Yesterday my daughter sent me a video by @deante_kyle, which truly resonated with me.
Deante spoke about a hustle culture that we often see perpetuated online in the video. He was essentially talking about wanting to have one job and be able to pay his bills, and have time to spend with his family. His comments are valid for many people struggling in this economy to just afford basic necessities. He mentioned not wanting multiple jobs just to make it in this world. Everything he said struck something in me as I have noticed this “boss bitch” or “grind culture” consuming myself and so many of my friends. And let me say if this is your thing and how you operate, that is fine. This is my truth, and I am not bashing anyone that chooses to subscribe to that.
I was a person who worked all the time. I worked an office job for almost 20 years, and when I got off work, I wrote books, all while being a full-time mother. In recent years, while I wrote about America missing an opportunity to pause in the pandemic and ask ourselves what lessons should we learn from this, I didn’t take my own advice. I kept going. Never pausing to ask myself what should I be learning in this moment? When we were all ruled by uncertainty facing the pandemic, I continued working, writing, speaking, and adding to that protesting. Wake up and repeat. Everything about my life was grinding. You hear this online about grinding to get to your next goal, hustle, secure the bag, and you begin to center your life around that. I didn’t recognize that way of life was killing me at the time. I cannot sustain a lifestyle of constantly grinding and hustling. Where is the enjoyment?
The following are some things I reject from the boss bitch/grind culture:
- Wake up and Grind. I do not want to wake up and grind. When you grind something, you can damage it. You can reduce it to almost nothing but powder. And that is the problem with many Black women now. We wake up focused on grinding, not understanding how that mentality is slowly grinding us down. What if we wake up and read a few pages of a book? What about waking up and going outside to be one with nature? What about waking up and taking the time to reconnect with you? What if we wake up and sip a nice hot cup of coffee or tea? Wake up and simply be thankful for waking up? When you wake up, grinding should not be the first thing on your mind. Take a minute to focus on yourself and give back to yourself.
- I Will Sleep When I’m Dead. And not sleeping is probably why you are dead. I used to be someone that would write all through the night. There was a period in my life I would work a full day, then come home and write well into the next day. And I did this for years. However, for me, that was not sustainable. I found myself irritable, anxious and worn out. Rest is essential. Rest is not being lazy. Rest allows your body and your mind to pause for a moment to rejuvenate. Rest is a requirement for you to be the best version of yourself that you can be. You gain nothing but an early grave by overworking yourself. There is no prize for being the most exhausted, overworked Black woman in America.
- Doing It For the ‘Gram. This is a lot of the underlying problems with the “boss bitch” mentality. It is done compared to someone else’s life that you know nothing about. Social media is a snapshot of carefully curated moments. You compare yourself and your lifestyle to a photo that someone took thirty times just to pick one to share on social media. Stop centering your life and your goals compared to what someone is posting online. Many people claiming to be a boss, aren’t even a boss over a pile of laundry. Stop focusing on what you see online. Your gift is your gift. Your job is your job. You don’t know how difficult someone may be struggling to keep up a persona. You have no idea what demons they are battling just to post a video smiling in a Versace outfit. Are they really living their best life, or do they just you to believe they are living their best life?
- Image and Brand Are Everything. This is related to doing everything for social media. Many people who reach a level of success never tell you what is really going on. I cannot live my life on brand. I have on old clothes, bleached stained leggings, dirty gardening shoes, and dirt in my fingernails when I am gardening. There are times I have to run to the store while I am gardening, and THAT is what I am wearing. If you see me out in my dirty gardening shoes and bleached stained leggings, wave and keep it moving. Everything in my life is not perfect, and it won’t be what many consider to be “on brand.” I am human. My brand is reality. I have laundry I need to fold. I get rejection emails for my writing all the time. I have doubted myself. I have cried myself to sleep. I spend at least 2 times out of the month chasing the garbage collector down the street because I was too lazy to put my trashcan out the night before. The list is endless of things that I do that are not “on brand.” I am not a product. I am a human, and I do human shit.
- We All Have The Same 24 Hours. I used to buy into that; however, a celebrity’s 24 hours is different from my 24 hours. There are some things wealthy people do not have to think about or deal with. They are not juggling working their job, doing the laundry, running to the grocery store, finding time to cook, etc. Their job is simply to work on one thing. Many of us do not have that luxury, so while we do have the same amount of time, how we must spend that time is vastly different. Perhaps one day, you will get to the point that your only job is your passion, and you have the financial means to hire a chef, a housekeeper, a full-time nanny, etc. Until then, recognize that your 24 hours are different, and do not beat yourself up because of it.
- Multiple Streams Of Income First, let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with having multiple streams of income. But within those multiple income streams, you must work smarter, not harder. I don’t want to be the boss of the lash shop, the boutique, the wig line, the podcast, the shea butter line. I want to focus on doing one thing and doing it exceptionally well, and because I am so exceptional, that allows me time to have passive income from book sales that don’t require my presence and time. I want to be so good at writing and speaking that I can pick and choose where I go and get paid enough from those few engagements to sustain my lifestyle and save money. Should I have multiple income streams, I am not “the boss” for each avenue. I can employ others, so they are now making money, and I am paid on the backend. There is no reward for spreading yourself thin among 10 different businesses that are not generating enough income to make it worth your time. Focus on being exceptional at the main thing.
- Your Hobby Is Your Hustle. Everything is not about securing the bag. Everything is not a hustle. Sometimes a hobby is just a hobby. When did it become wrong to do something simply because you enjoy it? What happened to doing something simply because it brings you joy and happiness. Every gift is not given to you so that you can create an LLC. I love to garden. It brings me peace. I am not about to start Hannah Drake’s Gardening Services LLC. Perhaps God gave you a gift simply for you to be happy and enjoy that gift. Feel free to have a hobby. Embrace doing something simply for the enjoyment of it.
These are just a few things that I have rejected from the boss bitch/grind culture. Last night I was listening to @ayandastood, and she talked about all the cultural values that are made up.
She asked in the video, “Whose imagination are we living in?” Many of the things that the boss bitch/grind culture ascribes to are rooted in an imagination that is not ours. It is an environment created and fueled by White supremacy. The boss bitch/grind culture feeds into that imagination about money, time, beauty, what is valued, etc. That is not something that I want to be a part of. I want to live my life in a state of enjoyment and peace. I do not wish to be hyper-focused on grinding to gain a life that I cannot enjoy because I am overworked, exhausted, and filled with anxiety. If I must grind in this world, I will grind to refind myself. I will work overtime to discover me. The me that I lost trying to be and do it all. And that is a boss bitch move!
Additional Reading: Black Women It’s Okay To Let Go Of Your Cape