Carefree Black Girl: An Afrikan Edition with Jade Umwali Nsenga
As we are preparing to walk and participate in the man-made day of love (Valentine’s Day), I thought what better way to walk into this day full of love than to share the story of one of the people I know that readily pours love into Black sisters. Jade Umwali Nsenga’s love is not only full, but it is free and it frees. The love is full of lessons and support. There is something powerful about a Black Girl who loves unapologetically. I had the privilege of talking with Jade on her journeys.
Thank you for doing this interview with me. I may know a little about you but for folks who are about to engage with you and your experiences, can you tell them about who you are?
I am “soul not ego”. I am an artist and a lover of the arts. Forever shooting my shot at wonderful friendships and practicing self accountability. I am constantly learning and unlearning. Finding the lessons I need for this part of my journey. I am a lover and a hugger. I am soft, carefree, vulnerable and grateful.
I am currently on a journey of unpacking my past lives and putting them to rest. I am passionate and emotional. I tend to “preach” when asked questions regarding self love, relationships, family and anything regarding self. I ask a lot of questions and not the “normal” questions. If anything, what I ask requires one to dig deeper into them-self.
I do not like being comfortable and do not encourage it for anyone because it stunts growth.
I cultivate safe spaces for the people in my life and anyone else around me.
I write a blog on my life experiences. Sharing what I have learnt because these conversations need to had!
Also, I am aligning me with me.
That is incredible. We are trying to unpack what being carefree means. What are your thoughts?
Carefree means living my truth without seeking the validation or approval of others i.e. family, friends, society and/or lovers. Carefree means being happy in my being, soul and space. Being carefree is the most liberating feeling on this earth. Within this realm! It is the most important feeling.
Why do you say it is important?
It’s important because it lets you breathe. Do you know what truly breathing is? Not gasping for air or panting because you can’t seem to catch your breath. Being carefree is important because you breathe happy. You breathe you. Being carefree is important because it gives you space for self discovery. It gives you so much freedom. If one is not carefree… it feels like they are trapped to me.
Being carefree is important because you are not confined by labels or society. It allows you to become your best you – without the burden of expectations.
Being carefree is important because it has allowed me to dream and know my dreams will become reality.
Being carefree is important because it holds you with love. It teaches you to love yourself first more than anything else.
In what ways do you practice being carefree?
I practice being carefree in the way I breathe. If my breath is not happy in a place, I leave. Walking away from things that do not serve me and walking towards the things that bring me peace.
I practice being carefree in the way I talk. Let it be an uncle, mother, Aunt, Grandma, friend or lover. I speak my truth no matter the circumstance.
I practice being carefree in the way that I dress.
I practice being carefree by practicing self care. If I am not okay, I won’t treat myself well. Taking a day or two out of the week to carter to mind, body and soul.
I practice being care free through art. Writing and photography have helped me in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined.
I practice being carefree in the way that I live.
And how did you get here, practicing being carefree?
It started 2 years ago, when I started acknowledging how I felt about where I was in my life. Not where I was career wise but the kind of person I was becoming. Had a couple of moments before that when I would notice I wasn’t taking care of myself or I was doing everything for others, and not much for myself. It is not till you realize that you are studying and living a life that has nothing to do with where you want be. I had decided to carry the weight of my life on my shoulders because I was “strong”.
Being carefree didn’t come instantly, it came in little waves. Being carefree started with letting my thoughts be heard. Slowly but surely, I started questioning myself and the people in my life. Started holding my self accountable for the way I treated my self and the people in my life. Being carefree started with me then my household. It continued to the way I expressed myself through poetry, photography and finally, starting my blog.
Being carefree has led me to discover so many things about myself. Being carefree has made me become my own best friend and I am so thankful for that.
What would you tell younger you (13yr old you or 16yr old you)?
16 year old me was a struggling girl! Going through the most drastic changes in her life and she felt like she had to be strong. I would tell 16-year-old me that she doesn’t have to be so strong. She is allowed to feel her emotions wholly and she doesn’t have to listen to all the noise around. I would advise her to sit down, slow down and filter it all out. I would ask her to start journaling. Writing down how she is feeling, what’s going on around, what she’s being told and how she feels about it, why and where she’s running and ask herself what she needs. I would tell her there is strength in vulnerability. I would ask her to become her first friend and lover.
I would tell her to close her eyes and picture where a place she feels happy. Tell her to manifest her life and speak up for herself. I would tell her it is okay to not know. I would tell her to take care of herself first. Practicing self love and care.
I see that you are very much interested in the process of unlearning toxicity, being soft and spiritual mental wellbeing- could you tell us whether or not this is connected to your Black girl magicness and how?
“Unlearning toxicity, being soft and spiritual mental wellbeing” are all connected to my black girl magic in more ways than I can imagine. Unlearning the lessons I’ve learnt around me pushes me to learn healthier lessons. They aren’t easy to unlearn because it is a tug of war between the old me and the new me. Learning that I have to be kinder to myself through the bad times helps me on days the old me wins. Learning that pride and ego will get me nowhere requires me to apologize and forgive myself as well as others. Unlearning that vulnerability is a weakness and learning that it is my strongest trait. It goes hand in hand with being soft. Vulnerability allows me to feel my emotions wholly. To wear my heart on my sleeve. It encourages me to think before I speak. Asking myself if I would say the same to myself before I say it to others. It encourages me to be my own best friend. Unlearning toxicity makes me put my self and my safety first. It requires me to see what environments nourish and what environments deprive me of my well-being.
Spiritual well-being has been hard because I question the system (religions) and the teachings they have. I am spiritual. Spiritual well being has taught respect. Respect for other beliefs as they respect mine. It has led me to unlearn the systematic believe that one belief is above another because that comes from the ego. Anything served by ego or pride is not a table I will sit at. Spiritual well being has taught me that everything can align. Emotional, spiritual, physical and mental well being. They can all align.
Knowing and living in my black girl magic has taught me lessons I am very grateful for.
Featured video for today’s session of Carefree Black Girl : Niya Norwood & Nikko Lelasi – Black Girl Magic