Mental health has been a primary topic for The Ride or Die Project since an early meeting with my mentor Clarissa Chandler (she also inspired the feature article “You Don’t Get to Say How I Love: An Interview with Clarissa Chandler” published last month on the blog). She reminded me that women are rarely encouraged to check in with themselves. Women who live their lives by a ride-or-die philosophy in particular are rarely encouraged to pause, to breathe or to have moments of deep rest and as a result the trauma(s) they may experience are rarely dealt with in ways that are healthy and sustainable. As I began conducting interviews with women in preparation for writing Other Side of the Game, I realized among the many things they shared in common included an absence of space(s) to voice the concerns they had for their own well-being. As they supported lovers, children, friends, siblings and parents their own physical, mental and spiritual health was often put on the back burner.
In December I gathered the incredible dynamic circle of women who now make up our collective of Core Writers for The Ride or Die Project Blog and we brainstormed the various themes we wanted to explore for the next 6 months. Mental health of the ride-or-die was quickly agreed upon as a primary issue that we wanted to address. The meeting was held after the general call-out for submissions was created, and so it was decided that this would be a theme that only the core-writers would focus on and guest contributors were free to create work on anything else. As a result, this month will feature a mix of work as already exemplified in our first two posts of the year: the poignant and revealing feature of Core Writer Paulina O’Kieffe on her own personal struggle through post partum depression and guest contributor Zahra Siddiqui’s photographic journey celebrating the ride-or-die’s in her life and neighborhood of Scarborough.
We are also excited this month to welcome our second guest male contributor to the blog Jalani Morgan. His work as a photographer has been celebrated throughout Toronto for years and his recent journey into the world of academia has only deepened his gaze and perspective in exciting ways that we are amp’d to share.
Important info to keep in mind as we embark on the second month of the blog:
- The deadline for contributions from here on will fall on the 20th of each month. The deadline to submit work to be published in February will be on January 20th at midnight. For details on the submissions process, please click HERE.
- The theme for the month of February will be a remix on Valentines Day as we explore the question: “How does a Ride-or-Die Love Herself?” Through this theme we hope to engage issues such as self-love and ownership in relationships. Guest contributors are invited to create work related to this theme but are also free to write about other areas of interest that they feel compelled to share.
Thank you all for making the first month of The Ride or Die Project Blog so successful. We want to keep growing so please share the stories, poetry, features, interviews and art that moves you across your networks. This is more than promoting yet another blog out of the millions that currently exist on the net. The Ride or Die Project Blog is centering the stories of those often relegated to the supporting cast of the featured narrative…and these stories, these women, should have the massive audience that they deserve.