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

Self Love

In ZORA. More on Medium.

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. …


This New York Times bestselling author’s latest YA novel is an unapologetic love letter to Black girls

Portrait of Renee Watson.
Portrait of Renee Watson.
Renee Watson. Photo: Shawnte Sims

With Black girlhood at the helm, Renée Watson wants to start important conversations. The New York Times bestselling author has written books (one which has been optioned for a movie) about activist girls who raise their voices and take to the streets. But Watson’s latest installment, Love Is a Revolution, is an unapologetic love letter that highlights the quieter voices who show up for themselves and their loved ones in small, but equally important ways. After all, the main character’s grandmother says, “The most radical thing you can do is love yourself and each other.”

In the opening scene of…


The criticism toward her self-love says more about you than her

Closeup photo of Chloe Bailey.
Closeup photo of Chloe Bailey.
Chloe Bailey attends the 51st NAACP Image Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 22, 2020 in Pasadena, California. Photo: Aaron J. Thornton/FilmMagic/Getty Images

We are part of a community that would rather hashtag Black women than affirm them. This sobering truth took up residence like a lump in my throat as I watched Chloe Bailey trend on social media for two days. After reaching 1 million followers on her personal Instagram account, she posted her “silhouette challenge” contribution in celebration. …


No more New Year’s resolutions. I’m giving myself grace in 2021.

Black woman singing freely into a microphone.
Black woman singing freely into a microphone.
Photo: Hello World/Getty Images

When I look back on the last 12 months filled with devastation and pain, Lucille Clifton’s 1993 poem “won’t you celebrate with me” comes to mind.

…here on this bridge between

starshine and clay,

my one hand holding tight

my other hand; come celebrate

with me that everyday

something has tried to kill me

and has failed.

Last month, as I waited for 2021 to arrive, I saw myself on that bridge, holding my own hand. Hugging myself. I am filled with gratitude, wonder, and other more complex emotions at just having made it through an unbelievable year of loss…


Black and white photo of Eva Marcille against a violet background.
Black and white photo of Eva Marcille against a violet background.
Photo illustration; Image source: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images


ZORA Check-In

Black and white image of a mother and son against a violet background.
Black and white image of a mother and son against a violet background.
Photo illustration; Image source: brusinski/Getty Images

“Stop being so hard on yourself. You’re doing better than you think.” — Maryam Hasnaa, energy worker, plant mama

I have two children under the age of seven. Remote school is about to start in Chicago. I don’t have enough Wi-Fi data to support everyone’s needs, and a new plan is hugely expensive. There have been five family deaths. Five. Oh, and my youngest child took some scissors and cut patterns of squares into the curtains.

For a moment there, I thought the world was collapsing and I wasn’t doing well enough at being a great wife and companion to…


The Pleasure Principle

We put together a special and satisfying series all about solo sex, self-pleasure, and self-love

Vibration graphic illustration of a woman of color with red and pink swatches of color radiating around her.
Vibration graphic illustration of a woman of color with red and pink swatches of color radiating around her.
Illustration: D’Ara Nazaryan

This article is part of The Pleasure Principle, ZORA’s ultimate guide to solo sex, self-pleasure, and self-love.

When’s the last time you made your pleasure a priority?

I know for myself, I have a hard time putting my pleasure and happiness at the top of my list. It’s easy for me to go out of my way to make someone else happy. I’m an overachiever at work; I go above and beyond for my family and friends. Even in my relationships, I have a hard time making my needs the center of attention. I typically make sexy time all about…


ZORA Check-In

Black and white photo of Janet Mock against a violet background.
Black and white photo of Janet Mock against a violet background.
Photo illustration; Image source: Toni Anne Barson/WireImage/Getty Images

“There’s nothing more powerful than truly being and loving yourself.” — Janet Mock, author, activist, director, showstopper.

“Do you remember that time when…”

I spent some time with some of my oldest friends recently, women I’ve known since we were freshmen in the college dorms. We were reminiscing about all of our (mis)adventures. They were reminding me all the times I’ve been silly and funny or angry and justice-oriented, all the various aspects of my personality.

These days, my personality feels pretty bland. I spend most of my time by myself not really doing much. But I remembered what it…


XOXO

Radical self-love helps us know the difference between being in love and being loved

A closeup of a black woman smiling/laughing widely.
A closeup of a black woman smiling/laughing widely.
Photo: Peathegee Inc/Getty Images

“Love is never any better than the lover.” — Toni Morrison

When writing about love, I often call on the words and concepts of those who have somehow been able to make love make sense. Even when the ideas and definitions contradict each other, some people have been able to clearly articulate love as an experience, as an essential tool for survival, and as inextricably embedded in the definition of humanity. It’s incredibly difficult for me to write about love in any linear, structured way because that’s never been my experience with it; love’s twists, turns, ups, and downs have…


A step-by-step guide to creating and embodying your positive thoughts

A photo of a stylish young black woman blowing herself a kiss in the mirror.
A photo of a stylish young black woman blowing herself a kiss in the mirror.
Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

I eagerly jumped on the affirmation bandwagon several years ago, excited to see my life change as I embraced the power of the spoken word. And it worked! I saw my actions shift as I declared things over myself. In fact, one of my first affirmations, I persist until I succeed, launched my freelance writing career. But a few months ago, as I proclaimed my affirmations during my morning mindset session, I experienced something new: the goals blossomed inside of me; I became certain they were true. I could feel them emanating from my body, into my being. …

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