I’m coming up on week three of my challenge and music has been helpful. (I got the idea to create a self-care playlist from a fellow blogger)
I think I’m subconsciously leaning on extra ways to take care of myself because November is such a tricky month for me.
Plus, Thanksgiving always comes with a dilemma.
Either I’m doing my best to maneuver and remove myself from harmful and toxic situations with family (and feeling bad about it). Or, I’m reflecting on how much I miss my grandmother.
This year, Thanksgiving fell on the day I found out she died. And yet, surprisingly we all made it through. At least, publicly.
In private I prayed, spoke to my mom, Mikey, and my best friend about how I was feeling, and listened to a playlist I put together.
This list compiles a few songs I found via google searches, while others are ones I’ve always had in my play queue.
Currently, I have 64 songs in rotation. However, for time I’ll share the top 20 I rarely go a day without listening to (in no particular order).
1. Red Lights, Chloe x Halle – Sugar Symphony
I really like this song from their Sugar Symphony-EP.
Not only are Chloe and Halle superior singers, but this song is the perfect one for an introvert. To sum it up, Red Lights is about being ready to get home for some good ol’ fashion me time. It’s calming but also something you can bump to.
2. Happy Face, Destiny’s Child- Survivor
“Woke up and realized this was not so bad after all.”
Happy Face fills me with nostalgia. It makes me think about listening to all of the Destiny’s Child albums in the car with my mama and sister, and how simple everything used to be before I had bills and adulting to do.
The song still moves me like it did back in 2001. It’s a great chill-out song and a classic I believe will never get old.
3. Secrets, Mary Lambert- Secrets
This song turns me into such a girl.
I may or may not have belted this song out at the top of my lungs, while neck deep in the tub, enjoying my Shea Shea Bakery bath bomb and bath salts a few days ago, like: “I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are!”
This song makes me so happy. Secrets is quirky and funny and before you know it, you’ll be singing along to it too. I also love that it pretty much sums up my whole blog and life, haha.
4. I’ll Call You Back, Erykah Badu- But You Cain’t Use My Phone
If you don’t have an Erykah Badu song on your chill-out playlist, what the (#&*@ are you doing? She is the queen of let shit go, bag lady.
Need I say more? But really, I love this song. It helps me relinquish my guilt when I screen calls or just ignore them all together. I’ll Call You Back is a call to action to do what you gotta do/want to do first, before you go spreading yourself thin.
5. Queen, Jessie J- Queen
I came across this song after an Instagram notification from my wife-from-another-life Nerissa Irving.
She just had her second baby and posted this song in a spirit of body-positivity. It’s perfect. Her lyrics hit close to home for a whole bunch of reasons and so now it’s a song I play almost every day as a reminder that my body, skin, and spirit is the shit and I gotta show myself so much more grace.
6. Junie, Solange Knowles, A Seat At the Table
I will always love my best friend Carmen for calling me in the middle of the night on September 30, 2016, telling me to listen to Solange’s album, “Now.”
Junie made me cry for reasons I still can’t explain. It makes me dance and reminds me how awesome it is to be Black as hell.
There’s no playlist without it.
7. Womanifesto, Jill Scott, The Light of the Sun
“Clearly I am not a fat ass. I am active brain.”
When I heard this song for the first time back in college, I squealed. I was in a space where I wanted to be seen as my whole self–the self I was working so hard to accept, and it just wasn’t clicking with people.
I was either Black or too Black or only acknowledged by my ass. Ironically, I had gotten down to 145 just to find that no matter how much I exercised my ass wasn’t going anywhere.
Tied in there were obviously some body-positivity issues, but Womanifesto gave me an anthem as I walked back and forth from class to home. So, of course it made this playlist.
8. Try, Colbie Caillat- Gypsy Heart
I heard this song for the first time via Erykah Badu’s page when she and her daughters song it accapella. I brushed it off then, but I found myself back to it when I realized I needed a self-care playlist.
Try is a great song and it’s a reminder for me to stay authentic and honest with myself. Bump everyone else.
9. Just Fine, Mary J. Blige, Growing Pains
I got Alicia Key’s As I Am and Mary J. Blige’s Growing Pains at the same time and I played them both out.
I was in my teenage feelings trying to get over the embarrassment of being cheated on by this dude (before Mikey) and Just Fine gave me so much joy.
