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'Atlanta' Star Zazie Beetz On The Importance Of Checking In With Yourself

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If you blinked, you might have missed 26-year-old Atlanta star Zazie Beetz's come up. The first time we saw the young actress, she was dripping with black girl magic as she untwisted her Bantu knots in the mirror meanwhile trying to bear the weight of her relationship with her on-screen beau and baby daddy, played by Donald Glover on the FX series, Atlanta. The multi-faceted actress and sole woman in the core cast of the hit TV series, Zazie Beetz is having one hell of a year, but says it hasn't come without having to overcome a few personal obstacles.

She was recently casted alongside Natalie Portman in Pale Blue Dot and will co-star in the political biopic, Against All Enemies, with Kristen Stewart. Beetz will also play Marvel superhero, Domino in Deadpool 2 hitting theaters on May 18. Since the release date for her upcoming film was announced, Beetz says that her newfound fame came with perks along with some unwarranted anxiety.

It wasn't too long ago that the actress opened up about her mental health battle in an essay for Glamour magazine. In it, she detailed why it's okay to cry at work and the power of a 'should-less day.' Beetz says that the weight of the of the world can be overwhelming, even for a superhero. She told GQ:

"Despite my career, so much of my life has been dictated by what I'm afraid of: fear that I am not talented. I'll get so overwhelmed that I find a corner to cry in for five minutes.Then I stand up, brush my tears away, tell myself, 'You worked hard to get here,' and get back to it. What I've learned is that bailing would mean giving in to anxiety, fear, and the myth that those things have any right to dictate my life. I remind myself that, though there was a time anxiety might have stopped me, today is not that day. And so, by checking in with myself, minute by minute, I push myself through."

Depression and anxiety are the boogeymen that lurk in all of our closets, and these villains show no mercy to the rich and famous. Jourdan Dunn recently opened up in an Instagram post about her own anxiety, prompting a wave of women of color to speak out about their own experiences, ensuring that others know that they are not alone. Dunn expressed her belief in the power of vulnerability, and said that she sometimes feels like all of us, too scared and tired to be productive.

Anxiety isn't a monotone nemesis and can wear many faces. Beetz says that even when everything is seemingly all good, the clever foe that is anxiety still finds a way to pop his funky ass in the picture.

"It's interesting because it's a little like [I have] two separate lives going on. I have my private life, and what I feel in my home on a day to day basis. And then it feels like, to me that there's surrounding white noise of other people having opinions or the expectation I think of how to feel about certain things... My day-to-day is unusual, and never boring and I have a very routine-less life.

"But I also, in my own body, struggle with anxiety. It's a big part of who I am, and a couple of years ago I had an experience with it that changed my life to this day and I had to really kind of rearrange how I thought about my management of that, and what that means for my day-to-day in terms of what I eat, in terms of exercising, having a breathing practice and engaging in meditation practices. For me it also flows a little bit into insecurity with my work, and I think that's just something that over time, will hopefully—I'm sure it'll never completely go away, but to where it doesn't overwhelm me, and kind of take over my emotions. Depression and anxiety are real, and don't evade fortunate people. You can still have good fortune and deal with that in terms of what goes on in your life.

"Everything might circumstantially be good: I'm in a healthy relationship, I have a loving family, I'm doing well in my career. But when I go home at night, I still struggle with this, I still have good days and bad days. I have to tell my boyfriend, 'OK, I'm having anxiety today and we'll need to work through that together.'"

The hardest part of anxiety is learning not to succumb. There are days where everything is gravy, but I still can't muster the energy to climb out of bed without first wondering, Can I handle this or will I crumble under the pressure that today may offer? Anxiety leads me to wonder whether I'm strong enough to execute the dreams that I'm so focused on pursuing. With the weight of the world on my shoulders, do I even deserve the delight that today may bring?

Beetz says that she sometimes has the same thoughts, but I'm here to remind you: You earned it.

"I sometimes worry about what did I do to deserve this or earn this. I didn't make it happen for myself, where I am right now, but with a foundation of support. I don't know! I just want to know that where I am, I deserved it. I earned it. That's something very important to me."

With a genuine support system and effective coping methods, you can win your battle with anxiety. I use the term "battle," and not "struggle" because despite how intense the war that you must wage against anxiety may feel, you always have the power. Fight on, sister and check out these four ways to holistically treat your anxiety.

Read her full feature with GQ magazine here.

Featured image via Alex Reside / GQ.com

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