Take Care

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nayyirah waheed

My internship days have been long and depleting. The fluorescent lights in the building making me forget the time of day, to eat, and hydrate. I’ve struggled with self-care, and had to work even harder to make the space to care for myself. 

On my commute home last night from a 10 hour shift, and no real lunch break, I had to get off the train to pick up some fuel.  With every heavy footstep reminding myself that the end is near. I was parched and light headed, and felt like I couldn’t make it home. I popped into Liquiteria ordered the hangover cure.

My senses were immediately heightened with my first sip. I felt giddy at the taste of papaya, coconut, and honey. I smiled as I walked back to the train. The simplicity of caring for my body gave me goosebumps.

Waheed’s work, a beautiful reminder, that we are not defined by our circumstances.

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Prompt # 9

Write about the ways in which you care for your body. It could be the rituals you perform when you wake or prior to sleeping, baths, foods, or exercise. 

-Sarah
@CantFightTheFro
#CantFightTheFroGetsLit

Breathe, your spring is near

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S.R.W

Check out artist  Kaylie Wong’s  rendition of  S.R.W’s  work

Check out artist Kaylie Wong’s rendition of S.R.W’s work

My friend Christine reminded me to breathe last week. She bore witness to my tension, my tears, my fears, and my current process of transformation. I shared the struggles I’ve been facing and how I terrified, feel the growth, and my awakening. The awakening feels difficult to put into words, but the most I can say is that the experience feels like being unaware that you’ve been asleep, and suddenly realizing you’ve been asleep, AND everything suddenly makes sense/connects.

I believe that everyone’s awakening is different, so what I’m feeling and becoming aware of, won’t be the same as yours. When I saw S.R.W’s work (hand written by artist Kaylie Wong) on IG it made my heart skip a beat.

“If winter has courage to turn into spring, who says I can’t bloom just the same?” S.R.W

I was thinking about how my journey has felt like an endless and tiring blizzard. No sun for warmth. A lack of nourishment. Aching bones. An overwhelming sadness. But the courage I’ve had throughout this journey has been my north star, leading to the start of my awakening. I can see my spring in the distance. Golden sun rising to my truth.

Prompt #8

Write about an awakening or awareness you’ve experienced or are currently experiencing.

Sarah
@CantFightTheFro
#CantFightTheFroGetsLit

We be Resilient

Tina.jpg

Tina
Marie
Dominguez

My life changed the day Tina Marie Dominguez invited me to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe to hear her read poetry. I heard her truth, strength, vulnerability, and resiliency. Her unapologetic truth was a seismic shock to my soul, and thus began my awakening in my own artistic journey and self-awareness. Head to her IG to read some of her poetry which explores topics such as motherhood, latinidad, body image, self-love, and more. Have I also mentioned she’s THE most stylish guerrera faerie? #kawaiiaf

Dominguez’s work has been featured in the following anthologies - which is available for purchase:

1) Mujeres, The Magic, The Movement and The Muse: An Anthology of Women Writers
2) Peinate: Hair Battles Between Latina Mothers & Daughters 

Verbalizing and holding tight to our truth can be challenging when one has experienced trauma. I have experienced different forms of trauma in my life, which has prevented me to be unapologetic and stand by my truth. I can only speak about my experiences and myself and say that I’ve actively worked to get myself to this point. And what might work for me, might not work for you, but I would love to share just a few things that I’ve implemented in my life.

  • regularly seeing a therapist

  • surrounding myself with a tribe that cares for me

  • cutting toxic people from my life

  • increasing self-care

  • celebrating the smallest milestone

  • taking safe risks (Starting this blog to speak my truth!)

  • asking/reaching out for help (which for me is so difficult to do)

Whether it’s a space to create and self-express or mental health support, know that you’re not alone in this. I’ve listed a few resources below if you or someone you love needs support, help, or unsure of where to begin.

*Please be advised that this is a starting point and not a comprehensive list of resources. Any and all mental health and holistic treatments should never be a substitute from seeking professional medical advisement. Aka I’m not a doc.

