Why This Writer Is Choosing Mental Health Over Wealth

Why This Writer Is Choosing Mental Health Over Wealth

Meet The New Jill is Black



Photo courtesy of Jill Louise Busby

Not long ago, Jill Louise Busby garnered tens of thousands of followers on Instagram as Jill Is Black - the witty social commentator. People dug her finger-pointing and finger-wagging. Her social media content was eloquent and angry, geared toward white supremacy, hierarchy, and oppression, calling out anything or anyone that didn't jive with her political and social opinions.

People loved it. The pithy way she commanded words marked her for influence and thought leadership. As a queer, Black woman, writer, filmmaker, and speaker, Busby has always been committed to fighting for her people. But she's laid down her sword and shield of rage and self-righteousness and found another approach for social justice that doesn't leave her drained and unhappy: The pursuit of honesty.

"Honesty is revolutionary."

This simple and sobering declaration sits just beneath her photo on Jill Louise Busby's website. Fitting, as submission to its pursuit has become the social justice commentator's North Star instead of anger.


It all started on Instagram. Jill posted for fun. Her beautiful and artsy self-portraits and witty, thought-provoking captioning drew a nice little crowd. She mused and offered hilarious critique on a swath of topics including social justice, dating, and the hierarchies we create to feel superior to one another. People agreed with her. People followed her. Her Instagram following rose to a cool 5k without her even trying.

Then Instagram introduced its 30-second video component.

"The running joke was that I would never do videos because I am a writer."

But something happened. Jill, a queer Black woman, was hired at a nationally-recognized nonprofit to help steer diversity and inclusion. It wasn't long before she found herself frustrated with the politics and futility of the work.

Jill did the one thing she said she'd never do — she recorded and posted a video ranting about it. And then, she went to sleep.

"I woke up the next day, I had about 20,000 more followers. People were sending me this video from various [digital platforms] with a million views and I'm like, 'Holy shit.'" Busby remembers with wonder.

Jill soon found herself churning out videos - summoning a deep anger toward systems, people, and points-of-view. Anger was good. Anger signaled authority. Anger did numbers. Anger built a platform. Busby was soon being invited to speak on racism and oppression across the country.

"For me, this particular 'Jill Is Black' vehicle pulled up at my door and suddenly I had the decision to get in and ride or wait and be myself. And I got in the car for a while. A lot of people get in the car because in a society where we crave and love fame, most people are gonna say, 'Yes.' And I understand that. It would be hypocritical of me to say that I haven't enjoyed parts of social capital and popularity. But what is true is, I simply couldn't do it anymore and be a happy person," Jill says with striking clarity.

With her wellness taking a beating, she asked herself one question that made the decision to get out of that car a bit easier:

"Is this the machine you want to feed?"

Maybe she had been wrong about a lot of things and what if being wrong was ok? What if being right all of the time wasn't real or even necessary?

"I said to myself, 'Jill, I need you to stay open. I need you to talk about all the times you were wrong.' I was really guilty of not being open. Of not questioning myself, my motives, who I was to even present some of this information. I also think I did it with a smug-ass face. There is something about being 'Jill Is Black' that feels very important because I went hard in it but [I knew] this [wasn't] going to work."

Busby's realization uncovers a few compelling thoughts: We're all using the same buzzwords and vying for the ultimate forms of political rightness. What room do we make for personal error and evolution? Do we consider that the public opinion and societal norms we believe to be most 'right' and true today will quite likely become outdated and even problematic in a few years? Why do we hold so tightly to the idea of being unequivocal and indomitable authorities?

Photo courtesy of Jill Louise Busby


How Jill Louise Busby is learning to engage with truth and honesty as daily practice is a masterclass our digitally-obsessed and self-righteous society could stand to sit in on.

"I still have a passion for fighting for us [but with] a priority for doing that honestly."

'Ego work' is what Busby calls this awakening and journey inward. It has been, is, and will always be the opposite of what's popular. But that's just the kind of internal and external battle Busby welcomes with open arms.

