Stop and smell whatever roses you want.
Make 2016 the year you say, “It’s time to do whatever the hell I need to do that keeps me sane.”
Hey there, lovely Ravishers! Welcome to 2016, and give yourself a hefty pat on the ass if you made it all the way through 2015 without punching someone in the throat! Is it me, or was 2015 just one of the most bizarre years in recent history?
Let’s see, we had Donald Frump — er, I mean Trump — announce his bid for the presidency, and then make good on managing to piss off just about every single marginalized group this side of the equator. The boys in blue (the awful, horrible, scary ones that your mama has always warned you about) had an all out field day in the Black community, from raping and pillaging to just straight murdering. And sometimes even murdering and calling it suicide (#sayhername #SandraBland) - ain’t that about a bitch.
The Black community was forced to remind THE WORLD that #BlackLivesMatter, the Hispanic community was forced to remind THE WORLD that just because it’s called “The DREAM Act” doesn’t mean their roads and inlets to education, family preservation, and human rights should be considered a pipe dream.
The Muslim community was forced to remind THE WORLD that no, they are not all terrorists, just like not all White people are Klan members, oh and one of my personal favorites, women all across this damn country had to shout, stomp, and damn near burn shit down just to remind the good ol’ boys of the GOP that, “Hey, if you don’t have a vagina, you might wanna keep your hands outta mine.”
All of that is enough to make my kinky hair go straight. Make it just lay down and die from all that damn ridiculousness. And sadly none of these fights have fallen to the wayside with the coming of the new year.
But in the spirit of resolutions, I’m asking you to make one - just one tiny, simple resolution. I am asking you to resolve to make 2016 the year of self-care. Yes. Do it. Make 2016 the year you say, “It’s time to do whatever the hell I need to do that keeps me sane.” When the shit hits the fan, and the fur begins to fly, make YOURSELF a priority.
That might mean saying “NO” — a lot. And that might look something like this:
“No, I cannot pet-sit for you this weekend. I need to rest.”
“No, I will not act as a go-between for you and your fighting boyfriend, sister, brother, parent, etc. I don’t like being put in that position.”
“No, I will not have sex with you tonight. You’re not my boyfriend and I’d really like one of those.”
Your “No” can look like this:
Or like this:
Or even like this:
If it looks like that, or even if it doesn’t look like that, it’s OK. It’s more than OK. Saying “no” in the interest of yourself often gets you labeled a bitch. However, I’d like to inform you that in actuality it should get you labeled as a fucking superhero. Like some Wonder Woman-type shit. Let me explain.
When you get on a plane, just before takeoff the flight attendants always go over their little spiel about seatbelts and emergency exits and oxygen masks. And what’s the most important thing they tell you about those tacky yellow cups with drawstrings for lifelines? Put yours on first before assisting others.
Because honey, if you can’t breathe, you sure as hell can’t help anybody else breathe! They’ll be steppin’ over your dead body on their way to the emergency exit sayin’ “Homegirl should’ve put her oxygen mask on first…oh well…keep it movin’ and quit pushin.’”
BUT, if you put your mask on first, you’ve saved yourself, and now you can save all those armrest-hoggin’ fools around you. And that, my dear, is self-care 101. You must take care of yourself if you want to take care of others.
Now you may be saying, “But Adiba, I already say ‘no’ to the things or people I need to say 'no' to. So, what else ya got, girl? Because I am buggin’ the hell out!” If that’s the case, first of all, kudos to you because it took me a hot minute to be able to say “No.” However, here are some other things you can do:
1. Turn off the morning news. It is rife with bad news, body shaming, and pointless infotainment. I swear Kathie Lee and Hoda have put women back a million years. They’re like the catty, bitchy best friends you have in college that huddle up at parties and talk shit about every other girl in the room. Ugh. You just know that as soon as you leave for another beer, your ass is up on the chopping block.
Instead, flip to Sesame Street. Seriously. If watching muppets reenact Mad Men doesn’t crack you up, you might as well just empty an entire bottle of whiskey into your coffee. All hope is lost.
2. Take a social media break. I know. It’s tough. I live on Facebook. I love to see what my pals are up to, their kids are up to, and yes, even what their fur babies are up to. But we all have that one person on our friends list who posts a plethora of trigger warning articles and memes.
Then we read the comments. Then we comment on the comments, and the next thing you know we’re so far down in the rabbit hole not even Stretch Armstrong can get us out. We’re ugly crying and throwing things, and looking for death spells to put on Joe Smith from Kentucky who said all Blacks, Muslims, gays and fat people should burn in hell.
So yes, do yourself a favor and just take Facebook off your phone for a few days, and block it from your computer. Yes. You can do that. Do it. Go cold turkey. Your sanity will thank you.
3. Head to YouTube for some mind-easing yoga. There are a gazillion videos on YouTube that can lead you through sun salutations, child's pose, downward dog and pigeon pose. An hour of deep breathing and connecting with yourself in a quiet meaningful way does wonders for the brain, and is proven to keep people out of jail.
I can’t tell you how many times an hour of Love Yo Body Yoga at my local Yoga Oasis has saved the lives of the people in my home. I’m fairly certain that if it were not for yoga I’d be in jail today. If you’re not sure where to start with YouTube and yoga, try Curvy Yoga — Meeting Your Needs With Love. Her voice is calming, she moves you through the poses with ease, and I personally like her because she reminds me that ALL bodies are yoga bodies.
So, lovely Ravishers, I hope beyond all hope that you will put yourselves first this year, and for years to come. You will not be a bitch. You will not be self-centered. You will be a damn superhero.
Go get your cape. 2016 is waiting.