My favorite artist is Janelle Monae’, but by now that should come to no surprise. **Waves, Hey Sista J! I had the pleasure of hearing her live a few weeks ago in concert at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO and her performance was electrifying to say the very least. By far, she is hands down one of the most amazing performers I’ve witnessed to date! Janelle has always been a free spirit, some may even call her weird or mysterious. But after hearing songs like her hit single, “I Like That,” we can all agree that the opinions of others do not phase her one bit. And you know what Janelle…I like that! You go girl! **in my Martin voice.
Her whacky, colorful style has both the perfect balance of femininity/masculinity and her trademarked black and white and always give her look a bold, yet classic, simple touch. For those that aren’t familiar with her style inspiration, she often states that her choice of black and white patterns represents uniformity and her minimalist heart. But it is mostly inspired by her parents who also wore uniforms as working class citizens, one as a janitor and the other as a trash man (yes, I did my research lol).
Many people say we look alike. When they do I politely say “thank you” and smile because she is a “bad mutha shutcho’ mouth!” I find the respect that she shows for her mother, particularly very admirable, often paying homage to the career path of the hard working maintenance woman that she was. Her job takes strenuous work for anybody (male OR female) and a lot of times it’s uglier work than anything “pretty.” And I could imagine it required a lot of sacrifice, and at times, was taxing on the body. Or maybe gift wrapped was the constant pressure to maintain order and keep things in their rightful place, perfectly intact. It’s career that solely relies on the designated worker to have to practice humility, cleaning up after someone else and the mess that others may have made.
I often look at the role that women have played for generations often appearing very similar to the role of a maintenance (wo)man. We work relentlessly to keep our house in order, provide a good life for our children and maintain the means to financially support ourselves and the people we love. This is a full time job don’t ya know?! And we don’t get paid for it either!
We do the jobs that no one else wants to do and clean up the mess as Mrs. Fix It to the latest and greatest situation at hand. Unlike a real life janitorial career, our 9-5 shift doesn’t exist either. It’s more like when we open our eyes and close them. The role doesn’t come with special acknowledgements or recognition and too often the work goes unnoticed or is under-valued. Most people only see the end result or product of the hard work of a woman. Often times they fail to truly recognize the process that it took to get the beautiful finished product.
My mother always says that as a woman you learn to “do what you have to do by any means necessary to provide for your family.” One could take that statement and run with it considering the breadth of “by any means necessary,” so I often ponder with concern and anxiety over how far as women we are willing to go. We work, and work…and work at the mercy of others pouring into them daily everything that we have. When do we ever stop to make time as we should to care for ourselves?
Nourishing our bodies with the essentials it needs to flourish. Adequate rest. Exercise. Proper nutrition and self-care. Listening to our bodies when things just don’t feel right. What about our mental stability? Are we even happy these days? When was the last time we took care of our own needs?
I get it. We’re everyone’s superwoman right?! We can pour and pour and pour into everything and everyone. But truth is, eventually our cup is going to run dry if we don’t think about what’s best for us. Even if it’s just once a month! Read a book, go for a walk, meditate and love on ourselves for once.
It’s essential to the body and the soul to take some time disconnecting from the distractions of the world, and it’s something that you can bet we need as well as deserve. Our body is a gift from God. We must treat it with love and never neglect the masterpiece in which he has created.
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. – 3 John 1:2