National Suicide Lifeline We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 1-800-273-8255

National Alliance on Mental Health Top 25 Helpline Resources ranging from locating treatment, suicide and crisis, financial assistance, metal health conditions and more.

Washington Square Institute “Washington Square Institute and Training Center are integrated under an absolute charter granted by the New York State Board of Regents. Our mission is to provide excellent psychoanalytic and psychoanalytic psychotherapy training and continuing education, sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA), to mental health practitioners. WSI is a non-profit Institute⁄Treatment Center committed to providing affordable personalized mental health services by highly skilled clinicians to a broad and diverse population.”

Ali Forney Center “Our mission is to protect LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.”

HealHause “At HealHaus, we’ve combined diverse healing modalities and practitioners under one roof to provide people with an inclusive space focused on holistic health and wellness. We are committed to building a community that is dedicated to changing the stigma attached to healing.”

New Women’s Space “NWS is a vibrant and affirming community-led event space centered on gender equity, creative expression and celebration of identity. Our mission is to build strong relationships, create economic opportunity and inspire possibility for women, femme, queer, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in an accessible, supportive, safer space.”

Eres. “intergenerational digital media platform | social collective | womxn, gnc & nb | empowering others | inspiring action”

Prompt #7

What is your unapologetic truth?

P.S. You are worthy.

-Sarah
@CantFightTheFro
#CantFIghtTheFroGetsLit

Holding on

Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

The unexpected challenges of the month for me has been dealing with someone with the inability to be flexible, careless with their words and reactions while being ordained with authority. 

Lord have mercy...when that one person who will go out of their way to make your life hell and they have all the authority...it is one sticky situation. 

I've been reflecting on my reactions toward the situation, and noticing how I allowed the negative energy and projection into my life. Not only allowing them in to chip away at my confidence, but internalizing statements that are clearly not a reflection of who I am as a person and professional. Lucky for me, I was able to reach out for support in different areas of my life and ask for help and mediation. 

I briefly read up on Rudyard Kipling's life learning about some of his recorded tragedies and challenges in life. He found ways to hold on. Hard times befall every single one of us on this planet. Your story and experiences matter. So please hold on. 

Kipling's poem If is dedicated to his son. In this poem he discusses the challenges that befall someone, rising above it to essentially have the key to success. I looked at this poem as a letter to the self, reminding me to maintain my authenticity and hold tight to my truth. 

Kipling writes the simplest yet sweetest line, giving me the reminder I need, to make it through April: And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on"

Prompt #6

Write about the resilient will within you that keeps you going on the days you feel like you can't go on.

P.S. You are not alone. 

-Sarah
@Cantfightthefro 
#CantFightTheFroGetsLit 

Celebrating you

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Lucille
Clifton

Writer Devi S. Laskar, author of The Atlas of Reds and Blues, reads aloud Lucille Clifton’s won’t you celebrate with me, prior to reading her own work. Laskar’s post about Clifton led me into a rabbit whole of reading. Leaving me with the feeling that Clifton speaks directly to the soul.

I was reflecting on my own experiences and how they have impacted my life, shaping me into the woman I am today, and still ever-changing. I think of the inability to control certain circumstances, but also having the control to release what/who does not bring purpose to my life. Awareness of the self is the first step to making the changes you want in your life.

Prompt #5

What experiences in your life shaped you into who you are today? (Cultural, environmental, relational, etc.)

-Sarah
@CantFightTheFro
#CantFightTheFroGetsLit

We be Resurrection

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Maya
Angelou

I’m currently in a place where I’m at a loss for words, so I allowed myself to intuitively reach for a poetry book that called to me in the moment. I grabbed Angelou’s book., and opened up to Still I Rise. Make sure to scroll to the end of this post to listen to her reciting it live! May we always rise from the challenges that are placed before us. Remembering our greatness already exists within.

Writing prompt #4
Write about your resurrection.

