Written by: Jeva St. Fort (Washington DC)
My journey to re- defining strength for myself began in 2017. By no means was the journey I was set to embark was intentional. It’s as if myself had enough with me constantly adding another “to –do” on my goals list. Checking off my achievements yet moving further and further away from me. The me that required no validation from any accolade or person. Suddenly my inner me had enough with dismembered version of self I had curated… my emotions erupted. There was no place to arrange her and continue as I’ve done previously. I was forced to face and re-define myself. Boy oh boy I can’t recall a particular time in my life where I allowed myself to cry for no apparent reason other than to release.
Managing self –care with my professional and social life was difficult at inception. I felt guilty, selfish, believing I was being non-productive. The downloads of what I should’ve been doing created friction with my desire to implement self-care practice which would take time away from other people, responsibilities and things. I went ahead and deleted those downloads and began my practice by purchasing a full length body mirror. And made promise to myself that I would sit for just 10 minutes a day for a week looking at myself. Sounds simple enough. That was sooooo hard sis!!! Within that week I noticed that I would do everything under the sun just to avoid not sitting in front of that mirror. I was hiding from myself. Then I began to journal telling the full truth. The following week I sat in front of my mirror three out of the seven days, then more and more days with each consecutive week. What I realized during those mirror meditations is that I was not only hiding from myself but was unconsciously creating more things to do just to avoid answering those hard truths. What’s not working?, Why am I doing this really? Who is Jeva, outside of what I do? Eventually I gained strength in removing those filters I curated and accepted Maya Angelou’s “ You alone are enough” mantra. Once I began facing myself I began to implement other self-care practices such as traveling. Taking solo trips , just me, myself and I. Doing exactly what I wanted with no outside input…not even societal downloads of what I should have been doing interrupted my process back to re-membering me. During this journey I learned to be kinder to myself, to forgive self, and re-define myself. In all honesty self-care to me is doing the things I enjoy naturally and saying no to the things I don’t.
At this year’s event I hope that women will acknowledge that simply being in the room with other women having these discussions has instantly initiated their own self care practice. Taking the day for you, to laugh, cry, or reflect. Allow your spirit to guide you on your individualized self-care practice. Listen to yourself quietly and respond to what your inner self is telling you to do. Whatever she says do just that.