33. Rethinking Gender With Raquel Willis
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I'm at a point where I I really want us to think about a radical shift and our understanding of gender really. Everyone is to knock them forming in in some way and with the history that we have particularly here in the United States being black as inherently gender not conforming so when we try to divide ourselves around. Transit beef aren't really by near experiences. And I think within a generation's time we we will start to have a deeper understanding of that. This is the secret lives of black women. I'm SHARLA and I'm Laurin and today we're talking about LGBTQ politics. I'm really looking forward to talking about this. And I'm excited to talk about this because I feel like as we think about the presidential election and politics like so often when we think of black issues we compartmentalize and just think of blackness as like. Oh it's just it's just this issue but black issues are LGBTQ issues and we have to bring those to the forefront to and our thoughts and our minds is like if our sisters are dying like that should affect you. You should care and be like rallied up to be like who's talking about this and I think a lot of us are talking about it. I think we've had such strides socially in making these issues. Everyone's issues and making them black issues. At least as far as I'm concerned you know if everybody free none of us free so none of us. None of us. So I'm very excited. I think we have absolutely the best person to chat about these issues. We're chatting with Raquel Willis. Raquel is a writer journalist feminist leader and transgender liberation activists. She founded an initiative at the transgender law center called Black Trans circles which creates space for Trans People in the South and Midwest to heal from oppressive traumas and at the time of this interview. Raquel was the executive editor about magazine. She spoke at the inaugural women's March back in two thousand seventeen and her writing has appeared everywhere from essence device. Bitch magazine Buzzfeed and Huffington Post. I am so excited to meet rebel and to get this conversation started. So let's just jump right in. Let's do it. We are here with you. Know Media Racquel Willis. I'll lotion our hands as we just discussed the fear of Ash. Yes no one wants to be ashy and these street literally. Everyone at this table right now is rubbing lotion into their hands. I'm like I had enough that I'm like bring it up my forearms arms because I'm just my body's part just really feels like the blackest thing we've ever done on this show. I love black lady moment of all of us just like going with the low. Yeah itself care itself. Payer Sodas not about motion repel you and then episode is about you. I'm like there's so many things that I want to talk to you about. I like am wondering where to begin. I mean I think we start at the beginning. I mean you are a transgender rights activists your writer and I WanNa know. How did you get started with this? Work it actually is really weird to me to consider that my career right because I think the a lot of times activism has become something that people latch onto for visibility right or latch onto Avalaible for cloud or whatever you can think of right and I think there's there's something that rubs me the wrong way about thinking of my career's activism. I think in my career as a time and nonprofits as a time in media as an editor now at out magazine Executive Editor But it's weird to think of my activism as my career. I don't know I don't know what the line it's like tied to it right because I think that activism is so expansive like I think we get into this idea that it is something so limited it is just being on the streets into a bullhorn. You Know Martin With Stop. And all of that is beautiful and powerful and important and we've seen through history. How those kinds of direct actions have shifted Culture Right Society but activism is so many different things organizing can come in so many different forms my thing. Israeli people need to find what their passion is and Organiz within it right. So if you're a writer. Are you writing about things that can liberate other folks? You know if you are a teacher. Are you teaching things that can liberate other folks right? Are you using your curriculum with these lessons of social justice these lessons around elevating blackness and Brown and Queer and and different types of bodies and disability all of these different things? So you're trans. Yes yet and I mean is it okay by ask about the beginnings of you deciding to go on this journey. Yeah I mean I appreciate this question. I think that Like your gender isn't really the choice right or your identity isn't really the choice. The choice is whether you're gonNA live in it and for me. I mean I grew up in a very traditional southern family and the judge and went to college college enjoyed. I spent the first twenty five years of my life in Georgia. You know and so I really see my suther ness of a strong important part of my identity and I was raised Catholic right so there are so many layers I mean and then you talk about being a young black person born to pretty traditional parents who were middle class. I mean you know I I joke about being you know. The huxtables by some standards. Right my mom was a had a doctrine of an education and and you know advocated adults for thirty or so years. My Dad