My name is Yasmine Mathurin. I’m a writer & director & podcast producer. I have never been one to slow down. I take a lot of pride in my drive and ability to get shit done, sometimes even to my own detriment.
Last year, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and it forced me to take a step back to reassess not only what was happening to my body, but also evaluate my own relationship to work moving forward. I still haven’t found a clear way forward yet but here is a list of affirmations that have helped me so far in my journey. A lot of these affirmations I’ve found through The Nap Ministry and Black Liturgies on Instagram, but I’ve adapted them to fit my needs.
1. You are not a burden. Your body is sacred and trying.”
The most devastating part of processing a diagnosis like this, has been to realize that I was losing control of my body, my health. To realize that no matter how well I can eat, or exercise, that auto-immune means that the disease could persist regardless of my efforts to care for myself. But this affirmation has helped me remember that I am not a burden, and that despite what it might feel like, my body is doing the best it can to keep me alive. That it's worthy of gentleness. That the shame is not helpful and that it’s okay to ask for help and let people who love me care for me when I need it the most.
2.“Being busy is not a metric for success”
I used to be proud of being busy because it meant that I was working hard, it meant that success was inevitable. But since my diagnosis I’ve been forced to learn that not only is my wellness my wealth but it is also my key to success. I cannot work if I am not well. Slowing down intermittently is necessary as I work.
3. “You were born worthy. Your boundaries are holy ground”
Capitalism will have us believe that we are nothing but what we are able to produce, or make or create on any given day. When I would fall short of my to-do list, I’d be hard on myself and I’m learning to approach work with the assumption that regardless of what I’m able to accomplish, I deserve good things. I am worthy regardless of what I can or cannot do. It’s given me the grace and space for my capacity (which can fluctuate because of my health) to feel more grounded in who I am and not what I do. Boundaries to protect my wellness is the only way through making great work.
4. “Our joy is as revolutionary as our survival” - tenille k campbell
As a Black woman, there is an expectation to push through, even our own capacity for pain tolerance is expected to be higher than our non-Black counterparts. I resent this expectation to be resilient all the time. I feel like it’s strange to be praised for our capacity to take a lot of shit, struggle. Resilience is not an option because it’s the only way to survive, so when we fight for our joy it’s inherently revolutionary. So I’m trying to be intentional about practicing gratitude and creating more room for joy and delight in my everyday life. I don’t always succeed but I try to be intentional about it more and more.
You can follow Yasmine's work on her website. Her first feature film had its world premiere at the Hot Docs International Film Festival and it won the Canadian Special Jury prize. It will be showing at a few more festivals this fall.