My Musings Self Care

Dare to Self Care

Beautiful people, I hope all is peachy your side and you’re keeping up with the never ending ‘I’m doing OK but am I really?’, emotional roller coaster this year has already put us through. 

2021 definitely started with a social media flood of self-care regimens, rituals to follow, tips and tricks to stay aligned and methods to develop a strong mindset. Truth is, no one really has the answers, we’re all learning along the way, what might work for one doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you but in the spirit of sharing, I will reveal my own findings.

During these uncertain times, I have found it important to first and foremost remember that what I’m going through is indeed, valid. It might sound simple but boy does it make a difference when you actually say it out loud, go ahead, say it, you’ll know what I mean. You see, I’m definitely guilty of comparing myself with others, especially professionally. As much as I trust and believe in my talents I do have masochist tendencies of convincing myself I’m nowhere close to where ‘I should’ be.

Bottom line, nobody has the special abilities you do, what you’re made up of, however weird it may seem to others or completely normal to some, you’ve guessed it, is only and entirely yours. So I’m making it a priority to embrace my unique inner personal cocktail, this one is especially made of me for me so why would I want a margarita instead?

Over-thinking has been an ongoing struggle since I was a teen. I cannot make a simple decision without thinking about all the pros and cons, the hows and the whys. You don’t want to go shopping with me, I’ll make you blurt out ‘just take the damn freaking pair of socks already, anything to stop this pain’. Constantly being in my head is incredibly tiring (and annoying for some) but I’ve realized the more I fight it the worse it affects me. Beating myself down doesn’t help make it go away so I’m learning to accept it’s just the way I’m wired and believe there’s beauty in that (denial perhaps you say, whatever, I’ll work on that next year). 

Marie Humbert by Amoako Boafo, 2021.

Self care is embracing who you are, flaws and all but it’s also cutting the crap and being honest with what isn’t working, however hard it is to admit. It’s important to understand you can’t care for something if you haven’t identified what is in need of care in the first place (duh). As I’ve said it in the past, I think self care is an ongoing, life long endeavor and journey, not a destination. The importance is in staying the course and actively dealing with whatever state you find yourself in or what comes your way. Easier said than done you might say but acknowledging when or what makes you feel uncomfortable is in itself transformational.

This active transformation has brought a few pivotal changes for me, some were pleasant surprises and some were frankly long overdue. What worked for me was finding a new routine that was (drum roll) achievable. My secret wish has always been to be an overachiever but sadly, I’ve made peace with the fact that the only things I manage to overachieve are eating cheese and drinking wine. My to-do lists were always unrealistic and I constantly felt bad when I ended up not sticking to them, even though I set myself up for failure from the beginning. During the pandemic, time slowed down and I stopped feeling like I was constantly running after something. This helped me stay relatively still with my thoughts and pay close attention when my anxiety kicked in. Habits that were more toxic than I thought (or allowed myself to) were definitely brought to light. 

The first thing I did is filter my contacts, my social media accounts, unfollowed people or businesses that brought about negative thoughts, unrealistic goals and overall shitty moral values. Whoever stayed silent or chose not to address the BLM protests were also unfollowed. I do want to stress that it is not with any anger or resentment that I chose to distance myself from anyone in particular. Our ethics are just not in sync and frankly I’ve gotten to the point where I’m too tired to surround myself with people who just ‘don’t get it’ or worse, are not interested to. Go with peace, I wish you well, hasta la vista from me. 

I then did something I never thought I would, well at least just not yet, I quit drinking! Ok that last sentence was a little misleading. People who know me, know my love affair with wine is deep, my longest, most loyal relationship yet, the only ‘marriage’ I truly believe in. Although I’ve never had serious problems with alcohol (insert your own definition of ‘serious’), the first weeks of 2020 lock downs had me drinking wine everyday, yes, every single day. It doesn’t matter whether it was just a glass, the real problem was doing this daily and a frequent habit suddenly turning into the early onsets of an addiction.

Presently, I only drink during the weekends (sometimes allowing myself a cheeky one) and funny enough I drink much less now as I get quite tipsy pretty fast (who would’ve thought). The results are quite pleasant, I have more control over my emotions, I feel less depressed and irritable. I’ve stopped crying over every little negative thing (like forgetting to buy wine), I’ve managed to put on my big girl shoes and handle it. The cherry on top of the cake is it provides me with something to look forward to at the end of the week, which frankly is comforting in a time when your days are in exact repetition.

I have prioritized skin and hair care. The money spent on going out to one too many unnecessary parties or treating myself to a fabulous dress (OK that still feels absolutely amazing) have been replaced with researching and investing in yummy, all-natural, clean products for my skin and hair. Some are a little expensive, no doubt, especially if you go organic but if you have a little extra cash to spend, nothing beats putting it towards your actual well being. It may sound corny but when you can actually see and feel the results, an awakening begins.