was a professional as well and later went back to get his masters. Then become a professor as well so I had that kind of background where I had privileges and I also had you know obviously those levels of repression. I mean being black right being a budding queer and Trans Person So it took me a while to get to that point where I was like. Oh No you know. There's something else going on over here. It's not just that you know. I'm a feminine would call me or that. I was gay right even though I knew I was attracted to men. No there was something fundamentally different about my experience in gender and when I got to college and found the language and found other people Who had similar experiences. It was on like it was time for me to like figure out where I fit on the gender spectrum figure out of I could even see a future right because there were a lot of decisions I had to make You know when I was in college and trying to come into my identity because I also did not have visions of a trans person who had a professional life right or who had a family and who was loving right had a partner and had these healthy experiences. We just. We're not seeing that. Yeah what age did you start expressing your gender identity? So it's funny you ask that because I felt like I was unintentionally expressing my foods ender throughout my entire life right like I think we get so hung up on what people wear. If someone's face is down which you know of course. It's so much more than that. I felt like mind. Gender was so tired and how I was expressing myself And that's why people would call me a feminine or call me slurs and I just can never hide it right like you know we hear about these folks who are like yeah I was. I was pushing it up and and really deepen than closet like no people knew something was going on with me. We didn't quite know what was different about My experience and I didn't know but I I felt like I was always kind of living my gender even when I wasn't trying to And I will say when I got to college. That's when I got the education around. What are the options medically right? What are things that I actually want to do for myself? physically right whether it be you know a hormonal journey or surgical journey. Yea I I. It's been beautiful to kind of witness Our expansion and understanding on gender and and our sexual identity. When you question asks one in a minute I wondering when you enter your career in journalism because I'm reading about you so that your father staff really was a catalyst for your transition but also your career and were you thinking of you know you mentioned earlier which is so powerful for me of like how you didn't imagine a possibility of like some like in the world and that impact like a not only my going to be journalists as I'm dealing with this transition but I'm going to cover issues that spread awareness about my experience so other people are informed and no. Yeah I mean I was committed. You know I came in to college experience knowing that I wanted to deepen my understanding of of storytelling and use the media Asa Tool to make things a little bit better for people who are like me who grew up isolated grow up in New York or Atlanta for that matter. I grew up in Augusta Georgia and and although there are a solid amount of folks they are. I mean that's the has the second largest population in the state there. It's still felt like a smaller southern experience so I didn't know other algae Q. Folks for the most part there are a few obviously like teachers that people speculated about but they were never going to say anything because they might lose their jobs and so when I graduated from college I did not find any job prospects in New York. I tried and I found myself working in a very small newspaper in an even smaller town in Georgia called Monroe Georgia and I was in the cloth You know so all that first job I was in the closet about being queer about being trans And you know I maybe. People had assumptions or whatever they never brought sumptious to me. My understanding was like no one really knew partly because you know there are so many ways in which you have to comport your salve to be at that point what we're calling being passable right so that people wouldn't try and clock you're Trans Ness But then also I just felt like people. There is a certain level of ignorance. That was blissful right even for me like people weren't as verse and Trans Identity and Trans folks and so it was a little bit easier to navigate in some regards but it was hurting me on the inside. It right as deeply as I wanted to. About Social Justice Issues. I even had an editor who he was my boss who you know would basically try and steer me to write less liberal right or less progressive and that hurt you know it was hard. I couldn't really be my full south in that meant that I was only telling part of my story but I could only tell parts of the stories that I was interested in as well. What help push you through that moment to live in the fullness of your truth both journalistically and personally a few things so a personal moment I was asked to cover the first drag show that they had in that county and I actually. I mean I knew the whole community like in that kind of I Guess Tri County Radius. And I really had to pretend like I didn't really know what was going on. Draft show asking. I'm like drag was fabulous and so I had to do that. And so I'm like interviewing these folks that I totally