what’s weighing on my heart

by Krystal Bick
June 1, 2020

Illustration artwork by Danielle Coke of @ohhappydaniyou can shop her prints here!

Like many of you I’m sure, I’ve spent this past weekend reflecting. A lot.

Last night in particular, as helicopters flew above our apartment for hours after the protests had dispersed in downtown Manhattan, I laid in bed feeling a lot of things. Helpless. Heartbroken. