This past week I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the #FemFuture retreat hosted at the Omega Institute in New York. This was a blessing that fell from the sky as I'm no longer a college student but now a young professional trying to navigate through "the real world."
After graduation, I had the realization that I'm not going to be a student leader anymore. The grassroots organizing, late-night planning for social justice workshops, marching in student-led rallies and traveling to youth conferences are now a distant college memories. I've been struggling trying to figure out how to maintain my position as an activist within the movement while balancing a full-time job, paying bills all while being in a new state.
As I drifted from the idea of activism, the opportunity was placed in my path. Perfect timing! It was just what I needed. The retreat was focused on self-care especially to feminists like me burned out or trying to regroup and get back in the fight.
I along with 20 diverse women well-represented from around the country were selected to attend the retreat. Feminism was in the air throughout our time at Omega. Mothers educators, women of color, recent college graduates, journalists, poets and more brought a distinctive uniqueness to the group.
Superstar feminists (whom I admire and respect ) Jamia Wilson and Vanessa Valenti organized the retreat. Our facilitator, Adrienne Maree Brown brought life to the day-long discussions as she guided us to indulge in powerful, thought-provoking dialect.
During our down time, for the first time I participated in a meditation class. It was so refreshing to sit in a quiet space and be free. Free from all things that bring distraction and negativity. Finding peace of mind and taking care of myself was my main focus. My goal was to stay completely unplugged from any distractions. At first it was hard not to respond to emails, texts, etc., but I knew I had to take care of myself.
It's important for all activists to know, it's important to take care of yourself. Self-care isn't about being selfish, it's about making sure you can stay powerful throughout the movement. If you aren't taken care of, how can you care and serve others? It's impossible. Self-care isn't about taking a trip to an expensive spa. Well, if you have the funds, go for it! It can be done in inexpensive ways that some take for granted or overlook.
Positive affirmations, daily journaling, yoga, meditation, exercise, end of the day reflecting, cooking, fun conversations are a short sample of ways to practice self-care. I learned to "make it my own" and do what you love that leads to you feeling good.
Once the retreat concluded and on the way home I left feeling empowered. I rediscovered my love for activism as a feminist. My rebirth was so refreshing. It feels good to have the support and community of feminists who share the same passion. I encourage everyone to take care of your overall well-being.
Adrienne shared a beautiful quote referencing self-care and I am compelled to share it with you to give you a dose of inspiration.
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare." ~ Audre Lorde