What Self-Care Looks Like For BuzzFeed Writer Jamé Jackson
For xoNecole's Finding Balance series, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
No matter if life gives you lemons or straight up lemonade, the choice of what happens is up to you.
This was the case for Jamé Jackson, a style & beauty writer for BuzzFeed's As/Is columns and founder and EIC of TheBlondeMisfit. Our xoNecole fam might also recognize her byline from an article or two. The writer extraordinaire who decided that she wanted to go into journalism, found that there were more closed doors than open, especially for a Black girl from Washington, D.C. with no formalized journalism experience.
As a result, she forged her own path, creating content that specifically targeted Black women and the conversations surrounding Black culture in fashion and beauty. When she's not sharing her silly antidotes, beauty splurges, and thrift finds on social media, she's working on ensuring that Black girls are never an afterthought, especially when we define culture, honey.
In this installment of Finding Balance, we chatted with Jamé to find out how she balances working at one of the most prominent tech companies in the world, her health, and in love and relationships.
What is an average day or week like for you?
An average day for me can vary. Working in the beauty and fashion industry, I could be in the city at a media breakfast, meeting a client or a person of interest for a story, or even at showcases that discuss next season's goodies. Sometimes the only thing I'm doing all day is transcribing interviews or reaching out for exclusive quotes, and other days, I'm just writing, writing, writing. I could be preparing for a panel, a shoot, or just chillin', haha. The only thing consistent throughout my week is that I force myself not to overextend my work and responsibilities outside of my work hours. So, I will say, "I can only do something after work 3x a week," so that I have time to go home and actually rest. It's difficult when you're a busybody like me, but it's been so necessary to my emotional and spiritual health.
What do you find to be the most hectic part of your week? How do you push through?
Thankfully, I have really strived to find balance in my life in 2018, and work isn't hectic for me because I absolutely love what I do and the content I get to write for BuzzFeed/As/Is. The most hectic part probably is finding that moment where I turn myself 'off', and decompress after a long day, or finding a healthy schedule to get everything done. I have fabulous work moms (hey Essence and Patrice!) who make sure I take time to rest, and more importantly, that I'm not apologetic for needing time to myself. I'm someone who will literally write "Go grocery shopping," in my calendar so I won't forget. I push through by honoring myself when I see that I'm putting too much on myself, but also forgiving myself when I forget something or just don't have the energy to do it. Nothing is worth trippin' about in the bigger scheme [of things].
I also have amazing accountability partners who work on different teams in BuzzFeed, people who are always pushing me to take a moment and celebrate my wins. There are women like Julee Wilson at Essence, or Dana Oliver at Yahoo, who pour into me all the time. Badass babes like Gia Peppers or Sheriden Chanel who literally keep me filled up with prayer and purpose on a daily basis. There's women like Renae Bluitt from In Her Shoes, Africa Miranda who is a poppin' beauty entrepreneur, or even Necole Kane, who are all amazing examples of women who model what I hope to deposit in this world, but they always remind me that I can't take on the entire world all in a day (even though I try).
"I push through by
honoring myself when I see that I'm putting too much on myself, but also
forgiving myself when I forget something or just don't have the energy to do
it. Nothing is worth trippin' about in the bigger scheme [of things]."
How do you practice self-care? What is your self-care routine?
Self-care to me can be sleeping, watching movies, getting outside on a weekend for some fresh air, or even just binge-watching YouTube videos and podcasts. A huge part of self-care for me has been learning how to stop answering emails, or not feeling like I have to immediately respond. I don't check emails or social media before 10 AM or after 10 PM, unless it is an emergency, in which case, someone can text me. Giving myself that time in the morning to ease into my day before I start consuming everything happening in the world has REALLY allowed me to feel more at ease while at work.
Of course, as a beauty girl, I love things like getting my hair and nails done, doing an at-home spa day for myself, or just giving myself a few more minutes in the morning to do my makeup. I get weekly massages and practice yoga, both of which have helped me release tension in my body. I know it seems very superficial to some, but if it makes you feel better, I'd argue that's part of self-care.