know girl because I mean you like. They didn't know that I had to do that. And and anyway I mean I think even when I was my career being fresh out of journalism school this whole idea of objectivity right and not inserting yourself into the story. That was a mask for me to not really be my full south and so still. That was one experience right. The kind of you know bringing off fraudulent And then I would say the large are calling came from what was happening in the movement. You know this was a time you know. When the murder of people like Trayvon Martin were happening? Mike Brown People were shutting down highways Atlanta and other places. This is very recent RECCO. It's yes it's still pretty recent right. It felt like a lifetime ago. I think to some people but particularly for black folks like that was yesterday You know just yesterday and so that was That was what I was was witnessing but again I mean also wasn't just yesterday because this was what twenty thirteen two thousand fourteen so even now I mean thinking about it I was what like six years ago Six or so years ago so I mean I I was seeing that and I was like how in the World Am. I wasting my energy trying to fit into another grabs for these people to keep my job and survive. It's bigger than that. It's bigger than me and the semblance of survival and so what also happened was I am at this point. I had I was a few months in a new job in Atlanta as a media publisher for A website called. How stuff works again. Not Related to any of the liberation work that I was really interested in. But it kept me afloat And I also Read about the death of Leila alcorn. Who was a young trans girl who died by suicide And this was two thousand fourteen and so she. It was interesting because with her case she had written suicide note and she had Scheduled to be published on Tumbler pads after her. Death happened and so it was so interesting. Because you know I think there a report reports about it and then the note came out right and so everyone could read what she had written and she basically said how she couldn't see a future for herself after Trans Person and so. I did a video on Youtube when I ran and I was like ugly crying about what had happened to Leela what was happening period because there was the death of. Alon nettles had happened about a year before that another while. She's a Black Trans woman. Who was murdered and so all of that was happening and I was like. I have to be present and fully in this moment so I don't look back years from now wondering why I wasn't using my energy for what I knew to be right. This is so powerful. We have to take a break but when we come back. I really want to ask you because your transition to living your expressing yourself fully has been so recent. I Really WanNa know what it's been like for you since so we'll talk about that more when we come back you know sexual assault and sexual abuse are constantly discussed in the news media. But we're taking a moment acknowledged survivors. Who are sometimes overlooked in the public dialogue. Those who experienced sexual abuse as children. The Unique Foundation is a nonprofit organization. Whose mission is to inspire hope and healing in women who were sexually abused as children or adolescents. They offer a variety of free resources to survivors including an educational retreat online articles and survivor led support groups around the world. If you're a survivor of child sexual abuse the unique foundation wants you to know you are not alone. Hope in healing are possible. One in four women in the United States is a survivor of child. Sexual Abuse. Chances are someone you love. Is there survivor? Who needs your support? The unique foundation is not asking for your money or resources. This sexual assault awareness month. They want to offer support. If you or someone you know is an adult survivor child. Sexual Abuse Tech secret lies three one nine nine six to receive free online resources. If you're using the resources for yourself know that you are deserving of healing if you're texting on behalf of someone you love. Thank you for doing your part in supporting survivors. How would my or your life be fundamentally different? If you knew you were going to live forever. How far would you go for your dog? Do you have any advice for people to feel better about being alone in public? I'm Angela Duckworth but I'm Steven Dubner. I'm a psychologist at Penn. And I run an educational nonprofit called character lab. You also wrote the Book Grit. Yes and I am a writer and host a podcast called freakonomics radio and you wrote the book freakonomics. Among quite a few others did and unite became friends. We did and we discovered that both of us really like to ask each other questions. And there's only one rule the rule is there are no stupid questions. I think it's incredibly hard to predict success. Do you agree. I want to know whether you are a maximize her or satisfy sir in. Why what is your biggest regret as a parent? No stupid questions. Premiers may eighteenth subscribe. Now Apple podcasts. Wherever you listen and you can listen to the show ad free by subscribing distance your premium and we're back so raquel. Yeah so can you tell us more about what this experience of expressing yourself fully since it's so recent? What's that been like for you? Yeah I mean you know. It doesn't feel recent some me itself. Funny I talk about this with my Momma La were very close and you know