-Sarah
@CantFightTheFro
#CantFightTheFroGetsLit

From the Ashes I Rise

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Nikita Gill

I’m learning and understanding my triggers and healing my trauma as I train to become an art therapist. The faith in myself sometimes falters when faced with challenging obstacles and people that embody the energy of past traumas. But I am reminded of my resiliency in my healing and those that support me.

Nikita Gill’s poem, “Phoenix Blood” reminds me of the rawness and vulnerability I’m experiencing while I journey through this Creative Arts Therapy program. The idea of boundaries and over giving of the self. I’m sharing a snippet of the poem so I don’t spoil this amazing read for you.

The second: people will try to obliterate you,
and believe me, even the ones that once
promised you forever will betray you,
it never fails to happen

When love turns dark.

Do yourself a favour when this happens;
reclaim yourself from them.

I know you have been taught
to slice out your own heart, hand it over again and again
to selfish hands, because it is all you
have known since you were a child.


You can purchase her book Fierce Fairy Tales, here. UGH! Mi corazón!! How many times have we given ourselves to others who’ve taken advantage or tried to cause harm in some way? And in what ways can we reclaim ourselves? This isn’t the prompt, but it’s a great way to start thinking about empowering oneself.

From the ashes I rise
ready to reclaim myself
I am warrior
I am love
I am light

Writing Prompt #3
Describe your resiliency.

- Sarah
@CantFightTheFro
#CantFightTheFroGetsLit

Reaching for what calls me

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Rupi Kaur

Today’s post is dedicated to Rupi Kaur. Loved and hated by many. I reached for her book Milk and Honey when I was unable to verbalize painful experiences in my life. Her words, her simplicity, served it’s purpose for me. Whether she is a poet or not will be left up to you to decide, but for me, her self-expression was what I needed in that very moment. If there is an artist you gravitate towards, especially if it helps in your healing, then hold tight to that song, or that work of art, or that poem you read in junior high school. Trust your process.

As I currently navigate rough waters this semester as a graduate student, I felt compelled today to reach for Milk and Honey. I flipped around trying to find the right poems to help me express today’s experiences as an intern. I am grateful for the artists that create. I am grateful for the ability to have access to a variety of mediums to help process, bring healing, and understanding when my words are unavailable.

trying to convince myself
i am allowed
to take up space
is like writing with
my left hand
when i was born
to use my right

- the idea of shrinking is hereditary (p.29)

=============================

you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out
i was not made with a lightness on my tongue
so I could be easy to swallow
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget and not easy
for the mind to follow      

(p.30)

Prompt #2

Write about a time in your life when someone tried to put out your fire.

- Sarah
@CantFightTheFro
#CantFightTheFroGetsLit

National Poetry Month Begins and you're invited to write with me! #CantFightTheFroGetsLIT

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I’ll be featuring one poet a day that has inspired and impacted my life in some way, and a writing prompt to go along with that theme. I would love to read any poems that you’ve written as a result from these prompts, and feature them on my Instagram! So don’t forget to follow me
@CantFightTheFro and tag your work #CantFightTheFroGetsLit

So grab your beverage and snack of choice and something to write with. I try and block out at least 20 minutes to write and 10 minutes to re-read and make any changes. So block out what you can - - 5 minutes to two hours, and definitely don’t feel pressured to complete every daily prompt. You can always go back and write. Remember to be kind to yourself when participating in any challenge.

 The first post is dedicated to Emily Dickinson, and her poem, “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” I remember my mom picking up a book from a dollar store about dreams and Dickinson’s poem being included in the collection. I was obsessed with the monochromatic gray scale illustration of a young girl wandering through a leafless forest. Dickinson helped me play around with my own identity and navigate life finding my own tribe. It’s a poem that I’ve revisited at different stages of my life.

Prompt #1
Write about the first poem you’ve ever read, and it’s impact on your life.

Sarah ♥
@CantFightTheFro
#CantFightTheFroGetsLit