How do you find balance with:
This is one of the things I have always struggled with, mostly because I can get so laser-focused that I'll forget to come up for air, sometimes. However, I have learned that as you continue to grow and pursue your passions and purpose, the ones who are meant to be with you will be there, and they won't make you feel bad when you have to do what you have to do. I have friends who I talk to almost every day, and I have others who I'll talk to every few weeks. I think social media has helped too, because I'll see them online and can interact with them there even if I can't see them during the actual week. I don't expect my friends to come to every panel or support every story, but I do expect for my friends to pour into me as I do for them.
I have had to become very "business"-like with my friendships, because the reality is, not everyone will root for your success. If it doesn't serve me or add to my bottom line for health and prosperity, I gotta cut them loose. When I stopped attaching my worth to friends' circles and instead started thanking God for sending me only the right ones, that's when my attitude around life and friends really changed.
"When I stopped attaching
my worth to friends' circles and instead started thanking God for sending me
only the right ones, that's when my attitude around life and friends really
Like friendships, I believe love and relationships that are meant to be will work. While I love the idea of marriage and kids one day, right now I am so selfish with my time and energy. If I end up sharing that with someone else, they won't subtract anything from me, they'll only add. And they won't make me feel bad for being a focused woman with her eye on the prize.
With relationships, it's all about balance but also about intention. When I began setting better intentions for myself, by asking the Universe and God for authentic people in my life, that's when He was able to honor them. The biggest relationship I have is the one with God, followed by my relationship with myself. When I improved my relationship with God, I saw my personal relationship with myself improve. Now, I have so many women in my life who pour into me and aspire me to be bigger, and better, versions of myself. And then I'm able to give it back.
Exercise? Does it happen?
I don't exercise as much as I'd like to, but I do yoga. I've become a huge yoga lover over the past few months, and have really seen how it benefits me emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. The days I don't go to the studio, I'll go the gym and workout, or go running in my neighborhood. While everyone's physical needs are different, I definitely think a balance of exercise will help creatives who may need a physical outlet to the stress that's natural with the job.
Many of the major life changes I've had to make were direct results of a deteriorating health. I remember one time being in the doctor's office, and after getting my blood results back, one of my blood levels were so low, the doctor said, "I don't even know how you are able to have enough energy to get yourself out of bed in the morning." This was the same doctor who said that I'd never be able to have children because my estrogen levels were non-existent. At that moment, I had to pick myself up, and begin making lifestyle changes that would not only allow me to have the life that I always wanted, but the life that I never knew I was missing out on. Especially as Black women, it's vital that we take our health seriously and I'm blessed that I've been a living testament of changing your life around, even if I still have a long way to go. I'm also a huge advocate for support groups and therapy.
Do you ever detox? What does that look like for you?
I don't do physical detoxes (although I'm never opposed to one!) but I do my own versions of detoxes, like a few times a year, going a month without meat or without coffee. I also do spiritual detoxes, where I'll pull myself back from social media. It's hard when you work in the influencer space and people literally depend on your photos and imagery, but I can't serve others if I don't serve myself.
"I can't serve others if I don't serve myself."
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I always have to remind myself that faith and fear are polar opposites, and if I am feeling fearful, then I'm not practicing faith. I always think of the scripture that says not to be anxious for anything, and that the latter half of that scripture says to make my requests known unto God through prayer. When I get 'stuck', or start questioning myself, I pray. At the end of the day, God is the single most important thing in my life, and I live to honor Him by the work that I do. I have a ton of screenshots in my phone of DM's, emails, and texts, from people who have thanked me for the work that I do or even just given me that "Yaaass, Black Queen!" stamp of approval. Funny enough, when I feel down, I do a shoutout on my Insta stories for people to tell me about good things that happened to them that day, and reading those responses lets me know God is still up and movin'! It's the moments of encouragement and positive words that help re-ground me into my purpose on this Earth, which is to uplift and empower Black women.
What does success mean to you?
When I first moved to New York, success meant being in every room with the big dogs. Now, success is experiencing the fullness of peace, and not feeling the need to push for things when I know I am already equipped with everything I need to succeed.
What is something you think others forget when it comes to finding balance?
Balance isn't really formulaic, which is why I think I have an issue with how people try to be very prescriptive on finding balance. Everyone will find balance with their different variances of percentages, so it's not always a 50/50 thing. Sometimes it will sway left, sometimes it will sway right. The most important part is that you always find yourself coming back to center, no matter what.
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Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
Featured image by skynesher/Getty Images