Maybe it was the mid 90s when I was recently divorced and teaching 7th & 8th graders at an historically Black Catholic school. I was still figuring out teaching (an unending quest) and figuring out how to navigate the world as a single Black mother. When February rolled around, I was once again reminded how much I detested Valentine’s Day. This was not only because I’m not a fan of greeting card holidays, but because this one is packaged and sold to celebrate romantic love. Oh, did I feel left out! Well, that was until I remembered that ‘love’ is much, much greater that romance. I decided to celebrate “I Love My Black Me Day”. My students and I forgot about uniforms for one day and had a retreat where we had sessions on children’s involvement in civil rights, personalizing our faith, maintain relationships and more. I prepared breakfast for my students and their parents provided lunch.
The day has continued to be about loving my Black me for me and with 14 February around the corner, I’m making my plans! Will you join me?
I’ll plan to just relax this year. To meditate a bit longer, stitch on my grand girl’s quilt, listen to music, get a walk in if it’s not too cold and prepare dishes I enjoy for their flavor and nutrition. I usually pick up flowers at the grocery store, but not this year.
For the past few weeks, my work has been spilling into the weekend and I’m really looking forward to a day off, maybe even in my pj’s. I’m an introvert and I look forward to this Black me time alone, doing just what I want to do how I want to do it but, it would be fun for some to do something with friends, like maybe have a phone call or FaceTIme session and end it with “I love you”. Or, send your friends Valentine’s cards. This is something else I’ve begun to do. I think one of the most important dimensions of self-love is being aware of and open to the love of others. And that love can be recognized and celebrated as much as self-love.
No doubt you don’t have to be Black to enjoy any of this, but that’s how I framed this with my students so that we could embrace and love all of who we are. Now we call taking the time to love ourselves ‘radical self-care’. Loving ourselves, loving our Blackness is radical because there are too many messages that devalue and diminish us. Take the day to get to know the fullness of who you are again and celebrate it and teach the young people in your life to do the same.
Okay… back to blogging YA!! I’ve got a book to review!
The second image is from LOVE IS A REVOLUTION by Renée Watson.