2008 Financial crisis, have seen endless wars, ballooning student loan debt, report higher rates of depression and anxiety than previous generations, and have seen horrifying changes in the environment.

But through it all, Millennials and Gen-Z have found ways to be more vocal about things like gun violence, the US prison complex system, and LGBTQ+ issues, amongst many other things. And even though we’re characterized as entitled and lazy, members of our generations have created just about every leading tech company, and innovative service that has impacted the lives of nearly everyone on the planet. 

So, I decided to start “Oh…We’re Going There,” to talk about the gutsy things–real things–not the BS that reality TV is force-feeding us. And yeah, I’ve been there, done that with MTV Ghosted…but my podcast is an unfiltered version of stories that matter from change-makers like Nayamka Roberts-Smith, Bree Newsome Bass, Jaime Harrison, Shannon Watts, Shirley Raines, Saira Rao, and many more. 

So, let’s go there:

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Creating Your Happiness

happiness, lifestyle, mental health, society, thinkpiece December 18, 2019
"What would your younger self not believe about your life today?"

A simple question from “we’re not really strangers” spurred a thought within me. And though the occurrence could’ve struck me as mundane, given the mass of thoughts I bombard myself with on a regular basis, I found myself in awe of my answer:

“…how much happiness I’ve created for myself.”

It wasn’t what I had found–as I might a passion, or, hell, even a soulmate, but, how much happiness I actually self-manufactured day-in-and-day-out. It’s a bizarre revolution–one that both uplifts, and saddens you, because all around you, powerful propaganda asserts that happiness isn’t self-created. Society has worked for centuries to make us feel as if happiness has to come from some outwardly source: we’re made to want jobs, disposable things, and partners, that make us look and feel more important, until we’ve screwed over just about everyone to get it, and everything. still. fucking. sucks.

The only cure, it seems, is challenging ourselves to make the happiness we want to feel; to create it for ourselves, one step at a time. And on our darkest days, to feel that happiness is the strength to believe that the rain that’s pouring is only part of the sunshine.

But how can that sunshine be created?:

Creating Your Universal Balance

business, entrepreneur, lifestyle, mindfulness, purpose, society, thinkpiece, youtube August 19, 2019

Ahhh, balance…the thing we yearn for more and more as the years pass. But how do we create this elusive thing?

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The best advice I received lately was from the consummate badass herself: Mona Zak, a successful businesswoman constantly inspiring others with her 7 C’s to Ultimate Transformation, how she runs her real estate brokerage, or how she started her fitness line, just because.

…Monday’s are made for big starts, big transformations and taking big chances, after all. And there’s no one better to help you de-program than Zak.

Self-Preservation is Your Best Friend

know, mindfulness, thinkpiece July 7, 2019

The two-hundredth-and-forty-fourth anniversary of America dredged up some pretty powerful feelings about my own independence…or lack thereof. Days after, it dawned on me that my obsession with the latter (or the former, errr), could be tied to the impending arrival of my two-year LA-versary.

Thanks to Hollywood (one small neighborhood in LA), Los Angeles has been likened to some other world (true), where sunshine beats on you constantly (false). So much so that you might be wondering, “Tahira, what about sunshine makes you uneasy?” And the answer to that is: living in Los Angeles is the hardest thing I’ve done thus far. In two short years, I’ve learned a disturbing amount about myself and being on my own.

What that really means, and what that really looks like. 

And for some reason, learning these things has been seemingly more uncomfortable than my learning in other seasons in my life. Perhaps because I can no longer bullshit myself about who I am and why I am that way, but to make a long story short, I’ll say that I’m still trying to figure it out. One can only suspect that it has a lot to do with how good I’ve gotten at ‘picking and choosing my battles’–a practice so subjective by nature that another wave of discomfort is rolling in as we speak.

And perhaps that's the thing that really gets me about this town...

It makes you realize that nothing is good or bad. The only thing that makes it such is your perspective. What a beautifully hellish thing to be responsible for…. :’) And ultimately, that’s why I’ve come to see self-preservation as my best friend.

Merriam-Webster defines self-preservation as, “preservation of self from destruction or harm,” a biological reaction that boils down to survival of the fittest. But in my even simpler, zen-brain terms, self-preservation is what I do to not completely lose my shit. If life is an ocean of emotional triggers, self-preservation is your lifeboat. Not your mother, or your best friend, or your significant other. Love and fear of God is great too, but for good measure, pray for self-preservation.

I liken self-preservation to the duvet cover I pull over myself at night knowing that it won’t protect me from the ax murderer, should they arrive in the middle of the night, yet that cream, linen duvet helps me get in those Zzzs.

Self-preservation isn't false security.

I’m fully accepting of the fact that two locked doors are the actual barriers between me and this imaginary murderer, and even more privy to how ridiculous this analogy is, yet I don’t allow either of those facts to keep me up at night. If I’m being even less ridiculous, SP is any action that helps you to cope with the reality that a lot of sad, scary things happen in life, without diminishing life’s beauty. It’s the mediator that helps to balance you out after all goes left.

For me, that mediator comes in the form of mantras that I hold up against pretty much anything that happens in my life, including, but not limited to….

1. Love all, but give your energy to few.

Energy is expensive and we have to learn how to spend it. To my horror (and yours, I’m guessing), turning off your giving-a-damn-o-meter completely is impossible, but if you learn where to invest your energy, and how in what quantities, your life gains an under-rated calm.

2. See it and say less.

A ghost from dating’s past once taught me life’s biggest lesson: not everything needs a response–that includes people’s actions. Sometimes they have no idea that what they’re doing affects you big time; other times, they know what they’re doing, can ‘imagine how you feel’, and they just don’t care.

3. Relationships must be a two-way street.

Call me crazy, but whether familial, platonic, or romantic, I want the people in my life to do the work to maintain the connection we have. This may not look like a steady stream of communication, or time spent together, but if the answer to why we haven’t enjoyed quality time in 5ever is poor communication…I will happily remove you from my life.

Ciao. Poof. Finito. 

I take all of my relationships very seriously, and if you don’t, well…please keep your ‘pick-up-where-we-left-off’ mess away from me. Everyone has their preference, and mine is to unapologetically connect with the people I love as often as I can.

4. Cherish the people who show up for you.

You don’t have to search for your cheerleaders. Or buy some device on the black market to decipher their energy. You will know who is there for you and who is not. Celebrate those who are, they did not stumble into your life by accident.

5. Not all of your relationships will pass this sniff test. 

That’s the whole point…not all of them are supposed to, and that’s perfectly ok. Even the relationships that pass the sniff test today, may not pass it fifteen years from now. That’s why self-preservation should be our best friend.

And why not? Self-preservation is having the audacity to celebrate your life regardless of the circumstances. It’s the defiant act of celebrating who you are today and who you have in your life today, of loving all that you have for what it is, and of seeing the magic in this very moment.

Self-preservation allows us to see the beauty in all things, by helping us to reconcile the hurt we feel from the bad that occurs in our lives, without attaching it to the good. It’s the freedom to just be and let be. And you deserve it.