My Self Care Start
In the beginning...
A little more than 10 year ago I started a blog, also named Izdabes. It was in the late 2000's, I was in my early twenties finishing up college in Philadelphia. I had just split from a group a friends and moved in with someone - who started off as a friend and later became someone to feud with. When I started that blog I had a completely different take on my value system (read: I had none) and I was deftly unaware of my value and potential. What I did know was that I liked to write - that some people liked to read what I wrote and I could actually afford to start this as a habit. There was no theme and topics ranged from visiting friends out of town - college computer lab photo stories, graphical depictions of sexual encounters, bad poetry and reviews of tv shows, books, movies and events. No theme - no pressure just me feeling like I needed a place for my words to live. Shit is different now. Everyone is a goddamn brand, trying to influence the next bish and look the prettiest.
It was during this time that I had accumulated a shit ton of bad habits, namely chain cigarette smoking, self-harm and way too much alcohol. I think at that time - I was convinced life would get better and things would make sense. When I moved from Philly back to my Native NY and then eventually settled into a small brownstone apartment in Bed Stuy, that would become my home for nearly 6 years - I had no clue about how the numerous missteps I would go on to take and the countless encounters with people would all collude to this moment. I was just so caught up in my feels and used my destructive patterns to cope with all the confusion stemming from so much internalized angst. Looking back though - life did get better. I was so obsessed at that time with having a "career," and a "body of work," but I was paralyzed by fear and self doubt.
In 2011, I experienced one of the greatest tragedies in my life: the violent death of my oldest friend, Jannette aka Pook. Her murder shook me to my core and that loss forever changed me - it sent me into a spiral of depression and consequentially (with the exception of an ill timed and misspelled Facebook update) I stopped writing both on the blog and for therapy. If someone during that time would have told me to keep writing/chronicling/imagining/journalling - that it would serve me fundamentally I would have not believed them, but then again I was really poor at promoting my self and I did not believe in my value - so how would they know! Pook was a writer too - and I believe her spirit kept my mind in tact and guided me away from my feeble attempts to be recognized in the entertainment business and lead me towards looking at the systemic causes of trauma in my community. It was in this same year I was able to professionalize my community organizing work and built a foundation of proof for myself that my existence wasn't a waste. This was also the same time that I began going by my nickname "JET."
Doing social justice work - though problematic at many junctures was a point of retrieval for my beat down soul. I was able to walk through, grab and discard so much shame I had about my background, my economic position and my "station," on the many social totem poles that I so treasured at that time in my life. Working on issues about the local environment and validating the lives of so many people who looked and lived like me opened up a portal in my ability to complete tasks. It also introduced me to so many radical women who would go on to share with me materials, tools and spaces that furthered my political, intellectual and eventually my spiritual growth. The keke about this entire moment (college graduation through late 20's) is that if one were not directly in my orbit (namely the women in my BFF tribal council) - there would be no true indication about all my struggles with self worth and confidence. I dressed nice, hair did - no visible signs of stress.
What is this?
This space is a clearing house for my thoughts, a platform for all of my beautiful accountability partners and a place where I can share things with the community of people I connect with daily via social media and in person. Somethings will feed the soul, other things may agitate it - some shit will be down right beautiful. So many bloggers, through their earnest essays and storytelling helped me feel like I belonged. So many books, movies, talks, concerts, albums and conversations saved my life many times over and I committed to sharing my vision of the world through the written word.
I used to hear the word "radical," and wonder how partnering it with "self-care," could even be a thing. I always associated the idea of radical to a shift in policy, belief systems, or economics, "how the fuck could a damn bentonite clay mask and a vegan diet be radical self care?" The reality showed me that deliberately making space for myself to exist, to feel good, to look good was something the world (subtly and blatantly) did not want for this particular body I was born into. So, no a face mask and a day off from a shitty job and a cute pair of earrings will not solve all of your emotional, mental or physical problems but it gives you a minute to breathe and just fucking be. This site is my self-care blog, my innanets boutique, my sounding board and eventually the most desired site in the entire universe!
Self Care for Baddies
Before reading several titles on the subject of self-care and self love I read a lot of afro-futurism. Before knowing that self care and self love had nothing to do with how I looked or spending money- I spent a lot of time in the house reading & experimenting with face masks. Below is the book Wildseed, written by [Mother] Octavia E. Butler and a recipe for a mild bentonite clay mask.
This story of Anyanwu and Doro spans centuries and is a part of a three book series - - allowed for my imagination to take flight and for me to believe in the magic that is my life.
Gentle Bentonite Clay Mask
- 1 - 2 tbsp of Bentonite Clay
- 1 tbsp of Water
- 1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix liquid ingredients in a non-metallic bowl with non-metallic spoon into the powder until a smooth paste forms. Quickly apply to your face - avoiding eyes. Leave on until dry - then rinse with warm water and wash cloth. Follow with lots of (alcohol free) toner and a couple drops of a soothing oil. Smooth as a baby's ass.
Read the book while your face is tightening from the clay and give yourself a fucking break.