My thoughts are all over the place and my heart is heavy. I recently tried yoga for the first time and quickly learned that I wasn’t comfortable with someone hearing me breathe. Yes, my fragile masculinity was showing. In that moment I realized black men aren’t involved in the wellness community (I just recently learned the definition of that word). People like myself have no clue where to look and many spaces I would be interested in are for black women or women of color only. Then I dug a little deeper and realized growing up as a young black man, I was never taught self care rituals. Even now as an adult, it seems like this information doesn’t exist past a 5 min shower with some wack old spice body wash (which promotes hella toxic masculinity, remember those commercials?) Shea butter, oils, candles, and incense are still fairly new to me. It seems like we have nothing in this culture that prepares young black boys to love themselves. I wanted to share my experience because I think it’s important that we take time to breathe and be kind to our bodies. Life is hard enough. When I leave my safe space I don’t know if I’m going to get killed, marginalized, scapegoated, or stereotyped. I also think it’s important that I remind myself and others before this journey even starts, we must start with confronting our violence and take accountability for our patriarchal ways. You can smell great, have soft skin, a soft beard, and still be trash. In that same breath, I also notice when black men try to change, we (the community) don’t affirm that effort to change. It’s like people don’t want to see us grow.