and sometimes loads us. There have been a few moments of silence particularly recently where you know we were just like hanging out and stuff and I'm like you know what's weird. And then one time she she finished. The bottom was like yeah. Your life of. It's wild that you've done so much right since college writings and since even coming out our family and everything like there was never an assumption on my end the I'll be able to have the career that I have particularly in writing and a media but also to be able to accomplish the things around organizing and building with the the communities that I'm a part of their I just did not even think that far ahead because everything was just one moment one second at a time. But you're right. I mean I think in some ways it is recited right like I. I'm not thirty yet so I'm not rubbing not in anyone's face because I'm in my thousands retiring tiny in its accomplish as a moment right but I'm thankful and grateful for what I've been able to accomplish. And the people that I've met met some of my best friends and movement and our relationships of transcended the Movement Space. I because I didn't know any other Black Trans Woman Really before I left college so that scene Georgia that drag scene was white for the most part. Yeah or if there were black folks. They weren't trans. They relax this man for the most part Maybe gender fluid people weren't really using terms like non binary out imagine you know. There are a lot more performers who may be identify more on gender spectrum but yeah I mean I knew a lot of Trans Masculine folks. Many of them were white. Trans Masculine folks. But I didn't really know any other Black Trans Women. What was it like to come into community with like other black? Trans woman was an automatic. Feeling of like I don't need to explain myself. I feel understood. No I mean in some ways. Yeah to Black Trans. The will have completely different experiences around gender but it really was particularly when I met my friend. Tony Michelle Williams In Atlanta Georgia. Who really deepened a lot of my analysis on a Lotta things particularly like sex work and Incarceration it was really being confronted with my privileges. But Yeah I'm a woman by hours able to go to college I have been able to you know have access to a job pretty consistently since college I had a family who I was able to get to a point where you know they understood my identity and and we're in a you know we've been in a sweet spot where those questions aren't there. Isn't there anymore. You know so to have even that support and then to come from a middle class background and then of course a two parent household like all of these different things our privileges even as a Black Trans Woman I have those and it's on me to always hold the duality of my experience. And that's what everyone needs to be able to do. What is it that we still get wrong as a society about this movement or about this community? A lot of Duff neethling gotten better in some regards bright yeah. It's great people have more language than ever before to work with. But that doesn't mean that that has translated into fundamental chefs right and I am for a long time for me and I think for a lot of people. There was this desire to kind of hold people's hands and just the SABs the scraps of affirmation that people would give us. You know but I'm at a point where I really want us to think about a radical shift in our understanding of gender so when we talk about being trans we talk about transpeople as of we are the only ones that whole gender identities people have gender identity right. I mean just like white people have a race. You know. People have gender identities as well and so they also fall on the spectrum so not every woman is the same do you think about the ways that being a racialist woman impacts how your gender scene and respected him and validated or not validated. We have to talk about that and particularly for black folks. It is important for us. Understand that in this context and with the history that we have particularly here in the United States being black is inherently gender non conforming interest is so being. A black woman is a very different experience than being a white woman. Yeah and there is a layer of gender and access that we will never be able to to live in because we aren't white women and so when we try to divide ourselves around Trans and says these aren't really by near experiences and I think within a generation's time we we will start to have a deeper understanding of that That it's really not just argue trans or are you says and I think that that's where we kind of get this conversation wrong. I think also I want us to talk Abou Masculinity they need to figure out what healthy masculinity looks like because as much as we get dog as black women or I get dog as a Black Trans woman. These men and masculine folks dog in themselves and they don't even know it. They don't even know that they are. They have put themselves in these boxes where they can even have a full range of human emotion and empathy. So that's what I also WANNA see mass folks Coming and to a healthier and we don't have to demonize masculinity writ large for that to happen okay and then the last thing you keep talking when a going back to this idea of a radical shift around how we think about gender it goes beyond you know pronouns conversation You know I think everyone is like okay. Well what we can do as