#OscarsSoWhite: 3 Ways to Respond to Being Overlooked

Oscars Statues

Photo by Prayitno (License)

Why has the exclusion of black people and black movies from the Oscars been so frustrating and upsetting to us? Part of the reason is because the actors, writers, and directors that we support, look up to, and are inspired by aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Another reason is that excluding black narratives and characters from the nominations makes us feel like our own lives and experiences are being invalidated. Finally, I believe that the lack of black nominees in the Oscars this year resonates with us deeply because as black women we have experienced similar invalidation throughout our lives and careers. We know the pain and disappointment of being overlooked and underrated. We are familiar with the frustration of having our ideas and abilities repeatedly questioned. The fight to diversify the Oscars is not just about the entertainment industry, it’s also about fighting for our lives, our work, our stories, our selves to be acknowledged as important and legitimate.

So how do we manage the stress, pain, and disappointment of being overlooked? How do we make time to affirm ourselves when the rest of the world is behind the curve? We must validate our experiences, acknowledge our accomplishments, and celebrate ourselves. Continue reading

Sankofa: Drawing Strength from Our Ancestors

Sankofa is a Ghanaian term that signifies the importance of drawing on our past in order to move forward. While some of the current struggles that we experience as black women are unique to our time, there are similarities to the challenges that our female ancestors faced. I believe that reflecting on the strengths and experiences of black women who came before us can give us insights into how to endure what we face today. In particular, one common challenge involves balancing our identities as women and black people in a social environment that often pushes us to prioritize one identity over another. In this post, I will review the experiences of three black women and highlight the lessons we can draw from their lives. Continue reading

Making it through Hard Days

clouds-194840_1920We all have hard days; the ones where things just don’t seem to come together. When our mood is low and we’re irritable, when it feels like nothing we or anyone else does can make us feel better. Sometimes these days are caused by difficult circumstances and other times it’s unclear where they come from. If you’re having a lot these types of days in a row for several months, it may be a sign of  depression which should be treated in the context of therapy (see this post for guidance on finding a therapist). However, even a few days of feeling blue can be hard to manage. In this post I will share the strategies that I use when I’m having a hard day and hopefully they will help you make it through yours with grace and awareness. Continue reading

Self-Love for Valentines Day

roses-690085_1280Self-love can make or break your Valentine’s Day whether you’re single or in a relationship. When I didn’t truly love myself (sometimes I still struggle with this), I always felt like the things boyfriends did to show their love for me fell short, or the happiness that their show of love brought would pass quickly. Part of the problem was that because I did not authentically love myself, I was looking for the people I dated to fill a void that only I could fill. If you are in a relationship this Valentine’s Day, you may be focusing on what your partner is going to do for you and if you’re single you may spend the time feeling down and complaining about potential partners. This year I charge you to do something different. I encourage you to reflect on how well you are loving yourself and to take some intentional steps to indulge in self-love on Valentine’s Day.

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Finding & Choosing a Therapist

Mountain RoadFinding a Therapist

Since I spent my last post encouraging you to consider therapy, this post will help you navigate finding and choosing a therapist who is right for you. One of the first things to do when looking for a therapist is to check into the mental health benefits of your insurance coverage. There are laws that require health insurance companies to cover psychotherapy. You can learn about your mental health benefits by calling the number on the back of your insurance card. You should ask what your co-pay or co-insurance is for therapy sessions and whether you need to meet a deductible prior to the co-pay/co-insurance kicking in. A co-pay is a flat fee that you pay no matter how much the therapist charges. A co-insurance is a percentage of the therapist’s fee that you pay (e.g. 10%) and your insurance company will pay the rest. If using your insurance is affordable you can use the provider search page on your insurance company’s website to search for an in-network therapist in your area. Continue reading