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This is an email from Keepin' It 💯, a newsletter by ZORA.

The one good thing about the pandemic

Today marks exactly one year since all of our lives changed. On March 11, 2020, The WHO officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Across the country, cities went into shut down and social distancing mode and we’ve been facing a “new normal” ever since.

It’s been a hard year but I think at least one good thing came from this global shift: I’ve had a major shift in my priorities.

Without my normal social activities to break up my day, the only consistency I had to look forward to was my job and soon, my working hours started to take over my waking hours. I was a zombie, I felt like all I ever did in a day was wake up, work, use the bathroom and (barely) sleep.

sis is overworked and overwhelmed.

I know I’m really blessed to be employed in a time when so many still are not. But a system of working non-stop on top of the anxiety of surviving a pandemic is not sustainable. And last week, I decided that I needed to put as much energy into my self care as I was putting into my career.

In my column for ZORA, I wrote about my recent epiphany to not rush to get to work on time anymore.

My priorities have been out of whack way too long…I’m learning to put my needs first, to take my time. I’m learning that things are not always as urgent as I believe them to be. The world will not end if I miss my own self-imposed deadline.

READ: I’m Not Rushing to Get to Work on Time Anymore

Despite this, I can’t pretend like it hasn’t been hard for me to stick to this mindset. And prioritizing yourself becomes even harder if you have children or dependents to care for, or you work in a job that doesn’t give you the freedom to feel like your mental health is more important than the bottom line. But if we aren’t good to ourselves, we can’t be good for anything else.

Putting yourself first can feel like deliberately putting other things last. It can feel like you’re telling the people and career and responsibilities in your life that you don’t care about them. It’s like telling the world that you have the nerve to think you’re more important than anything else that’s going on.

But here’s the thing, you are more important.

If nothing else comes out of this panny, I hope we all learn that we are valuable, that our health is valuable, that our lives are valuable. I hope your new normal includes a greater sense of balance and priorities.

Take care of yourselves (and I mean yourselves!)

Jolie A. Doggett

senior platform editor

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⭐️ HAPPY WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH! ⭐️

ZORA wants to hear from YOU! What does it mean to be a “strong Black woman” today? Publish a story on Medium about how you’re changing the definition of a “strong Black woman,” tag “ZORAWHM,” and email your story to zora@medium.com. We may feature your story on ZORA.

Zero to 💯

Who kept it 100 this week? Let’s take a look.

Zaya Wade joined Michelle Obama in conversation 💯/💯

The 13-year-old shared a virtual Q&A she recorded with forever FLOTUS about the young reader version of Obama’s memoir, Becoming. Watching the joyful cross-generation chat, filled with mutual love and respect, is just what we needed. “I’m meeting an idol. I’m literally meeting an idol,” Wade told Obama who told Wade during the convo: “I am just so proud of you, you know, being just an amazing role model and embracing your truth.”

Meghan Markle’s candid interview with Oprah 💯/💯

We came for all the tea, and Oprah made sure our cup runneth over. Markle, along with Harry, told the inside story of how life in the Royal family was detrimental to the health, well-being, and safety of their family. We got the details on everything from the royal institution ignoring Markle’s declining mental health to the family’s concerns about what Archie’s skin color would be. The interview was thorough and confirmed what we suspected of the dumpster fire that is the royal family.

Pose comes to an end with an abbreviated third season 85/💯

We will have only one more season with the beloved cast and only seven episodes to hear “the category is…” The groundbreaking show, a love letter to the underground NYC ballroom community which amplified queer and trans folx on and off the screen, gave us connection, drama, and tenderness. While we’re sad Pose is ending, we have much respect for show runners who know when the stories they intended to tell are complete.

Swizz Beatz and Timbaland Sell Verzuz to Triller 50/💯

We love a good business deal, but we also love Black (majority) ownership. So we’re conflicted with this news. On the heels of Square buying Tidal, Triller, the create-and-share video and social app, acquired one of the best virtual creations to come out of pandemic. It’s dope to see that all the artists who participated in Verzuz get equity, but when can we own — and maintain ownership — over our inventions, for the long haul?

Amanda Gorman followed home by security guard who called her “suspicious” 🚮 /💯

We’re automatically deemed as criminals, when the real crime is being seen as such. The inauguration poet says she was tailed by a guard on her way home. After buzzing herself into the building, the guard left without apology. “This is the reality of Black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat,” she wrote. “In a sense, he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance. Anyone who speaks the truth and walks with hope is an obvious and fatal danger to the powers that be.”

The Best of Us

ICYMI, here are some of our favorite ZORA stories

Soft Black Girls and the Reclamation of Black Femininity

In Defense of Meghan Markle and ‘Angry Black Women’

Ruth Carter’s Costume Designs Bring ‘Coming 2 America’ and ‘Black Panther’ to Life

Labor Pains: Grappling With the Inherent Pressures of Infertility — Societal and Self-Imposed

Phenomenal Woman: Eunique Jones Gibson, Creator of #CultureTags

I Created ‘Call Your Elders Day’ to Lift Up My Loved Ones

Black Debutantes Were Waltzing Long Before ‘Bridgerton’

🗣️ The Last Word 🗣️

“Self-esteem means knowing you are the dream.” — Oprah

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