Updated: Apr 20
As every year begins, I’ve spent many hours in the last week reflecting on the past year and visioning a new year full of health, wealth, and happiness. In my 40 years, the process has undoubtedly evolved. It now comes with rituals that allow me to dig deeper into myself to dream, create, and set goals that are an extension of myself versus changing myself into someone else’s expectation.
In this time of goal setting, planning, and reflecting, I wanted to bring in the new year with an emphasis on healing from the wounds of whiteness. Many of us set goals and visions of healthier bodies, loving relationships, careers we love, and fatter wallets. Guess what? All of that is impacted by racism and whiteness. Some of them are so intertwined with racism and whiteness that we truly can experience liberation towards our desires in those areas of life if we allowed ourselves to heal from wounds of whiteness versus continuing to reach towards the oppressor’s tools for success (which by the way, were not made for us to succeed).
So follow along as I share stories, my learnings, and inquiries around this. I welcome your engagement in the comments. Let’s make this a conversation so we can process and grow through dialogue.
First up, can you stop hustling in order to heal? If you have followed my blogs from last year, this was definitely a growing theme. However, like many folx of color, life had to pretty much fall apart for me to stop the hustle. I had gotten so overwhelmed that my health, relationships, and mind could all have been labeled dysfunctional. I’m sure many of you have been here. The universe takes over at this point and throws you so hard off your rails, you have no option but to stop and focus on yourself.
Well, I don’t think you need much of a history lesson to understand how valuing production over wellness supported white supremacy, colonizers, and the building of caste systems all over the world. From that past, then came the exceptions to the rules - the hustlers. Hustling often allowed many Black and Brown people to break out of the “lower caste” and not only survive, but gain wealth, access, respect, and other privileges. Now in this current place and time, hustling may very well be necessary for some people to just pay the bills due to the continued inequities due to racism and other isms. By no means am I dismissing that reality, however, there is a large majority of us that continue to value the hustle over wellness, when it’s NOT NECESSARY and actually causes us more harm. It can be something we are unable to shut off, it may be ingrained in us and attached to value, it can be out of a scarcity mindset and fear of being without, and it almost always is a part of colluding with whiteness.
Let’s consider some of the ridiculous ways hustling has us limited (warning - this might hurt):
Waiting for your maternity/paternity/sick leave to finally work on your dream.
Missing a major family milestone because your boss called you in for an emergency.
Missing your kid's sports games or performance for a work meeting.
High blood pressure and cholesterol because you're overworked and stressed the fuck out.
Recurring panic attacks on Sunday nights but brushing them off as heartburn.
Neglected relationships with people you would like to show up to your funeral.
Non-existent sex life or a life full of meaningless sex because you’re too busy.
Continuously chasing money even though the job or people suck the life out of you.
You made lemonade from those lemons, but you really needed a nap.
Severe depression and anxiety, and no time for therapy.
Alright - how does that hustling feel?
Haven’t you watched enough movies to know that even for white rich men, the hustle doesn’t lead to happiness? Click and The Family Man are two of my favorites! I know this struggle all too well. Trust me - what I could do with more money - haunts me more than I would like to admit. However, after stepping out of the grind of my 8 - 5 working for the man (literally civil service work) and entering into the world of today’s entrepreneurs, let me just say -- none of them are teaching you to hustle for millions. Hell naw -- they demand work-life balance and are teaching you how to make millions doing something you love and care about for.
So why do we continue to hold on to the hustle?
We don’t have to!
When we prioritize our healing, there is an abundance that comes from it that breaks us free from the foolishness that hustling masks. You may have to lean on your support systems (that are there but you never utilize) and on your own powers (your brilliance and gifts) that are probably underutilized or underpaid.
I’m a keep it simple - don’t let hustling keep you from living life.
Don’t let it; keep you from living a long life, keep you from missing big moments in life, keep you from your actual dreams, keep you from those you love, and keep you oppressed and depressed.
So one step towards healing the wounds of whiteness - choose to heal over the hustle.