I am sure March 2020 will be in our grandchildren’s history books because what an interesting month it has been. It’s Wednesday, the last one of the month, and with only six more days left this also means that “Women Workin’ Wonders”, our interview series specifically celebrating women from all backgrounds doing dope things, will end today until next year! If you’re familiar with my work on 1.11ven, you know that I have written about Saddie Baddies in the past. This was shortly after the community that virtually gives us all a hug when we need it most was started by mental health activist and public health professional Priscilla Agyeman. Every week Priscilla discusses a new topic that is related to mental health. I promise she’ll have you self-reflecting and eager to learn more. I’m so happy to have had the chance to talk with Priscilla about the recent one year anniversary of Saddie Baddies, ways she implements mental health care into her daily routine, and her favorite topics she’s educated us on so far!
Saddie Baddies was started in March of 2019 and is a virtual safe space for young women of color to destigmatize mental health, rehabilitate our communities, and share a plethora of useful information, tools, and resources; it has done just that and much more. One of the many reasons why Priscilla started Saddie Baddies is because she wants mental health to become a household topic. Way too often, especially the generation before us has shunned the idea and talk of mental health. Within the last decade or so, conversations have been more frequent and more than ever black/brown people are seeking therapy and other helpful tools without feeling judged. This amazing community has helped people put a name to things they may be going through that they never knew had a name like financial anxiety, for example.
Every week I get excited to see what Saddie Baddies will be focusing on next. Priscilla breaks topics down into bite-size pieces, so the community can read about it but still be interested enough so that we do our own research. Just like when you’re in school, you’re constantly having to read books for class but once you graduate, the learning shouldn’t stop. Priscilla wants us to learn from the Saddie Baddies Instagram but then continue that experience by digging deeper into the topic. Studies, articles, books, and videos can be found on pretty much all of the topics Saddie Baddies covers. The Lifecycle of Violence (Intimate Partner Violence) and Global Mental Health were topics she learned in courses while receiving her Masters in Public Health. Health literacy, truly understanding the language and dialogue of mental health, was another course that has helped Priscilla break down the info.
With the recent one year anniversary of Saddie Baddies, Priscilla lets us know there has been a ton of growth, from the content to the images. In the beginning, she was going through textbook mental health disorders but quickly realized this would eventually become boring. Priscilla pushes herself to learn more about topics outside of the common ones and puts in a ton of research before giving us the facts! As she says, “Fact check me, boo!” Expanding how she talks about the definition of mental health is so important because literally everything is tied to it and everything is affected by it. Saddie Baddies is much less rigid in the format now. Who cares about the layout on Instagram? If it’s on Priscilla’s heart, mind, and spirit, it’s getting posted! She also enjoys finding photos, especially vintage Essence magazine covers, that create a message that’s non-verbal but still gets the point across and captures our eye.
Saddie Baddies has presented us with forty-seven topics thus far! We both narrowed down our favorites, which was so hard to do but Priscilla’s were High Functioning Anxiety, Men’s Mental Health Awareness, and Dealing with Grief. High Functioning Anxiety was Saddie Baddies’ most popular/most shared topic. It was also very personal to Priscilla because she deals with this regularly and she didn’t even realize so many others did too! There are so many Black/Brown men in the world hurting and due to hyper-masculinity, they often supress it all and never truly talk about how they feel or what they have been through. This post brought a lot of men to the page and also had women sharing it with their brothers, boyfriends, and guy friends.
Last but not least, dealing with grief was written shortly after the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, and the seven other people on the helicopter. This isn’t the first time Priscilla has had a hard time writing about a topic but this was very triggering for. She has to make sure she’s in the right headspace beforehand. Priscilla understands that healing isn’t linear and takes time. She looks up to her mother, who openly allows herself cry, let go, and heal. Her mom will often cook for people for an entire week if someone is sick or dealing with grief; that type of compassion is what we need more of in this world.
When certain topics arise, I wonder if Priscilla is in my head because she really just gets it and is always spot on! Love Languages, Ghosting, Codependency, Body Positivity, and Financial Anxiety are my favorites, hands down. I’ve known for some time that my love language is quality time but Saddie Baddies helped solidify that. In my younger days, I definitely had no shame in ghosting people but now, as an adult, I find it to be extremely corny. I’m going to say how I feel and then make a decision as to how to remove myself from the situation; at least I spoke my truth! Priscilla mentioned it can be a cowardly action but depending on people’s upbringing, it may be natural for them to use this mechanism.
Codependency was the one that really made me look inward like, “wow sis, maybe that was you in your last relationship.” Priscilla wants me, herself, and others to notice if we’re triggered when reading a topic we connect to because it then gives an idea of what we may need to do differently in the future. I believe it’s important to love the person you see when you look in the mirror and it can be a tough journey but Saddie Baddies Body Positivity post hopefully reminded everyone how poppin’ they are, no matter their size, build, skin type, or hair length. Last but not least Financial Anxiety, was one Priscilla and I both agreed are us. No matter if all of our bills are paid and we have a budget in place, we still feel very anxious about what the money will look like next week. It’s definitely been hard to deal with but I definitely felt a brick left off my chest when this topic was discussed, realizing more people are going through this than myself alone.
Journaling, being mindful of what she’s watching, and slowing down, being more selfish with her time, are just a few ways Priscilla takes care of her mental health. During different times of her life, she needs different things. As she’s gotten older, her self-care has become more intense, in a good way, because it has become more intentional. At one point, Priscilla was going to therapy but wasn’t doing the “work” like reflecting after her sessions, etc. but once she actually did the work necessary to better her experience, it was evident that therapy was super impactful. She also learned to not overshare; everybody doesn’t need to know everything. Priscilla is also plant-based, so she’s not only being mindful of what she consumes visually and mentally but also physically.
Some may say graduating college or landing their dream job is their biggest accomplishment but Saddie Baddies is the proudest thing Priscilla has ever done! She helps make black/brown women feel validated, connects women, and shares resources. Finding your calling in life is an incredible feeling and Priscilla is doing that day after day. Creating Saddie Baddies has forced her to be more in tune with her spirit. She’s vibrating higher and is ultimately a community gatherer, using her skills, knowledge, and education for a purpose much bigger than herself.There’s no way she could possibly put herself in a box when she has so much to offer the world. I am a Saddie Baddies Stan and so proud of the beautiful community Priscilla has built for women like myself. This is just the beginning and I’m excited to see what more there is in store!
Make sure you stay connected with Saddie Baddies by following along on their site, Instagram, and Twitter.