My mom and family knew they couldn’t skip it when it came on the radio and while I got teased for my obsessive love for the song, they let me jam out anyway. Because, family.
10. Home, Phillip Phillips, Home
I have a confession to make.
I’m a sucker for songs by white artists that seems like they’re made to play during an uplifting montage in a movie.
Home gives me those vibes and I love it so much. My favorite line is, “Don’t pay no mind to the demons, they fill you with fear.”
The lyrics are powerful and true and I just like the song in general. It chills me out.
11. Before I Die, Kirk Franklin – The Essential Kirk Franklin
A former co-worker of mine suggested I create a gospel playlist after I reached out for help.
At the time I was working in a school where I was forced to interact with the devil himself (I’m sure). This woman was insane and I honestly believe she had an undiagnosed mental illness (I’m not being funny). She thrived off of chaos and I had never seen anything like it.
Everybody who had to work with her was at their wits end and rather than use my “get-out-of-jail” free card my mom always told me I’d have one of. I created the playlist. Before I Die, helped me keep my shit together.
12. In My Mind, Amanda Palmer – Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under
“In my mind, in the future five years from now, I’m 120 pounds and I never get hungover. Because I will be the picture of discipline.”
Why does she read me so well? Immediately, I thought back to being in Ghana and working out in my bedroom even though the weather was set on hell and I was drenched in sweat whenever I thought about anything.
A friend of mine asked me why I worked out so much and I told her that I didn’t want anyone to talk about me when I got back to the states. I didn’t want to appear as if I wasn’t disciplined enough to stay fit. In reply, she told me that was the craziest shit she’d ever heard and it was.
I like In My Mind and it’s on the playlist for self-care, body-positivity, and chill-out reasons. It’s a reminder to let go of unfair and crazy expectations. The song also calls for the listener to be present and accept and like who they are right now.
13. Fall, Chloe x Halle – Sugar Symphony-EP
Clearly, I enjoyed their Sugar Symphony. But, really, this song is awesome and their stellar voices makes it that much better.
Fall is about not treating bad things like the end of the world. It makes me think of this Italian Proverb that I love that goes, “Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves.”
14. Technicolor Beat, Oh Wonder- Oh Wonder
I heard this song for the first time a few weeks ago while doing yoga. I use the Down Dog app and Technicolor Beat, was one of the songs that played during a “restorative” segment I chose.
It’s calming and I love how the duo’s voices sound together.
15. Electric Lady, Janelle Monae, The Electric Lady
Because Janelle Monae and Solange.
It’s a heaven combination.
Electric Lady makes me dance and makes me think of all the wonderful women I know that has helped me throughout my life.
I’ve been blessed with the world’s most supportive village and this song gives me something to dance to as I reflect on this fact.
16. Gone, Gone, Gone, Phillip Phillips – The World From the Side of the Moon
Don’t tell me if he’s racist. I couldn’t take it *cries*
I’m such a sap, I can’t can’t help but love this song. It’s a love song that found its way on my playlist because it fills me with good vibes.
17. Weary, Solange Knowles, A Seat at the Table
After 45 won the presidential election with Russia and white supremacy’s help, I blasted Weary off-and-on all day.
In a nutshell: I belong, I belong, I belong!
18. Fix You, Coldplay- X + Y
I’ve always wanted to get into Coldplay but could never commit. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough, haha. However, I love Fix You. The lyrics, breakdown, and just overall feel of this song is why it’s on my playlist.
19. Soar, Christina Aguilera, Stripped
The Stripped era is the era. I remember when my mom bought this album and I remember all of us listening to it over and over again. I was bent on learning the lyrics and so I read the CD’s album art, cover to cover, until I knew every song.
It’s one of my favorite albums in general and Soar is too empowering to leave off of a self-care playlist.
20. Worries, Chloe x Halle, The Two of Us
Yes, they’re here a third time. Because why not?
This song is similar to Fall to me, but with a much more upbeat tempo. It’s short, sweet, and a quick call not to worry. If you just parked and have about two minutes to spare, this is a great song to bounce to if you need encouragement to brush it all off.
How about you, Wordies?
Do you have a self-care or chillout playlist? If so what’s on yours? I’m always happy to add more songs to my list, and don’t forget to let me know if you enjoyed this one.