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

Wellness

In ZORA. More on Medium.

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. …


I’m Learning

If it’s not about me and my peace of mind, it can wait

Black woman holding a cup in her hands with eyes closed, enjoying a calm moment at home.
Black woman holding a cup in her hands with eyes closed, enjoying a calm moment at home.

My morning routine is the same almost every day. I typically wake every morning between 6 and 7 a.m. I don’t use an alarm clock, preferring to let myself rise naturally with the sun. I stretch. Sit up. Take a sip of water. Say a little prayer of gratitude. Get out of bed and open the curtains to let the sunshine in.

And then… I panic. The countdown has begun.

Starting from the moment I open my eyes, I have T-minus 2.5 hours before I need to start work. That’s 2.5 hours to become fully awake, do some yoga, walk…


I’m Learning

Losing something important to me gave me the strength to move past my trauma

Black woman looking out the window with a forlorn expression.
Black woman looking out the window with a forlorn expression.

So I think I have a ghost in my apartment.

I started noticing it almost immediately upon moving in. I would hear noises coming from the ceiling as though someone was walking around up there. (I live on the top floor. No one is above me.) Doors in my apartment would open and close on their own (I live alone). None of the clocks in my apartment ever read the same time no matter how many times I reset them (including the digital clocks on the oven and microwave!).

But the scariest and most annoying phenomenon is that items in…


It’s the day of love. Why not practice loving yourself?

Valentine’s Day is going to be hard for many people this year. Lots of folks are separated from loved ones and significant others due to Covid-19 restrictions still in place since last spring. And then there are the folks like me who’ve been rolling solo dolo on Valentine’s Day long before lockdown prevented any chances of coupling up!

But hey, just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you have to let Valentine’s Day go by like an ordinary day. ZORA spoke with sexologist, therapist, and relationship expert Shamyra Howard about practical ways to show yourself some love and carry it with…


I’m Learning

I spent my journalism career trying to be perfect. Now I’m just trying to be myself.

Even at the risk of burning, the mouth always seeks the light. —Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X

I just finished Elizabeth Acevedo’s YA novel The Poet X, and that line really stood out to me. The main character, a burgeoning slam poet named Xiomara, writes a poem for her class about her struggle to communicate with her strict, religious mother and how she finds herself unable to truly express herself. But Xiomara concludes in her writing that being herself is more important than the fear of falling short of her mother’s expectations.

This is what she writes, but it’s not…


An excerpt from the ECHOING IDA collection

A self-proclaimed “undisciplined” artist, Amina Ross’ generous making practice includes curating a vibrant workshop series called Beauty Breaks — a series that saved me from isolation as a friendless transplant bumbling around Chicago only a year before. The irregularly scheduled workshop, hosted in F4F’s attic and performance space, brought together an earnest and dynamic group of young Black queerdos intent on building community in a notoriously challenging city. I learned how to use tarot as a tool to cultivate my intuition. I built small sculptures from recycled goods. I meditated, wrote poetry, co-created impromptu group performances, and refreshed my spirit…


Author and youth advocate Nicole Russell’s new book will help people of all ages begin their journaling journeys

Black woman mulling her thoughts as she writes in her journal while sitting at a table.
Black woman mulling her thoughts as she writes in her journal while sitting at a table.

In 2012, Nicole Russell’s mother became a foster parent to a four-year-old girl who suffered from severe night terrors, something not uncommon for children dealing with the foster system or homelessness. Witnessing the experience of her little sister gave Russell a radical idea.

“The thought of half a million children navigating the foster care system who might not have a teddy bear to hold on to or a parent to run to in the next room just didn’t sit right with me,” Russell told ZORA. In partnership with her mom, she started the Precious Dreams Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to…


Playing by the rules in capitalist America comes at the cost of our mental, physical, and emotional health

A photo of a frustrated black woman sitting at her desk at work.
A photo of a frustrated black woman sitting at her desk at work.

Women of color leaders are guarding a dirty little secret: Our work is eroding our mental, physical, and emotional health. We are slowly wrecking ourselves as we try to transform political organizations, foundations, media rooms, nonprofits, and the publishing industry. In the first few weeks of 2020 alone, every conversation I’ve had with my colleagues revolved around how we’re exhausted and struggling at best, or suffering from a specific illness at worst.

For nearly three decades, I have worked in the nonprofit world, which I thought was focused on justice and love. So have many of my peers. …


When being Black and surviving in this world became too much, I sought to become nothing

I trudged into class so heavy I was practically underground. There were cracks in my resting strong face. Immediately upon dissolving into a seat I was asked what was wrong. I managed to say, “I just can’t with this Mike Brown thing. It’s too much.” It was 2014, I was in an MFA program in Los Angeles, and was as anxious and depressed as I had ever been. The unrest in Ferguson had been building for weeks. I shook my head. An image of Mike Brown’s body on the asphalt, his blood on the leaves, flashed in my mind and…

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