"I say 'ego work because I'm spending my time saying, 'Yo, where is your ego right now? What is your purpose? And if you're scared that people will find out what you actually believe then you're not living correctly. We like this feeling of being right all the time. I get that. That's an enticing thing. If the relationship you want to other people is simply to correct them and beat them into submission… What we should start looking at is what we're getting out of that," Jill explains with conviction.

Her focus is on herself and those who may be on the same path she was on. "I wanted to [start talking] about myself. I wanted to talk about the me's of the world. Little hipster Black girls who go around spouting this rhetoric that they heard in college. Some of us are doing it sincerely and some of us are doing it for capitalism. So I was going to talk about myself and that's what I did. Eventually I was talking about just me. I'm not going to fuel a rage machine for capitalism. I'm not going to do it for self-righteousness. I'm not going to do it for peer approval."

Jill admits that choosing introspection over dogma is a lifestyle change that doesn't draw coins or clout.

"I think if we were really being true to ourselves we would not have lots and lots of followers for living honestly. I'm losing them everyday so I know that," she chuckles knowingly.

"My mom once said, 'Being a prophet won't bring you much profit.' And I find that to be true. Everybody's vying for the top spot because it's lucrative. You get to tour. You get to write the book. You get to do the guest spot. And the thing is that racism will always feed itself. So you'll always be in a position to talk about it. When we look at our heroes from 40 years ago, they're still doing college tours. Race is good money; honesty isn't."

It's possible that those who found comfort in Jill Is Black's rage cannot fathom Jill Louise Busby's newfound peace. It's possible that some may view her pivot toward introspective social commentary not as pro-Black as her former dogmatic approach. But those opinions matter not. Jill Louise Busby is standing in the fullness of her story.

"I'm a better person as a full person. You don't get 'Jill Is Black' without Jill. Whoever we are online, we don't get those people without where that originated from. You can't take one without the other."

She is just as passionate as ever about fighting for Us. Less concerned with reactive rhetoric, she is interested in expression and internal work that purges the dross and excavates the gold of truthful expression, connection, and actual forward movement.

Photo courtesy of Jill Louise Busby


'Submit' perfectly sums up Jill's life right now.

She says, "As a recovering know-it-all there is something really beautiful about submitting to a process."

Busby has settled into the safety and awe of knowing that she doesn't know everything. The humility of remaining teachable. It's a gift she'd give anyone searching.

"The encouragement that I would [want to] give people is to try a.) reclaiming control over your life and [not being ruled by anger]. b.) I encourage you to try saying, 'I don't know. I don't fuckin' know.' Eventually you will become addicted to the feeling of saying, 'I was wrong about that shit,' and that feels great."

Currently, she's channeling her energy into her art. She is writing screenplays and working on a film. Her show 'Moms As Managers' (in its third season) which stars herself and her real-life mother is a multi-generational creation. The premise: her mother manages a fictitious character who deals with 'every demon' Busby's dealt with and together they tackle a 'menagerie of millennial anguishes' including but not limited to 'ambition, belonging, race, and identity.'

And as one of the 2019 Writers-In-Residence with the Rhode Island Writer's Colony, Jill is also working on a book. It won't be full of the obligatory dramatic short essays. She's penning something we can sink our teeth into.

While Jill Is Black has her place, Jill Louise Busby is in the driver's seat from here on out.

For more of Jill, check out her website here.

Five Things To Know Before Becoming A Dog Mom

This post is in partnership with Blue Buffalo.

So you’re thinking about becoming a dog mom? We love that for you! Having a happy, furry friend to greet you at the door each day, cuddle up on the couch with, and keep you in touch with the great outdoors is one of life’s greatest joys. And that’s before we get into all the cute puppy outfits there are to buy! But there are some key and non-negotiable things to know and consider before saying yes to bringing home a fur baby.

