Rad Self Love 2017: Shanti Of ANoteToZami
Radical Self Love. I shared my story and thoughts about radical self-love. Now, I pick the brains of the folks that have inspired my own journey to self-love. In the radical self-love series, I ask some questions that I asked myself in the beginning of 2017. Because learning from my peers is to learn about self.
Shanti is my dear sis from the interwebs. I became aware of her and her work through her former blog Black Ampersand. On that site, she wrote about her black queer femme identity as well as dissect the works of black queer writers. Her work on Black Ampersand helped me be comfortable and explore my own queer identity.
Her work is being continued on the new site A Note To Zami. Fresh new look, same realness. I’m happy to have Shanti, my “queer little sis” break down radical self love from her perspective.
Mykieintheraw: So tell me about yourself. Who is Shanti?
Shanti: Who is Shanti? A brown girl befriending brown liquor and green herbs. Perched around the sharp tenderness of great aunts, great women, great ones is how the voice of this old soul blooms. A proud product of mild sauce and Maya Angelou, Ashanti Marshall is your queer baby sister outchea trusting what moves them as truth. You can find them deep in the earth of things, fully involved and stimulated by how they view change and create it. A digital archivist by trade, oracle by birthright, they are of the elements and with them, deeply.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned and continue to explore in my journey of being conscious/ woke/whatever you want to call it is that there will be more questions than answers. And the more questions you have, the more possibilities you have to exist.
I am so inspired by all of these questions.
But dead ass, I’m a recluse that reads books and is always in her feelings. That’s my work. I wasn’t sure how to say it cause I’m figuring me out. I like the fact that I have more questions than answers and I have examples to look to.
I did not have examples of my fully realized existence to serve as inspiration growing up because queer femininity was not acknowledged, heard of, or imagined in my black Baptist household. I find more examples of myself on the internet than in real life. I had to find love. I had to find support. I had to create those things for myself. I had to manifest this shit. I had to call it out and let it know what my name was for it to be known, seen, and felt. It’s been four years in the making but five months in action with creating A Note to Zami.
What can I say, we are born and then we create ourselves
MITR: So, self love. What part(s) of yourself do you adore?
S: I adore my honesty. I adore how blunt it is. I adore how straight forward that shit is. I adore the fact that people are inspired and encouraged by my honesty. You can’t help but drop the façade with me. I don’t interact unless it’s beyond the surface. And it’s not for everyone until they come to realize and accept themselves. Interacting with me will bring you closer to yourself for certain.
Physically, my hips and my thighs. I love my legs too.
MITR: What parts of yourself need more loving?
S: The rest of my body? * laughs* Everything else. There’s definitely a conditioning of “suitable” self acceptance. I work everyday to keep in my mind that nothing and nobody makes you comfortable in your body but you. Name that space, take that space, claim that space and most of all let it be yours as you see fit.
MITR: What part of yourself is hard to face?
S: Accepting the fact that perfection is the most viable illusion and that I’m here to present. I am enough, enough is now and forever. That’s the lesson that is most difficult to face but I keep teaching and learning myself tenderness and time.
MITR: What advice would you give to someone embarking a self love journey?
S: Honestly, make the priority of yourself a daily practice. On my journey, I’m understanding what had been a projection unto me for my life and what am I becoming, doing, and creating in my life. And how necessary every moment and misstep is.
Advice I would give. Look in the mirror and tell yourself “I love you” once a day for a year and see what happens. Because ain’t nobody gonna love you until you do. People will follow your lead. And if you lead with insecurities or fear, people are going to feed into that and give you exactly what you are projecting.
MITR: What does radical self love mean to you?
S: Radical self love is an inquiry. It will change. Life is cyclical. So it is Divine will that we go through these cycles of not loving, learning to love, loving and falling out of that love. All of it is necessary and purposeful.
What does is mean to me? It means evolution. It means education. It means a lot and sometimes not enough. It means work and patience with that work. It means triumph at the end of the day. It means recollection and reclaiming a definition. It means recalling yourself and your sorrows. It means healing. At the end of the day, it is meant to heal you but also explore how deep, how bad, how far, you’re willing to go.
MITR: Any last words you want to share?
A: Read a book. Love yourself. Don’t text your ex back. Don’t do that shit. Regardless of if Mercury is in retrograde or direct. Give black queer femmes your money. Read what we are writing, listen to what we’re saying, and engage. We deserve. We deserve money. We deserve joy. We deserve love. We deserve orgasms. We deserve change. We deserve compassionate actions that ensure our safety and uplift us. And that’s it.