we can respect pronouns and if you can get that down then you're radical you've got no late. That's that's really it? Really? The floor is basement. No I mean I think we think about radically Shifting our thoughts on gender. What does it mean to bring children into a world and not put our expectations on them around gender from conception to them you know becoming their own adult right? What does that look like? You know it looks like us. Having more flexibility in our households you know where children can play and and experience things that interest them rather than US throwing. You know are masculine standards. That kids we WANNA call a boys or are feminine standards that kids. We want to call girls right. Everyone is really. Everyone has done to non-conforming in some way. And so if we can expand that we can stop putting these restrictions on folks save your money with these. Gender Ville flight then. We will really shift these things. I think we'll see more people because you just saying that about kids was sort of like a light going off in my head of. I feel like so much of my work. As an adult is like undoing. All people told me about myself and the negative attributes. And it's like the first box people put you in is gendered and it's just like well that's not little girls. Don't do that little girls. Don't play outside and then you're one of the first things you're told about yourself. How you WanNa live is wrong. Even if it's something as simple as like I want to play in the dirt like your natural instincts are being told that you're wrong and I think once we get to the place where we just allow kids and people to be will raise much healthier people because they'll love themselves and won't be told that everything about their natural instincts wrong like we've been talking a lot personally recently about like learning to trust our own intuition and how you have to like whole mets skill when all of your natural instincts for so long. We've been trying to fit in these boxes in these modes to be in society and be perfect black women or whatever ideas are playing it in your head a kid and how that's the shit that fucks you up and the near like I need to figure out in my thirties. Who the fuck I am Outside of all this baggage how powerful it would be if he just let people be but the other thing about just letting people be like look at how dangerous it is when you don't you know like when people feel like they have to hide when people feel like they can't be themselves like they won't be accepted like it's so it's such a tragedy. Every time I hear about something like this but I feel like a lot of that comes from the fear that families have when they see their little girl playing in the dirt. Will she like they immediately? Start to project what this might mean for their kid in that. Kid's life and I feel like we should all remember that those fears lead to either violence or tragedy. You know it makes unsafe world. It makes me like very sad. Yeah absolutely I mean I think the fear aspect is it is. It's a huge part of it and a lot of the ways that we are police or police other because we all do it we do in some way is a lot of it has to deal with our own trauma and our own. Need for self-preservation right and so when I think about parents. I think about like my dad. You know when I when I thought I was. You know my identity was gay. You know there were times when I would be able to break the veneer of like what was really his issue with my identity right. What was he really so worried about? And I think at the end of the day it was less about me right I. I think they can get past this idea of of a reductive idea around. Oh you can't have kids. We know folks can adopt you know like. Oh you're going to hell. Well you know if I am. That's my like those things are fine. Whatever but it was about him being fearful in a lot of ways for my life you know what I mean. You are already black right at that point you know. He thought I was a boy right. And so what does it mean say even be a black masculine presence in the context of United States and the south right and a medium sized town. And so then you're also queer. What path do you have? Who isn't going to want to target you and so you know as I've gotten older and I can understand that nuance I get it right. Like that's fear but then what what it also means is that there was also a fair. I think for him around what it meant for him so then have a queer child. What does that mean about his man and has capability or culpability and producing the clearness. I WanNa talk a little bit about your work as executive editor at out magazine because out magazine is just a legendary literary institution in your work. Do you feel like a pressure. An urgency especially now and this moment to like just get as many things out as possible to make people aware of the real issues that people are facing lake. I think I'm thinking about the election coming up and how the murder of Black Trans woman is a national issue. And no one's talking about it is they're pressuring your function as an editor in chief of being like. How do we put like fire under these candidates and get people this national conversation you know? I don't know of. It fills particularly urgent now. You know when I think about it. The deaths that have been happening in our community. There's a sense of urgency for for me and all of the people that I know for a long time I think about when I