By DaiJhah Owens
I typically stick to writing about current social and political issues. I tend to steer clear of sharing anything too personal because I am typically a private person. However, I felt led to share a little insight into the wild journey I took this year and how it led me to where I am now: radically & unapologetically choosing me!
2019 was something serious, y’all! It was a challenging year for me in more ways than one. Now that I think about it, most years have been hard in their own way, but 2019 was different. For the first time, I forced myself to take a look at…well, me. For years I had neglected myself in order to care for others, and I didn’t realize how bad it was until I made the choice to go to therapy. See, for black women, choosing others over ourselves is not foreign. In fact, we are socialized to do so. We are taught at an early age to put others’ needs above our own and betray who we really are for the greater good. Black women are often thrust into situations as young girls where we have to become the caregiver to our families. We tend to “grow up fast” and not because of our own choosing. If we didn’t take care of our families, who would? As we get older, this can manifest itself into chronic self-betrayal, co-dependency, and self-hatred. This is where I found myself.
For so long, the comfort and care of others meant more to me than the pain I was experiencing. I had no boundaries, whatsoever! Whatever anyone needed, I was captain-save-a-you know what! Then one day this summer, something clicked. I was exhausted. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. I was tired of being run over by people, run over by my past, and run over by my life. I was tired of life happening to me and feeling like I had no control. I knew I wanted better for myself. I knew there was generational trauma that was too heavy for me to carry any longer. I also knew that I didn’t have the tools to go it alone, so I sought out a mental health professional. I found myself on this journey to heal and for the first time, I chose DaiJhah.
Now I know, self-care and all the buzz words that go along with it can be seen as a trend or a fad that will fade with the next generation, but I see it differently. I don’t view it as a bad thing that “everyone is doing.” I’m thankful everyone is on the bandwagon of healing. An entire generation will be defined by our ability to realize something isn’t right inside of us and we needed help. The future generations will be better for it!
For a black woman, choosing herself will probably be the most radical thing she will ever do. At least for me, it was. I felt selfish at first, and at times I still do. But I knew if I didn’t do it in 2019, I would live with the regret of living a life that was not my own but molded by others.
So far, 2019 has been the best year of my life. Not because everything was great, I was miserable A LOT. But because I finally chose myself, and for that, I am beyond proud! If you are given the chance to choose you in 2020, I pray that you do!
DaiJhah Owens is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. DaiJhah is passionate about shifting political power to oppressed groups through education. She believes there is nothing more powerful than an educated black woman who can smell political BS a mile away! Connect with her on Instagram at @d_nakhole!