1. REFLECTIONS: February is for self love

What does Valentine’s Day mean when you struggle to love your disabled body?

I think there's something pretty lovely about a holiday about love. When we remind people that we love them, it makes us feel better too. Society tells us that we must view the concept of love in the frame of romance only. Except love refers to friendship, family, and even strangers. Love is an action, a feeling, and even words. It's everything-- really.

Even the way we treat ourselves goes back to the act of love.

Now that brings me to what I wanted to write about in this first newsletter here. The way we see ourselves. When Valentine's Day or the morning light shines on us comes around, we forget that it can be hard to love ourselves.

We tell ourselves that we're not lovable, not deserving of love.

Society condemns the frame of disability, especially the notion of disabled people being worthy of love. We rarely see disabled people being romantically desired, in relationships, or viewed through the frame of romantic love.

For years, I had a hard time seeing myself as pretty because I saw lots of things that weren't quite right. I can go on about why, but I won't. I'll just say that people don't always realize that their words run deep. And it's not only people we know. I'm referring to the people we don't know yet too.

Those mean and judging looks and rude comments by strangers still hurt. Even if you may never see that person again, you wonder why they felt the need to message. You wonder why he messaged you that you're ultimately too tragic to look at you, even if you have a pretty face. These are not words that remind you that you deserve love. They downright suck for lack of eloquence here.

I have gotten to the point where I don't care much for what think of my lovable status because I know my worth. My body is scarred, full of stories, and disabled. None of these make it wrong or bad. I am lovable, even on days when it is hard to see that.

Valentine's Day has passed, but I encourage you to remember that you are a person who deserves love every day. You deserve love in yourself, a partner if you choose, and beautiful words of love. Treat yourself nicer, even if it's harder. Disabled people deserve love and self-love. You always do. If you're feeling blue during this pandemic because of so many factors, you're not alone. Just remember, you are loved.

Save the Date:

I will be reading poetry on March 3rd at 7 p.m. (Eastern) with so many wonderful, talented women in honor of Women's History Month. Many of these women are women that I love and adore. You can register for the event here. Share with your networks! Spoiler: the poem will be original.

Stop and Stare— or Click— if You Dare:

Water's Edge Museum in Oxford, Md. officially opened and is booking virtual appointments. It's a completely transformative and groundbreaking project. The Museum focuses on the African-Americans who founded and lived on the Eastern Shore. It won an award from the Governor's Office on Service & Volunteerism. Please click here to learn more about the Museum and also to see the other winners of the Black History Leadership & Service Awards! I'm so honored to be on their Advisory Committee. Click here to go to the Museum website. The link for the Museum is available by clicking here.

Things I’m Currently Loving:

  • I LOVED Black Church on PBS. I adore Dr. Henry Louis Gates (don't start me up about my genealogy nerdiness). This is also a shout out for disabled Black people, like Dr. Gates, for doing GREAT things during Black History Month- and every day! I have been reading a book a day since January. Amazon gives you a credit now because of a program it has incorporated for completing its reading challenges. Winning.

  • TEA! My favorite and dearest uncle told me that my coffee phase was a phase. He was, as always, very right. I drink Tetley decaf towards night (decaf!) and Twinings during the morning/early day. Same perks as coffee- and so, so much better. I forgot how much I love tea. I also feel fancy. If you have tea recs, send them! I need to find an appropriate tea set.

  • For disability items, it's a heated blanket. I got it as a Christmas present and it has had a huge difference for me. A total difference. It really has helped with pain and general stiffness, spasticity issues that I have. I am so thankful for this.

Are you disabled and want to get the word out about something? Let me know! Just send an email, include the details, and bam. I'm happy to spread your info especially if you are a creative, business owner, advocate, etc. Think of it as a free ad!

Love, Dom ❤️