wrote a cover story on Sylvia Rivera for our pride as she back last June and it was the fiftieth anniversary since the stonewall riots and I did a lot of research for that cover story and learn so much more about Soviet than I actually knew right I think in some ways people like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha p Johnson Trans folks of color from yesteryear who have been lionised and their deaths right and recent years of them. We don't even actually know what they stand for is almost like mlk. Right Martin. Luther King Junior Lake and I mean Sylvia was organizing around the death of a Black Trans woman named Amanda Milan in two thousand and she was calling out Large LGBTQ nonprofits like the Human Rights Campaign for not Rallying behind justice for her death. She was calling out the LGBTQ center here in New York For not prioritizing the lives of Trans Women of Color and Trans folks. So it's been urgent for a long time and when I think specifically about my work I'm one of those people that you know. I deal with some intense imposter syndrome like pretty much everyone else. I now particularly the black woman I know and for me. I'm like girl to do what I need to do before the door gets locked before I get pushed out and the doors locked. You know we don't often have the grace of just waiting and sitting and waiting for someone to do their duck duck goose and give our chance you know to go. No when I get into a place I'll you know. Assess the landscape but at a certain point you just have to go right and the most that a person can say as now the most of the institution can say is no and then you at least know where you stand there and you can assess whether you can get what you need to get done there or not. Even when I worked at my second job how stuff works. I- pits the idea of a podcast on social justice On you know what was happening and the Movement for Black Lives Algebra secure issues. They wouldn't give me a podcast because they said that Well we already have a feminism. Podcasts THERE WAS. You know two white women who were you know? Very sweet and gracious to me very knowledgeable if very different but very different. They couldn't even see me outside of that space right and they couldn't see me as a host of my own show and and respect me and what I actually want to do so I realized that worth. I'm going to be able to do what I needed to do. To elevate stories I wanted to and then I want transgender law center and I had a great experience. You know amazing relationships and connections there and and got to point where I had to have a conversation about how our programming wasn't really touching black. Trans Women directly right after. I had that conversation. Luckily I. It was received well and and I presented a proposal in design a program on my own for the first time in my life. They received it well and then so. I built out a program called Black Trans circles which focuses on the survival of Black Trans woman and the south amid west from a hill injustice lands And that program lives on even though I'm not you know at the organization anymore and so that was there and when I came out it was the same thing and so luckily when I got out you know there was already space to push for a deeper. I think version of clearness entrance. Notice your under thirty. You've accomplished so much yet. You still mention you have imposter syndrome. And I'm wondering how you combat that to keep accomplishing all the things that you've done. A lot of. It is reminding myself that I'm under thirty but I think even that right like I think we need to shove the conversation on that because there will be a point where I can't use that as like my calming mechanism and it's not fair to the brilliant Black Women and other folks. I know who you know didn't really gets to do the things that they wanted to do. Until after you know it happens at so many different points in our lives and so we've got to get out of that age just kind of calming discussion for folks But it's it's talking to my mom you know talking to my sister and my good. Judy's my best friends you know. Most of whom are other Black Trans Women and Black Trans folks about what I'm going through and I'm I'm got so point where I'm a little less guarded about the hard things that I go through because for a long time I just would not speak to those things. I thought I had to to be the least massive version of myself but honestly the best things come out of you know my method. We like to end every episode by asking our guest. What is your secret? My secret is that you know myself care is love myself. Care isn't tangible things. It's not even though I love my plants too so I mean the feds in there too but it's the people that I surround myself with. My inner circle is myself. Care Right and they're okay with that and so when I talk about my sisters being myself care my best friends and US chatting Revitalizes me to go out and fight another fight and you know letting the people that I love. Put me in check right me. Putting them in check and kind of holding each each other together And so we don't have those circles. I think you know it's about acknowledging that Yes love is. Labor is not easy. We like to think of this. Just go and warm. But it's the hard moment sue if the cold moments it's the Awkward Silences. It's the ups me off. Not GonNa talk for we. 