For us freelancers, it’s been hard to make any money at all this past year but I decided if anything, I would invest in self care. Healthy skin care products push you into ‘well being rituals’, even if it’s making yourself beautiful for the party you’re going to have by yourself, in your own bed. Before I knew it, I indulged in as many ‘me times’ I could, a bath, a mask or treating my hair, yes, I’ve grown (tear). I also decided to go completely natural with my hair, something I’ve wanted to do for a while but again, never made the time to. I used to perm my hair twice a year so I won’t have to fuss about it but now that I spend actual time with my hair, deep conditioning, oiling, braiding, wrapping, a new kind of appreciation has grown and I find myself falling more in love with the real me.

If you are a sensitive over-thinker like myself, you recognize the power of books. Reading is incomparable, mind blowing, enriching and deeply satisfying. It is the only way for me to stop thinking and allow myself to be transported. I made the decision to read a minimum of two books per month which is a very realistic target and has proven to be extremely effective. Since I’ve made a rule not to use my phone for at least an hour after waking up (it works wonders), I’ve allocated that time for my reading instead. I’ve read nine books since January, setting the bar to an achievable amount made me surpass it, you might be reading this thinking it’s a tad lame but little Marie loves it (do you bubu).

So there you go pretty ones, no magic secrets or tricks, just plain old traditional pats on the back to remind yourself you’re awesome. Setting the alarm for 8.30am because you know 6am to meditate is just not going to happen. Blocking out all that toxic social media energy (especially in the mornings) because ain’t nobody got time for that. Scheduling the ‘All by Myself’ wine o’clock cries for the weekends because sleeping without any guilt creeping in tastes as good as Gorgonzola. Taking five whole minutes to apply that little jewel of a cream on your face because if you can’t feel yourself, who will? And last but not least, beating that fear and deciding your feelings are valid enough to write an entire post about them (without comparing your writing to Toni Morrison’s, that’s just unnecessary and bat shit crazy, get a grip of yourself woman).

I bid you farewell darlings and remember to just unapologetically do YOU.

Love and light, 


My Musings

Unsilenced & Unafraid

First and foremost, happy women’s history month now and always. 

This one is especially accentuated, the pandemic has harmed all of us beyond belief and unfortunately continues to do so. ‘Fears increased about the effect of the pandemic on women’s and girl’s sexual and reproductive health and their access to care as health services were disrupted and a surge in gender based violence was recorded.’ (World Report) I cannot imagine what it would be like to be stuck with your abuser or not being able to get the help you need during this time, only adding to a crisis situation.

Within the first six months of government lockdowns globally following the outbreak of the pandemic, an estimated thirty-one million additional gender-based violence cases were recorded (UNFPA, 2020). This compounds already alarming rates of at least one in three women (35%) worldwide who experience some form of violence during their lifetime. In Ghana, where my mother is from and where I lived pre-Covid, nearly 30% of every woman has experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, according to a 2016 report by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. Today, one in every three women in Ghana is a victim of domestic violence, including physical, economical, emotional and sexual violence.

As some of you may already know, I have joined Oxfam Ghana as an ambassador for the ‘Enough!’ project, funded by the European Union. The project’s main purpose is to create an enabling environment for girls and women to know, claim and exercise their rights to end Sexual and Gender Based Violence. The Enough! project’s two key objectives are to:

1. Strengthen institutional, technical and financial capacities of Civil Society Organisations (including women’s associations/groups) through a sub-granting mechanism (Financial Support to Third Parties).

2. Challenge and change discriminatory social norms, attitudes and practices leading to the prevention of SGBV.

These objectives will contribute to concrete changes for vulnerable community members, strengthen and promote the active participation of women and girls in policy reforms and decision-making processes and enable men and boys to challenge negative masculinity. (Oxfam Ghana)

‘Addressing the Gendered Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Sexual and Gender Based Violence’ was last year’s Oxfam Ghana’s 16 days of Activism objective. 16 days of Activism is an annual international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls, which starts on November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on the 10th of December, Human Rights Day.

Enough! Project Statement
Enough! Project Ambassador Statement

Last Monday, March 8th, was International Women’s Day. As an #euenoughgbv advocate with Oxfam Ghana, I chose to challenge victim blaming, shaming and gaslighting in response to sexual and gender based violence.

I #choosetochallenge statement
I #choosetochallenge Statement

As a survivor of abuse, watching the singer/songwriter FKA Twigs’s recent interview with Gayle King for CBS This Morning, left me speechless. She was also telling my story, so vividly, so accurately. She seemed to act in the same manner I do when confronted with ‘having to talk about it.’ However uncomfortable, scary and deeply painful it can be, I cannot stress enough how incredibly powerful and important it is to share these stories. I felt less alone, I felt heard, I felt empowered by her strength and absolute courage. When asked “Why didn’t you leave?” She took a stance and refused to answer the question by saying “The question should really be to the abuser, why are you holding someone hostage with abuse? People would say, it couldn’t have been that bad otherwise you would’ve left. No, it’s because it was that bad, I couldn’t leave.” This was an indescribable moment for me, another woman was saying exactly what I had been trying to for so many years.