If having a pet is new to you, then naturally you might have tons of questions not only about how this new responsibility will transform your lifestyle, but also about how best to nurture your four-legged friend. Few things compare to the joy and companionship that a dog’s loyalty and love bring, but learning how to nurture and train them is a learning curve that requires equal parts preparation and patience. Once you find your rhythm, you and your furry new boo will form a bond that will add the brightest spark to your life.

If you ask any member of the canine crew you know, they’ll tell you they don't play about their babies! They’ll also probably give you a laundry list of things they wish they knew before bringing their new dog home for the first time. If you’re thinking about opening your doors to a new pup, there are a few things to prepare and assess. With the help of Blue Buffalo, a natural pet food brand trusted by millions of pet parents, we’ve rounded up five key things to know before joining the dog mom club.

1. Staying Active Is Key: Let’s keep it real — we all have days where we want nothing more than a 24-hour Netflix binge fest from the comfort of our couch. That’s especially true on a day where the weather is trash. We feel you on that. However, dog moms should make it a point to keep their pups active each day. Influencer Dynasti Hunt considers her Goldendoodle Aiden part of the family, and she loves to find creative ways to keep him moving rain or shine. “Aiden and I have realized the importance of staying active at home, even when the weather is bad outside,” says Dynasti, who loves spontaneous yoga and dance sessions with her adorable doggie.

2. Keep An Eye On Their Diets: Just like humans, our pals have to maintain a healthy, balanced diet in order to live long and quality lives. You might find it easy to tell what’s healthy to eat for yourself, but it can be a bit trickier to know the difference when it comes to pet food. Just because you see a product label with the words vegetarian, grain-free, or certified organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s the healthiest for your buddy at this particular stage in their life. Finding a trusted pet food brand like Blue Buffalo is key. They offer recipes for specific breed sizes, life stages, needs and preferences — this definitely comes in handy for picky eaters or dietary restrictions. For example, Aiden Da Doodle is allergic to chicken-based products, and thankfully BLUE allows Dynasti to choose from a variety of products that are formulated without chicken.

3: Use Treats Creatively: Are doggie treats the golden ticket to getting your pooch to act right? Yes, but they’re also good for so much more. Treats are great tools for positive reinforcement, whether you’re trying to potty train a young puppy or get them to learn tricks. Influencer Sauve Xavier, an Instagram comedian, who has gained over a million Instagram followers for his hilarious videos with his Dobermans Knox and Bear, says he plans clever scavenger hunts around his house as an incentive to keep his dogs active and challenged. Using BLUE Treats made with healthy ingredients, he’s able to dish out rewards without feeling guilty. Take it from the guy who can actually get his dog to help with chores.

4. Know That Planning Ahead Is Everything: If you are a first-time dog mom or thinking about becoming one, keeping your buddy on a schedule is going to be key. For example, potty-training puppies need to be walked every few hours so that you can keep the habit of going outside in and the possibility of them peeing on your precious rugs out. Most pets also need to be fed twice a day (morning and night.) What does this spell? Sacrifice. You’ll need to be present and arrive home in time to keep your dog’s routine going. So know that you won’t be able to indulge in spontaneous plans the way you might have before. This is most certainly a lifestyle change if you’re used to coming and going as you please, but the reward of raising a well-behaved pup is well worth it. You might also want to think about how you can recruit your partner, roommate, friends, or family to share in the responsibilities for those days when life happens and you’re ever in need of a little dog sitting help. You can also search the web for hired help if you’re in a pinch. Remember — it takes a village to raise a child (even a barking one)! Pro tip: Download the Buddies by Blue Buffalo app to get advice and tricks and plan for your pet parenthood adventures ahead.

5. Research Dog-Friendly Activities in Your Area: As you move about through life, you’ll find yourself looking for more and more dog-friendly places to go and things to do beyond just the local dog parks. Round up a list of bars, breweries, brunch spots, and shopping centers that welcome pups into their establishments. This will allow you to make the most of your days while being able to bring your pup along for the ride. It’ll also create opportunities for you to meet up with other dog moms and dads and arrange future play dates (or real dates with a fellow dog parent? Who knows)!

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