Leeke illustrates what is means to align her businesses with her personal values. As an author and mindfulness coach, it was essential to her mental health to do so. In Leek’s (2013) book, Digital Sisterhood, she shares her journey of meeting other black female entrepreneurs online, her experience promoting her books, and expanding her digital footprint. In the chapter, “Blogging Sets My Writer Spirit Free”, Leeke (2013) shares her book editor’s remedy for her writer’s block while she wrote her book, Love’s Troubadours. Her editor suggested that she begin a blog. What began as a remedy, spiraled into a love affair of Leeke managing several blogs and social media handles. What’s underneath Leeke’s (2013) story is her commitment to balance and be mindful. After growing her online presence, Leeke (2013) quickly found herself burned out from trying to keep up with the demand of social media.
"You can have it all. Just not all at once" - Oprah Winfrey
From growing her community and audience of supporters, Leeke (2013) sought out ways to balance her endless posting, updating, tweeting, and non-stop writing. Although Leeke (2013) was writing about her passions, it consisted of managing several blogs and social media accounts across the internet. Leeke (2013) quickly learned that she would not be able to keep up with the demands of all her blogs. Eventually, she took a break and decided to, “maintain balance in my online life has become a priority” (p. 117, para 5). It is not enough for Black women to share knowledge and resources without the urgency of self-care and balance. It’s necessary for black female bloggers, like Leeke, to incorporate self-care practices into their schedules in between blogging. This is especially important for Black women because of our tendency and often expectation to overwork and burn out.
In her Ted Talk, Shonda Rhimes romanticizes her love for working. Rhimes spoke with so much conviction about her career, she made me question why I don’t love my job as much. But beneath Rhimes passion was a workaholic who was bound to burn out, (she admits to being a proud workaholic who momentarily lost her spark). When Black women make a career out of their passion, the lifelong satisfaction is invaluable. However, Black women are still vulnerable to burn out, whether we love our work or not. There are campaigns, hashtags, and organizations dedicated to improving the mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness of black women.
In Sisters of the Yam, hooks (1994) addresses her own depression while juggling writing, lectures, and her teaching position. It's not uncommon for a successful Black woman to love the work that she does and overwork because of it. In Leeke’s (2013) experience, she basked in the success of her books and blog while swimming in the joy of writing about her passion. At the same time, Leeke (2013) recognized the need to implement what she calls “unplugging” (p. 117, para 5) as a way to balance her online growth and offline wellness. What I admire the most about Leeke is her ability to recognize the overkill of managing several blogs and social media handles while not denying her joy of writing about her interests.
Today, Leeke’s website combines her wellness practice, yoga, books, art, and resources into one cohesive hub. When I observe balance and think about how I feel about balance, Oprah Winfery’s words echo in my head. Oprah says, “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” Balance is fleeting and never lasts more than a few days. However, I seek to find harmony between my inner and external worlds and all the things that follow. It’s important to consider Black women’s specific vulnerabilities in digital spaces in their context. Similarly, this study draws from historical, cultural, and socially relevant pedagogies to speaks for, about, and to Black women. I intentionally use AAVE, black feminist texts, theories, and methodologies rooted in Black women’s interests to best explain the necessity of these paradigms.