Written By: Racquel Fullman (Chicago Ambassador)
This year has been filled with re-defining moments. From starting a relationship on New Year's Day, to losing my job two days later, to discovering that I have fibroids, to releasing something that I held near and dear to my heart, to unlearning a lot of what has been passed down to me, to finding myself in the midst of one of the most uncertain seasons ever, I have experienced every shift, transition, and transformation. While these have brought about more than enough emotional turmoil, the one thing that has remained constant is my growing strength, but not in a sense of me being able to handle a lot.
I realized that my strength has come from me learning how to reinvent myself, rediscovering my confidence, loving me for who I am, but most importantly, my strength has come from my faith. In this season of uncertainty, where I don't know whether I am coming or going, it is my faith in knowing that everything is going to work out that has kept me afloat. It has shown me that even though just about everything is unknown, there is beauty on the opposite side of it. It is what has kept me together, when all I wanted to do is breakdown. It is what reminds me that whatever happens is going to be exactly what I didn't know that I needed.
The three self-care practices that were crucial to me getting to this point were:
1. Fasting - I went on a fast during Lent and remembered what it was to have faith. To believe that things weren't as bad as they seemed. And to know that I am my own breakthrough because everything that I want starts with me.
2. Social Media Break - I went on an almost four month social media break to focus on me and to just be present. That and, it helped me to overcome the need to compare myself to others, which was a huge confidence killer. Now, I have faith in who I am and what I'm capable of. And there isn't shit that anyone can say or do about it.
3. Practiced Stillness - I have long been a person that was always on the go, a social butterfly, the one who everyone comes to, to find out what's going on. Life and all it's many obstacles has forced me to sit down and be gentle with myself. The stillness has made me look at situations not from a "why is this happening to me?" viewpoint, but now I ask "what is this teaching me?" and "what am I supposed to do with it?" That alone has birthed an even deeper sense of faith than I could have ever imagined.
From this year's event, I want all attendees to not only take away my three practices, but to understand that at the end of day, vulnerability and support are key. Yes, I had to do a lot of soul searching, and fasting, and “faithing”, but in order for me to do all of that, I had to learn how to be vulnerable and accept support when I was offered to me. The reality is that black women do not not know how to be vulnerable because in a lot of cases, that grace was never extended to them. And at this year's brunch, I want all women in attendance to be vulnerable enough with themselves and the women around them to share what they need in terms of strength and self-care, and be open to receiving the support as it is being poured into them.