Wellness culture is manipulative, toxic, and boring af. We should prioritize creativity instead.
Written by Sabrina Abdalla
Written by Sabrina Abdalla
Cirri founder, Sabrina Abdalla’s life’s mission of magnifying the stories of Black women and youth has been primarily shaped by her lived experience as a daughter of the diaspora. An eclectic soul whose passion spans the domains of poetry, education, and digital storytelling. She is breaking the notion of singular expression through her platform Cirri, centering representational justice, visibility, and creative wellness.
Wellness culture is manipulative, toxic, and boring af.We should prioritize creativity instead.
What we disclose through our creativity is a reflection of our deepest, creative reservoirs and stimulated subconscious. Our expression is intimately connected to our soul, body, and mind and revealed in the work we do. To not include creativity in our everyday lives is to ignore the very thing that keeps our flame ablaze, spirits elevated, and ideas reenergized.
Black women are trendsetters, culture-shifters, and quite truthfully, the blueprint. Our ideas are revelations that disclose so much about who we are. It makes the journey to self-discovery one that is fueled by our divinity. We are inherently artistic, every bone in our body is rhythmic, yet we are often hesitant to crown ourselvescreative.Why?Who deserves that title? Is it so true that we do not need a word to attempt to capture our freshness, our ineffable ability to problem solve, think strategically, or create the new trend pop culture is going to commodify the shit out of? Or are we so ingrained in “grind culture” we forget to make space for ourselves to be artistic, creative, and playful?
We are inherently artistic, every bone in our body is rhythmic, yet we are often hesitant to crown ourselves creative.
The first thing I want to do is redefine what it means to be creative. The criteria set for being creative is culture-dependent. Western culture glorifies the idea of storytelling and being in the constant pursuit of progression or expansion -a very colonizing mindset.It conditions us to believe that our creativity needs to be groundbreaking and innovative enough to solve all of our problems. It prepares us to create for a check or reasons other than the mere enjoyment of expression, connecting with our higher selves, and reimagining our potential. As cultures change and evolve, so do the standards of creativity. Why should we allow the ever-changing conditions of society determine what creative activities are appropriate? I mean, primarily when the culture relies on us. Being a creative does not mean that you have to be an artist who has mastered their form and structure, but that you try to radically imagine possibilities.
Being resourceful, artistic, and spiritual are indigenous and modern African concepts of creativity and not inventive, original, or innovative. Believing that our creative efforts have to be something that only moves the world forward or is for consumption is a limiting understanding of the depths of our potential and can discourage us from creating. Among the other discouraging factors that negatively impact our health like the very real and damaging abuse of experiencing racial trauma. Creativity can be another outlet to grapple with our identities, tend to our inner child, and engage with the different elements of our being. It can be a way to help us heal with past trauma, reduce stress and anxiety, and strengthen our mental functions.
Our ancestors know the healing properties that are within creative expression. Creativity is scientifically proven to improve our mental health and cognitive functioning. The matter of your wellness has to be cultivated, ripped apart, examined, and examined again with softness and love. When we choose to create, we resist the pressures that silence us and make room to be vulnerable, authentic, and free so we can restore our humanity and share our stories. Wellness culture has validated our insecurities and made us believe that the pursuit of perfection is far more important than appreciating the flaws of our humanness. Cultivating a creative wellness practice restores our agency and allows us to reimagine how we want to express ourselves to the world and not be diminished by how the world views us. It hands back our pen and paper and reminds us to begin again.
When we choose to create, we resist the pressures that silence us and make room to be vulnerable, authentic, and free so we can restore our humanity and share our stories.
Below is a friendly framework on how to cultivate wellness and restore our humanity through creativity:
Play:Resist the pressures of being productive and improve your brain functioning by finding joy in the mess of painting, making your first ceramic vase, or dancing to your favorite tune.Find anything that encourages you to be youthful and allows you to tend to your inner child.
Rest:Relaxing gives you the energy to put your thoughts into action that is purposeful and full of stimulation. Rest allows our body to regenerate and helps prevent burnout.
Dream:Nourish the ideas that scare you by visualizing them and making space for them to evolve. Dream and dream big, but don’t get too caught up in the outcome. Instead let it inspire your daily rituals.
Show up:Self-discipline is the bridge between ideas and execution. Show up and commit to developing your creative abilities by making time for creative projects or activities.
Learn:Inspiration comes from many different sources. It is essential to expand your mind by reading books from any genre, traveling to develop your cultural competency, engaging in dialogue with your friends, or even spending time with the people you love. Wisdom can come in many forms, be open to receive it.
Repeat:Because you are allowed to begin again and again.