This blog features one of our Creators, Karisma Ray. Karisma is an Atlanta-based blogger, business owner, and proud Spelman College alumna. You can find her blogging at karismaray.com and on Instagram at @karisma_ray.
As an African American woman, it has been both a journey and fight for wellness to be at the forefront of my life.
I cannot begin to express how much Onyx + Rose has helped improve my life and sleep quality as well as made me a believer that sometimes we might be one amazing product away from living life with wellness.
In this blog post, I'd like to share a bit about my experience and how important it is to highlight the invisible weight of being an African-American woman along with specific ways that I have navigated this.
As a small business owner and content creator, I often notice the pressures of simply existing at the intersectionality of both woman and Black.
As much as I want to be successful, I want to be well, too. Here is a bit of my wellness journey.
Finding Our Wellness Among Each Other
We pour. We add happiness to the world. We love hard. We are warm. We are shoulders to cry on. We are the anchors of our communities. And to be quite honest, we need spaces to be soft more than ever--not lazy--but soft.
I am proud that we are now entering an era where more people are understanding the balance of what this looks like. We are having more conversations (via social media) around Black women taking care of themselves. Mainly conversations among each other, sharing tips and products along the way.
I am a proud alumna of Spelman College, the number #1 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) according to U.S. News Reports. While in college, I experienced a level of self-care that I previously did not. As a Gullah Geechee descendant raised in South Georgia, it was at Spelman that I truly learned about the value of health and wellness. It was at Spelman that I learned it was a thing to be "vegan".
I witnessed the beauty of being a smart, hard-working, and accomplished Black woman, but also the beauty of how to pour back into myself through impromptu fitness classes. I learned from my "Spelman sisters" the importance of fruit and veggie smoothies, yoga, and meditation. Wellness became a lifestyle because it was embedded into the community of women I was surrounded by.
Finding Our Wellness Identity in the Midst of "Black Girl Luxury"
Ask any woman what they do on a continual basis to maintain wellness and there are often pauses, low mumbles, or one-word answers. I personally believe that it has morphed and exploded into the segmented movement we now know as #BlackGirlLuxuryTikTok--an invisible yet largely discussed online space and community in which Black women absorb and display the "soft life."
But even in that space and showcase of let me live this life of ease--- there still is an empty space that holds room for conversations like "How are you doing…really?"
Luxury is far beyond a new Chanel bag and a fancy car. Luxury is the ability to hire a housekeeper when you are mentally exhausted. It is having insurance for doctor visits. It is being able to have a supportive spouse who leans into your dreams as much as you do. For some, it is being able to come home, take a hot shower, and light a luxurious candle.
Luxury can also simply be time. For many African American women, it simply lies in our ability (and ease of such) to put our wellness at the forefront of our lives.
The luxury of wellness is something that we are often not afforded to have top of mind as daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and friends. A quick Google search and you will find tons of research and articles discussing African American women's pay gaps, financial woes as the head of the home, lacking counterparts in marriage or relationships---and also, our resiliency within all of this. We have so many reasons to stress, but we get things done. Our wellness is luxury and should be prioritized.
Finding Wellness in Products & Experiences
Even today, I mainly rely on the words of my cousins and fellow female business owners for recommendations on events for small business owners that help us on this journey. I founded a candle and self-care brand, Creme Alley, that’s dedicated to my mom who I saw working long shifts outdoors as a mail lady. Candles were her form of de-stressing and having a moment to practice wellness.
Other Black women-owned wellness brands I love are MyHappyFlo (which has been a game-changer for that time of the month), Vie Beauty (a skincare brand that gives back to women), ArtzyBella (a company dedicated to helping people feel better using art), and FavorFriday, a nonprofit dedicated to encouraging you to brighten your day and someone else's through intentional giving on Friday's. All of these brands lift my mind, body and spirit!
I am also very happy that I have found products from Onyx + Rose that have helped me take off the busy business owner hat and relax at the end of the day.
In addition to using my favorite Onyx + Rose products, I also enjoy indoor cycling and health apps that track my vitamin levels and overall well-being.
I think it has been a very intentional process of creating a wellness routine and selecting products that help me feel like a better me. I also often look for outdoor festivals that help me get back in the habit of being around people. This is something that I love and makes me feel good.
To all of my fellow African American small business women out there, my wish is that this Black History Month and beyond--- you are well.
I am positive that you will find support and balance with Onyx + Rose on your journey to total wellness.
Be well, Black Women.
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