Last week was challenging to say the least, Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah highlighting the reality women, particularly of color, are expected to accept and comply with. I applaud Meghan for no longer allowing others to silence her. For so many reasons and on so many levels, Oprah’s interview shook me. Although, what continues to disgust me is watching the English press endlessly try to tear this woman apart while ironically pointing the finger at her for being a bully. What they don’t get is that Meghan has already won this battle, by speaking her truth, she has shined a light on what is evident but still denied by some, systemic racism. I cannot urge you more to use your voice. You can never make people like or respect you but you can always speak and live your truth.

“I am tired of having to be ‘careful’ every single day of my life as a woman.”

My horror, anger and sadness hearing about Sarah Everard’s murder, brought flashbacks of the countless times I have been harassed, followed, cat called, touched, stared at on the street, on public transport, on set, in meetings, at parties, the list goes on. I vividly remember one cold winter day in Geneva, it was pitch dark at 5pm. I was absolutely sure I was going to get attacked and raped, a man had been following me for the past five minutes, stopping when I would stop, staring and smiling, whistling and calling me names, telling me he was going to ‘have me’. I tried to act unafraid but there was a storm inside of me. I was waiting for my friend, I didn’t want to leave the main road as the adjacent streets were darker and less crowded. I also needed my friend to see me, this was the Nokia cell phone era and mine was out of battery. I couldn’t get away from this man so I stayed as close to people passing by as possible, nobody offered any help even though I clearly looked distressed. He realized I was going to be all alone so he was now making his way from across the street, walking in my direction until miraculously my friend arrived. 

Or the other time on Parisian public transport when a man accosted me upon entering the train, he was with a group of about five male friends, I was sitting at the entrance of the train with one of my best friends, Morgane. He proceeded to ‘chat me up’ but was getting more aggressive as we sat there completely ignoring him. I was in utter fear and panic, she was too but we forced ourselves as hard as we could to stay ‘quiet’ and ‘calm’, there were only two or three other people in that compartment, none of them acknowledging or bothered by what was going on. His male friends were leading him on. In that moment your body is in shock, you seem to lose all basic ability, telling him off could also make it worse. He continued to verbally harass me until he got annoyed I wasn’t responding so he grabbed my face. I pushed his hand off immediately, with force, looked at him dead in the eyes and told him not to touch me. He was angry now. Morgane and I grabbed each other’s hands as the train approached the next stop, we knew just when to jump off the metro before the automatic doors would shut. Without saying a word to each other, we ran a little after the ‘doors closing’ sound came on and jumped off, praying the doors would shut just as we got onto the platform, leaving him and his group stuck inside the train. Miraculously, we made it. He started banging on the doors, shouting he will catch us at the next stop and did a ‘I’ll kill you’ sign with his thumb across his neck. We ran outside the station and grabbed the first cab we could, shaking in total panic once we got into one. You see, we had the extra cash that day to take a cab but what if we didn’t? What would or could have happened if we had no choice but to stay on that train? And worse, what would have happened if I had been all alone?

Marie Humbert

‘The World Health Organization this week published a report saying one in three women globally, around 736 million, had been subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said violence against women was “endemic in every country and culture”, and had been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike Covid-19, violence against women cannot be stopped with a vaccine.’ (BBC News)

I am tired of having to be ‘careful’ every single day of my life as a woman. How absurd is it that society has gotten so used to hearing about violence against women and worse, shifting the problem and responsibility onto women when we are the ones consistently being harmed, harrassed, attacked, violated and abused. I recently read a quote from Dr. Jackson Katz that says it all, “We talk about how many women were raped last year, not how many men raped women. We talk about how many girls in a school district were harrassed last year, not how many boys harassed girls. We talk about how many teenaged girls got pregnant in the state of Vermont last year, rather than how many men and teenaged boys got girls pregnant. So you can see how the use of this passive voice has a political effect. It shifts the focus off men and boys and onto girls and women. Even the term violence against women is problematic. It’s a passive construction. There’s no active agent in the sentence. It’s a bad thing that happens to women. It’s a bad thing that happens to women but when you look at that term violence against women, nobody is doing it to them. It just happens. Men aren’t even a part of it!”

This month, in parralel with The Identity Talks, I will be having a series of discussions about surviving and reclaiming power over gender based violence with two extraordinary women, survivors and activists in their own right, Mallence Bart-Williams and Dr. Khumo Moetse. It is my aim to keep the conversation going on all fronts, which I find crucial and necessary for change to happen. Please follow/like/share/donate to important organisations, associations, support systems and groups on social media. Some of the ones I follow are @letstalkconsent @pearlsafehaven @oxfaminghana @unfpa_ghana @womenforwomenuk @ndvhofficial @sistahspace_ @seeherofficial @everydayracism_ @feminist @unwomen @i_weigh @metoomvmt 

I am entirely devoted to being a part of the movement and simply demand for the change women universally deserve. Enough.

Love and light,