Sister Sabbaticals: Why Black Women Must Explore

By Jasmine Kelly

This year, the start of the pandemic has been a period of exploration for everyone but especially Black women. The shift in our typical routines forced us to be introspective. Even if we did not want to be, some of us changed our fitness routines, some of us changed our hair, and some of us took off. Yes, many Black women threw their cares to the wind and finally “did that thing” that they always wanted to do: explore.

The first time I heard the word sabbatical was when I was in college. The word sabbatical was always associated with a professor who was away from campus yet doing meaningful things to contribute to their craft. Never have I heard it used for personal endeavors and Black women at that. With the pandemic, the two words suddenly became synonymous, and I realized how much it made sense to hear both words aloud.

I am fresh off finishing my dissertation and graduating from doctoral school. When I tell you, sis is tired, and sis is me, believe that! Hearing various tales of Black women situating themselves to explore their surroundings and beyond inspired me. Certain women, I follow on social media even documented their excursions. Writer, podcaster, and social critic, Demetria Lucas took her audience along for the ride of her sabbatical, which she called “The Oddessey,” via her Instagram posts and podcast.

Experience producer Karleen Roy showed us how peaceful letting your hair down can be in New Mexico as she explored lavender farms, deserts, and more. I was immediately intrigued.

I am not ready to take a personal sabbatical now, but it is my goal within the next three years. I am setting my intention and preparing myself to take a month (or two) away from work to see the desires that are separate from responsibilities entail. I have always done what I had to do (and still doing it), I await the day when I can dive deeply into what I want to do. I encourage you as well to explore what that looks like and prepare as well.

Jasmine Kelly is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Jasmine is a higher education professional who believes in the powers of Black Twitter. You can follow her on Instagram @chicomydusty.

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