I was fast approaching complete burn-out. Ill, rundown and tired, I had hours of work ahead of me, and I was holding my sixth glass of wine on a week night, alone in my filthy flat. I decided I needed a self-care ritual.

For a long time, my particular language of self care has involved Fridays of alcohol fiending, smokes and series binges, and Nike impulse buys. Lately I’ve undertaken to evolve this, but I’ve never been one for yoga, meditation and plants.

So I’m creating a ritual that’s true to me and doesn’t leave my body and budget broken. Should I burn incense to my favourite 21 Savage tracks? Write an ode to Princess Nokia? How is this done? Here’s my plan. It’s a ritual that involves Fenty, trap music and solitude.

1. A Princess Nokia Music Video Sequence 

Mine goes like this: GOAT, Tomboy, Brujas and Flava – in that order.

I am the first person to say that conscious rap doesn’t always hit the spot. I think this is ok – even The Read‘s Crissle loves Rake it Up. I’d listen to a hundred filthy Future, 2 Chainz and 21 Savage tracks before I endure one song by Common. I believe I can love Future and be feminist. And, for the most part (barring Kendrick and a couple Paak and Jenkins tracks), I don’t enjoy woke hip hop. Trap goddess Princess Nokia, though, has become indispensable to my self-care.

With artists like Princess Nokia, trap music is not limited to the male, misogynist gaze. It can and has been reclaimed with tracks that subvert what we expect of the genre, and verses and hooks about ‘little titties’ and sacred lineage. Princess Nokia repeating the words ‘Don’t you fuck with my energy’ towards the end of the song Brujas like an incantation can redeem a day, a week, a month of my life. And her videos are magic.

 

2. Sunshine Cheekbones and Starlight Tear-ducts with Fenty 

Rogue, solo, unmarried, pour-up smoking, blood-spattering, savage aesthetic deity Robyn Rihanna Fenty has done the damn thing with Fenty Beauty and 40 foundation shades.

My berk (boyfriend) went to the UK recently and all I care about is that he gets home safely enough to bring me back Fenty Trophy Wife Highlighter (not yet available in SA). No ‘let me tell you about my trip, baby’. No ‘I missed you so much baby’. It can wait. I’ve never owned or used highlighter. But since Rihanna’s expanded her cross-industry empire, this is how I’ve imagined Fenty will make me feel:

Sunshine cheekbones and starlight tear-ducts. My bones will shine and, if I cry, it will be cosmic. The Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter colour Trophy Wife is a 3D hyper-metallic gold – to match my gold chain and pick up on the gold finishing on my favourite pair of Jordans. This is what I’ll be basking in while enjoying my Princess Nokia music video sequence, alone.

3. Self-Imposed Solitude

No task, event notification or human being will be entitled to my time, energy or attention. Bailing on plans can be a legitimate form of self-care too. Let me dance and breathe alone, free from all gazes, when the space looks different and bigger and safer. Let me be grossly myself. Let me be it alone for as long as I need. Let me impose this time on my life like medicine. It’s that important.

Healing and fortification is non-linear – self-care is part of the process of managing mental illness, and that process doesn’t have an end point. It needs to be consistent, deliberate, possibly ritualistic.

Here’s one of Princess Nokia’s latest tracks. Watching it is an act of self-care in itself.