Solange’s “A Seat at the Table” is Self-care
I went into Solange’s new album, “A Seat at the Table” with mid-level expectations as I tend to with very hyped music projects. Even though I am generally a fan of hers, I don’t be singing her praises from the rooftops or nothing. I don’t be up on the roof for just anyone. Roofs are high. The first play I listened passively and I liked it sonically. Basically, it jammed. For shits and giggles, I took a second pass. I pressed play again and it resonated like I never would have imagined. The project is lyrically heavy, thoughtful, and direct.
On about the fifth run of the album, there was a light bulb moment. The resonant theme was self-care beyond the surface of just doing obvious nice things for yourself. I heard something deeper that grabbed at my heartstrings in a way that may have gone over others’ heads. Here’s what Alise, someone who by the way is surviving mental illness, heard. Yeah, third person, sometimes you gotta step outside of yourself:
Fall in your ways, so you can crumble
Fall in your ways, so you can sleep at night
Fall in your ways, so you can wake up and rise
Sometimes part of properly taking care of yourself is to accept defeat and allow some things to fall by the wayside. Sometimes you have to stop giving a situation or project your energy. A new solution will present itself while you put your effort towards something else. In the end, when the situation is eventually resolved, you’ll damn sure appreciate it more.
Cranes in the Sky
I tried to drink it away
I tried to put one in the air
I tried to dance it away
I tried to change it with my hair
I ran my credit card bill up
Thought a new dress would make it better
I tried to work it away
But that just made me even sadder
After even listening to just the first line, I immediately thought: “GET HELP!” Part of self-care is realizing you cannot do it alone. All the self medication, distractions, and evasion in the world will not make the pain go away. In fact, it tends to make it progressively worse. You have to reach out for help, preferably professional. You don’t try to drink and dance away a broken arm and you shouldn’t for a broken psyche. And take it from me, the queen of repression, the latter is much worse.
You got the light, count it all joy
You got the right to be mad
But when you carry it alone you find it only getting in the way
They say you gotta let it go
Now tell ’em why you mad son
Part of taking care of yourself is expressing when someone is hurting you. It is believing that you are important enough to not be fucked with and that there are consequences in doing so. It is replaying the mantra of “I MATTER!” as many times as you need. GET MAD!
Don’t Touch My Hair
Don’t touch my hair
When it’s the feelings I wear
Don’t touch my soul
When it’s the rhythm I know
Don’t touch my crown
They say the vision I’ve found
Don’t touch what’s there
When it’s the feelings I wear
BOUNDARIES PEOPLE! The foundation of self preservation is established by regulating who and what can enter your space. It means directing people on how they must tread in order to cross the threshold of you. It is imperative to let go of people and energy that is unworthy of the amazing being that is you!
Borderline(An ode to self-care)
You know I have the world to think
And you know I gotta go ahead and take some time
Because the last thing I want
Is think that it’s time that I leave the borderline
Take the time to do the things or be with who makes you happy even when heavy things are going on in our world. Place yourself in your safe bubble and decompress and disconnect from the chaos. It is vital or you to recharge and have the mental capacity and energy to face the not-so-good days.
Solange’s beautifully crafted album, “A Seat at the Table” is a manifesto of self-care and self-love. Sit down with it and I guarantee it will speak to you in a way that leaves you different than before you started. If you have already listened, how did it speak to you? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?