Sometimes we can demonstrate it better than we can say it. "I need rest. I need to take time for meditation." We can spend lots of time repeating ourselves "I'm gonna do this or I'm gonna do that". But what happens when you stop speaking and start doing? It gets the attention of others especially those close to you. Imagine my surprise when my daughters gifted me with a certificate to Massage Envy for Mother's Day. Most times they will ask what do I desire but this year my request was simple, a picnic. Unfortunately, this year Mother's Day fell on the rainiest day of the last two months and I wasn't too happy about that "liquid sunshine". Still we, my four daughters and I spent time together over a vegan dinner and caught up with each other. I would venture to guess they got the clue when mom decided to take her solo retreat in the South back in April. I was thankful but more than thankful, I had hoped that my actions and commitment to self care and rest would speak volumes to them as young women.
As a mother who spent more time working outside the home and attending school part time for a second Masters,I know and understand the pressure to do and be your best for the ones you love. The summers did grant opportunities to spend quality FAMILY time but not solo retreats. Most times my girls did not attend summer schools or camps. If they did , it was for a week or maybe two. Let's face it, if you work in a stress filled environment and interact with hundreds of people both youth and adults, who may be exhibiting multiple personalities on any given day, it can be exhausting. How can you be your best self consistently? At one point in my life, I was determined to get some peace and signed up for Yoga classes for almost 3 years, very expensive yoga classes and even took them while pregnant with my fourth daughter. Can I tell you as black women when you walk into a clean space, with spotless wood floors, bright white walls and succulent plants adorning the shelves? You think this is it. I have found my place of rest. And if I am honest, those spaces were filled most of the time with white women. In fact when I started taking yoga classes in 2006, most times I was the only black woman attending those classes at that studio. I no longer practice yoga for reasons to be discussed in a latter article. What I do know is rest, peace, relaxation and self care are words that became synonymous with white women. It was almost as if Rest and Black women was an oxymoron. I had a running joke with my friend , one in which we talk about wanting the WWR ( White Women Rest). I suppose we joke about it because seldom do we see black women and rest being marketed in media or demonstrated in real time among peers, friends or family. We see black women single and married working hard, staying busy, taking care of children, grand children and sometimes great grand children and husbands. And some of us take much pride in it. They call us strong black women as if requiring rest means we are being weak. When we do see black women engaged in self care, it is more so for aesthetic purposes and not holistically. I would love for us to move beyond that place and teach our younger generation of black women.
So this year on Mother's Day when my beautiful, growing, ever evolving beautiful brilliant daughters thought enough of me to offer a gift of a massage, I was so proud. Maybe they are learning that rest is just as important as the other things that mom wants to leave as her legacy,