In 1978, Gloria Gaynor recorded a “little” song about surviving a breakup, and it was a hit. Even today, over 40 years later, it’s still one of the most well know songs there is. In fact, if you go to any karaoke night (around the world, even) you will more than likely hear some liquor-breath beauty belting out I Will Survive.
What that song taught us was pretty simple. Sure it’s about getting over a bad breakup, but we can dig a little bit deeper than that. It teaches us that when you’re feeling defeated and people have let you down, everything that you need to get through the hurt is within you. You (and all your strength and magic) is all you need to survive.
Most of 2020 involved us just trying to survive.
Survive a pandemic.
Survive trying to make the world see that Black lives matter.
Survive the political circus that is the United States.
Or simply just surviving to live and see another day… week… year.
And by grace, we made it.
So here we are, in the highly anticipated 2021. But have things really changed? I know things don’t happen overnight, but somehow the vibe just doesn’t feel really different yet. I don’t know… maybe that’s just me.
These first few days of the year I’ve been thinking what could be done so that there’s a shift in the energy (thereby “fixing” the vibe).
I became inspired by a quote I saw in instagram by Rachel Carole. It read, “who would we be if we weren’t just trying to survive?”
It got me thinking… what would it be like if we weren’t just trying to make it to the next moment? Who would we be if we weren’t in constant survival mode? Can you imagine all that we could be achieving? The possibilities?
And to be completely transparent, I’m not even sure I know what that would look like or if I would even recognize myself.
As a Black woman, I live in survival mode. Sure, a different degree of intensity at different times. But the fact still remains that I am always on guard, aware, and (in some form or other) fighting.
That thing people say about working twice as hard to get half as much isn’t just a trendy quote or saying… it’s our inherited lifestyle. I live each day knowing that this world is more difficult for me simply because my skin is brown. And I’ve become ok with having that knowledge.
We all have, I suppose.
So this idea of thriving is a revolutionary one.
The idea that we would not just want to make it day to day, but ultimately strive to live consistently in greatness and excellence… well that may prove to be a difficult concept to impose on your everyday Brown/Black girl.
I believe that a key part of thriving is having a foundation rooted in self-love.
Sounds crazy right? but think about it… When you love someone you do just about anything for them. You’re honest with them, respectful of them, and protective of them. That loving relationship (whether it be familial, platonic, or romantic) is built to last. Because true love is powerful and eternal and sincere.
A key part of thriving is having a foundation rooted in self-love.Nataya Unique
Imagine having that sort of love for yourself.
You’d fight like hell to get yourself the things you need to happy, healthy, and whole… right? You’d advocate for yourself when necessary. You’d feed yourself healthy, yummy foods. You’ll respect your body and have agency over it at all times. You wouldn’t apologize for your feelings or emotions or beliefs.
According to the Oxford dictionary, thriving is a verb meaning to prosper or flourish. If someone is thriving they are doing well because they are successful, healthy, and strong.
So if all of that starts with loving and caring for yourself, why not be intentional on doing just that. Why not be intentional about thriving?