• Folabomi Olujimi

Six Black Women Share Their Take on Happiness in 2021

The world has been in a state of panic and uncertainty since March of 2020. These negative feelings have disproportionately affected Black women, and we are often forced to relive our old traumas while suffering through new ones. But, happiness exists too. We spoke to a few Black women about things that have made them happy this year.

These two women made it a point to let go of people who were no longer good for them:

"Two things that made me happy this year were: I was finally able to move into my own apartment in the city, which has been my dream forever. The second is that I left a relationship that wasn't giving what it was supposed to give. Even though that was hard, I made a conscious decision to put myself first for once. The things I'm actively doing to stay happy include reconnecting with friends, taking time for myself and listening to my body."

C, 22

"One thing that's made me happy is just letting go of certain relationships, because I have a bad habit of holding on to relationships that are not good for me. Obviously it was hard at first, but I keep reminding myself that I deserve better. I also started an album review Instagram page this year! I wanted to do it so many times last year but I kept second-guessing myself and talking myself out of it. This year, I told myself 'don't think, just do it. You'll figure it out as you go'."

A, 19

This brave young woman has prioritized her mental health:

"This past year I've really been focusing on my mental illness, because I've been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. I've taken the time to work with my doctors to get on the right medication and take control of my life. I've been able to enjoy things in my day like listening to music, sitting in the sun and eating on a regular schedule."

F, 20

This creative is creating:

"This year, something that made me really happy was publishing my magazine! It received a lot of support from Black artists in Miami. I took a Black feminism course with a lot of Black queer artists, and it just inspired me. This year was really hard for Black people, Black women and Queer Black people. Just being able to share joy and liberation was beautiful. People don't understand how much those things inspire us."

D, 20

Self-love was the name of the game for these two women:

"This year, I realized how much I centered my happiness around the male gaze. It was something I had done unconsciously for most of my life. From how I dressed to how I did my hair, to what I would post on social media. Being alone more and more frequently made me realize my value as a human being and it made me appreciate my body more. Before, I could be having a good day and if a man doesn't look at me a certain way, my day would be ruined. But now, the only things that can ruin my day are bad news and bad grades."

F, 22

"Obviously, this year was really difficult for different reasons for everybody. One thing that made me happy this year, even though it was tough and took a long time, I finally got to a place where I like myself. It sounds very mediocre in terms of accomplishments, but it took a while for me to sincerely enjoy myself, my company, my body, my spirit and my soul to the point that I do right now, and I am really grateful for that."

Z, 21

What's made you happy this year?