'cause I need to calm down if you can really see that as your your Revitalizing source I think. You've gotta May and so. My Love is labor. Thank you so much for joining us. This has just been well love Labor. Yeah I'M GONNA put that on posted on my fridge. Thank you so much for lifting up you know black women and I have to go all right. We just finished our interview with Racquel Willis and I mean I have so many note so many just words. Yeah feeling so informed that inspired. And just this is another instance of wishing that you guys could see the interviews because like Raquel Glue all right. I feel like we're doing a disservice by being like. Oh my God. You guys can't see how awesome these people and it's like post. Pick Mu puzzle but this should be a visual. Podcast should be a TV show now. Just a true. Ara An one of the things that she said. I'm just GONNA go. Yeah right into the word of the week is she said. Love is Labor circled Laura. I circled that leg. Will you that when she said that? My mind just was like I shea and exploding yeah. Love is labor and I think they did. It applies to so much not just like our interpersonal relationships but also like what we want like to me one of the most inspiring things about how she's just super living her dreams and her truth to the fullest extent and capacity. And it's just like also recognizing that that is a journey that has not been easy and that's like Labor to I'm in those one of those moments right now where I'm just kind of like leading everything wash over. You know when you have to sit with something for a second because love Labor absolutely haven't circled and then she also said something that hit me hard. She said being black is inherently gender non conforming. I was like okay. All right you want to say a word Raquel okay. It's one of those moments where I was just like man. She's really laying on a lot of revelations that wow okay. They never looked at it so true. It's so true like literally when she said that I thought of Michelle Obama being compared to a horse while she compared to know that was Serena Williams and then compared to grow or whatever and I was just like yeah. There is this inherent aspect to blackness. That makes it. I guess that makes you. I guess abnormal or something in the eyes of Whiteness. I mean yeah a lot of things to sit with but you know love is labor is like one of the things that I think. I'll carry with me for a very long time. Also she. I mean this is another episode. Just like there's so many things. Lovers Labor is definitely my word of the week but she also said myself care is love. Yes and it's like not facemask. It's not this. It's low yeah I mean I'm just I'm I'm truly just so full from episode and then just I can't wait to get home and I always like I write stuff on posted and I will either like put it on my mirror on my fridge so that. Yeah if it's like a message something that I'm looking at as like a mantra. Something to remind me through the day Mike Love is Labor is going on the bathroom mirror absolutely. I definitely feel like this episode has. It's it's been a meditation on love and love of Sal love of cell of of community. You like absolutely in all of its forms love and all of its forms. Because like I really feel like this interview with Raquel. Really embodies that the becoming yourself and people accepting you and loving you in the relationship. She has with her mother in the relationship in their community. And the place that she's from. All of those things are a part of her narrative and a part of her love story. You know so I'm just like I really feel like this is one of those episodes. That's GonNa make meditate on my love story from myself. Oh my life saying you know and I'm just like we hope that you guys listen. Just sit back to just go home and meditate on. What did you you said it. So I'll store your story. You know 'cause I I really feel like Rico's unlucky one right like not all of us get that acceptance in that love of self of community but from family from family but I I do feel like it's worth it to seek it at least in ourselves because that is what we have control over. You know how we see ourselves how we speak to ourselves how we consider ourselves. You know that self-care is love is a really important one and we talk about it on this show a lot because as black women. I feel like we're always number one. You know we internalize the hatred of the outside and we turned into against ourselves. And it's like I feel like especially me in my life. I don't have room for that anymore like truly I don't have the mental energy to hate myself and our anymore. I don't I just don't have the energy so this is it. So let's do a meditation on our love story or loving ourselves on loving the people in our lives on Seeing them fully as themselves so that they can beat themselves. Because what's the point? If you can't be yourself you know. Yeah I have nothing else to say. That was a word. Let's do that and I didn't even give a word of the week. Got Away with it. several words. Thank you guys for listening as usual as always meditate on your love story and we will see you next week by the secret lives of black women. Production of stitcher. Where your host Shiloh liars and lauren domino our producers Taylor asking our senior producer. Is Stephanie Carew? Yu-gi-oh our editor is John Palmer. Special thanks to our chief content officer Chris Bannon and our recording and mixing engineer. Andy Kirsten's make sure to follow us on instagram and twitter at the SOB W later.