Your Voice 2016

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just breathe

How women of color are practicing self-care in a Trump world

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After Donald Trump won the presidency last night, I took a klonopin and went to sleep. The next morning, I woke up and made a smoothie with spinach, banana and strawberries, but threw it all up 30 minutes later. Since I was a little kid, I’ve carried my anxiety in my stomach—and it’s only gotten worse.

Food isn’t my comfort today. Women of color are. So I reached out to several who I love and respect to see what they’re doing today to heal. Here are their tips:

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“I’ve been reading Langston Hughes, and letting myself be quiet. I told a white coworker to leave me alone. I’m remembering how we have already been surviving this shit. We were born surviving this shit. I’m taking my pills.”
– Morgan Parker, poet

“I’m going through my survival archive on Tumblr, reiterating the resources in there for the people who need it, checking in on the people I love (like you all). When I can get out of bed, I will take a bath with my lover in some orange peels and lavender, and we will sit and be scared and plan and watch for patterns and signals. I’m making sure we both eat and drink water—small things. And I am reading Martha Gellhorn’s The face of War and [James] Baldwin in The Paris Review: ‘Write. Find a way to stay alive and write. There is nothing else to say.’”
– Arabelle Sicardi, writer and beauty expert

“Took the day off and am hotboxing my house (I smoked four joints yesterday). Writing with no purpose, and watching black standup, which always calms me (usually after another police-murder video). Only talking to friends, and listening to St. Beauty’s ‘Borders’ on repeat. Cooking.”
– Judnick Mayard, writer and nightlife queen

“Turn off social media, cook dinner with your family, make a photo album or scrapbook of everything before today, so you can remember you survived—and you will because you literally have to. Your blood is the strongest of all the world’s people.”
– Jenny Zhang, writer and poet

“I woke up and listened to Solange. I’m going to go boxing later today. And I’m unfriending every ignorant friend or family member I am friends with on Facebook.”
– Tahirah Hairston, Fusion culture writer

“Meditating; I started out the day with yoga and meditation. And a little bit later, I’mma go out and buy myself a nice lunch.”
– Deidre Meyerson, my mother and so much more

“Washing my hair; washing my hair takes time, so it’s something I usually can’t do during the week. But today, I am doing that. I am going to eat very well—proteins and vegetables—a diversified diet. I won’t drink until it’s dark, but I will smoke until then. I will go for a long walk, too. The city is extremely quiet today.”
– Doreen St. Félix, writer

“I did not watch any media coverage of the election last night; that felt like self-care to me. It just feels like a soap opera. Today, I woke up and I’m doing a 40-day meditation practice called the ‘Oneness of Heart,’ and it’s a meditation to connect with my heart on a deep level. With all the chaos and dismay around the world, to value my heart and all connections available and around in all this division, is important. Also, taking time to breathe and to cuddle.
– Shirley Johnson, psychotherapist and yoga teacher

“I had an 8:30 AM parent-organizing meeting. We led with a check-in, which was meaningful, and then proceeded to conduct a meeting about how parents were going to lead the charge to improve their school. It helped remind me of the work that matters. It helped get me out of despair. [It] put my feet on the ground and [helped me] remember [the] humanity that exists in our city, and that organizing is our way out. As soon as I left for work, I started to cry. Everything else hurts, but being there helped. Also, holding my baby—that helps too. I’ve never been so happy to be woken up at 5:30 AM.”
– Sadye Campoamor, community affairs director at New York City’s Department of Education

“When I feel hopeless like this—because of my humanity, because of what’s inside of me—I like to watch YouTube clips of black women winning awards. Ha! It’s weird. I like to pull Halle Berry winning her Oscar or Lupita [Nyong’o]. It is such a balm to see us WIN, even though now, it seems like those moments are now much fewer and far between. But for a fleeting moment, yo—I watch women, black women, my women, win and cheer and cry and stand on top of the world—and I feel like there’s room for me.”
– Jazmine Hughes, editor

“Scheduled acupuncture appointments at a low cost ($45) at Pacific College of Medicine [in New York City], playing gospel, drinking water, and giving myself gentle touch. That’s about all I can do right now.”
Lucille Songhai, community affairs director for the Manhattan Borough President

“Music, dance, food, friends. I’m djing my monthly party on Friday [in New York City], and I hope that can be a space of comfort for people. Gotta dance this off and prepare for four to eight years of intense work. Gonna put energy into making art…I also got kittens over the weekend, so I’ve mainly been just hugging them.”
Thanu Yakupitiyage, immigrant-rights organizer and DJ