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ZORA
Unapologetic. Ours. A publication from Medium for Black women.

Mental Health

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RELATIONSHIPS

It’s not his gorgeous penis, his looks, attitude, or success that attracts me most. It’s the idea that it’s not too late for me.

This guy just sent me a picture of his penis — two to be exact — and holy shit, you guys, it’s beautiful. However, as a general rule, I think all penises are ugly unless I’m in love with the man wielding said phallus. Under those circumstances, his dick might as well be made of gold and capable of granting wishes. When with the man I love, I adore his schlong, praising it, and seemingly pray at its alter when on my knees. …


Thousands of Black children enter the foster care system every year and struggle with adjusting to their new and ever-changing surroundings, especially at bedtime, when many foster children suffer from night terrors and sleeplessness. After watching her own foster sister go through this trauma, Nicole Russell started the Precious Dreams Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children cope with fear and anxiety in healthy ways.

One of those ways is through journaling.

“In writing your truth, it allows you to self-reflect and work on your issues and become more clear about the situations and events you’re going through,” Russell shared…


I’m Learning

Idk if it’s possible to achieve perfection, I think we should strive for self-acceptance🦋

A portrait of a black woman outside in the sunlight, smiling
A portrait of a black woman outside in the sunlight, smiling

“I should be better than this by now.”

This is a thought that I said out loud during a recent therapy session. I felt like I was talking about the same problems and anxieties that I always talk about. I felt like I’d done so much work over the years to unlearn past trauma and learn new coping mechanisms that I should have evolved past my regular struggles. And I felt really down about myself. Like I must not be doing things right, like I must not be right. …


How unconscious bias plays a pivotal role in therapy’s effectiveness

Her office was always draped in heavy, dark curtains. The air was musty, perhaps because the emotional support dog frequently napped in the corner.

Where I come from, animals aren’t kept indoors, so the scent of wet dog clinging to the linens was new. The room, however, felt familiar. Maybe because it was filled with antiques, like British West Indian homes in the ’90s which were outfitted with Syrian rugs and Chinese porcelain figurines. Unfamiliar were the European-esque paintings, reminiscent of my therapist’s upbringing. …


Hunger is an inescapable aspect of my Black womanhood

Black woman’s empty palm against a black background.
Black woman’s empty palm against a black background.

~ Nikki Giovanni, “Adulthood II” (from Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day, 1978)

There is always something / of the child / in us that wants / a strong hand to hold / through the hungry season / of growing up

My heart is a lonely heart. It reflects the beginnings of a depression that I will learn will encompass much of my life. I live in a Black body that doesn’t know her womanhood, that doesn’t know how to see herself as herself, as a being worthy of love. I do not want to be White, but I do…


It doesn’t have to be complicated

A lifebuoy hanging on a wall.

Before we really get into this piece, I need to be honest about one thing: I am exhausted. Starting with shutdowns across the country last March, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in June, and the four-day election mania of November, I still feel the wear of 2020. Any of these events on their own would be draining. But the combination of all three on top of the demands of everyday life — work! chores! planning a wedding! therapy twice a week! maintaining friendships! self-care! writing on Medium! — is almost debilitating. …


We are more than just our trauma

Two Black women laughing together at the beach.
Two Black women laughing together at the beach.

Another year, another Black History Month.

My place of hire, specifically the diversity and inclusion committee, wants to celebrate Black History Month with a watch party later this month. (Cool, I guess?) They sent out a survey to get our feedback on what movie we should watch. The options included selections like the highly anticipated Judas and the Black Messiah, Ava DuVernay’s exceptional 13th, Selma, and Just Mercy.

Honestly, I don’t know who is going to want to “celebrate” Black History Month by attending a virtual watch party with their co-workers on a Friday night. …


The ‘new normal’ has the same ol’ stress

The year started off with a bang for me. New Year’s Day, I learned a family member was hospitalized with Covid. I was soon having to take leave from work to travel home after learning more of my family members had contracted the deadly disease, including my mother. The day she was diagnosed was the day the Capitol was under siege. And when Biden was being sworn in, I was answering emails, setting a timer to give my mom her medicine, and trying to fit in some squats to meet my New Year’s fitness goals.

The world has the nerve…


The ‘Antebellum’ star says therapy has a lot to do with it

Black and white photo of Janelle Monae against a sky background with concentric silhouette of a woman’s face.
Black and white photo of Janelle Monae against a sky background with concentric silhouette of a woman’s face.

“Therapy is important.” — Janelle Monáe

Everybody talks about self-care but really, what is it? For Viola Davis, it means loving on her family and hopping in the jacuzzi with the hubs. For Janelle Monáe, it means therapy. For Holly Robinson Peete, it means saying no more consistently. For Rachel True, it means tarot.

However you define it, they say, it is imperative that you make time to do it. If you need some ideas, here’s how one celeb ensured she had downtime and practiced mindfulness in 2020. Perhaps we can use this advice in 2021 as well.

Here’s what…


Two Black woman decorating the Christmas tree with smiles.
Two Black woman decorating the Christmas tree with smiles.

If you’re feeling worn out from the pandemic, the winter nights, or the stress of the holidays, ZORA writer Jennifer Farmer is sharing six ways to bring some cheer into your life.

“While some may call it the most wonderful time of the year, many people experience melancholy moods and feelings of isolation during the holiday season,” she writes. “If you have ever battled depression, you know that happiness and feeling good are not to be taken for granted. …

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