How the community builder and creator of Mater Mea takes care of herself.
– KEYS SOULCARE
Writer, editor, and “Black Mom Google” founder Tomi Akitunde on the rituals that keep her growing when she’s not running the mom-centric online community Mater Mea.
What is your favorite part about yourself?
I’m a very empathetic person who is able to intuit the needs of others. I also love that people view me and my platform as a safe space for their stories — it’s really beautiful to experience women saying this is the first place they’ve shared their birth stories or other experiences that are sacred or traumatic for them.
My dream for the future is…
Speaking as an American, this country’s foundation was built on fault lines, and everything we’re seeing right now in the news and on social media feeds reflects that. My hope is that we see this as the reckoning it is and abolish and rebuild this society on more stable ground, with buy-in from all groups instead of leaving everything in the hands of corrupted interests who are more invested in maintaining power for few than liberation for all.
As for my wishes for my own future, it’s living a life free of social or cultural expectations and narratives, one where I’m not performing different roles — wife, mother, entrepreneur — but truly living in them as my full self, without fear of anyone’s judgments, without boxing myself in by my own limitations.
How do you take a moment for yourself?
Therapy and exercise are big ones. But I’m finding my way back to journaling. I used to journal a lot when I was a teenager — all my very angsty thoughts are still in a bunch of speckled composition notebooks back at my parents’ house, waiting to embarass me.
What is your mantra of the moment?
“I am a courageous, worthy, powerful woman.” It’s my personal contract [with] myself. While I’m all three of those things (and more!), I can get stuck in limiting self-talk and doubt that makes me feel like I’m not any of them. Calling on that mantra is a way to remind myself of who I am when I forget.
What music, book, and/or podcast are you vibing to?
I’m a forever fan of The Read — I can’t remember how I first learned about Kid Fury and Crissle’s pop culture podcast, but I’ve been listening since the first episode years ago, and I just love them. Their radical transparency about their mental health journeys has encouraged me to be the same way with my own. They’re a huge part of normalizing therapy and mental healthcare in the Black community.
I just finished reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, and it was phenomenal. It tells the interconnected, multigenerational stories of Black women in and around London, and it’s masterfully done.
Speaking of masterful, Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom is next on my list. More than four years after reading it, I still think about her striking debut Homegoing, the stories of the descendants of two half-sisters, one line that remains on the Continent and the other kidnapped and brought to America.
And as far as music goes, I love anything that you would hear on Insecure. Super West Coast chill, vibe-y, with a little bit of Megan Thee Stallion’s “Ahh” …real hot girl shit. I like to play-act that confidence, even if I’m just sitting at my desk shooting off emails.
Who and what inspires you?
Black women. Period.
What does beauty look like to you?
Being at home with yourself — I think that’s so beautiful.
I recently shaved my head, and when I looked in the mirror right after and in the weeks since, I felt like I was closer to feeling and being whole. Now when I look in the mirror, I don’t see the to-do lists, the past mistakes, or the lessons I view as failures when I’m at my lowest. I just see me. For the first time ever, I’m seeing me and liking what I see.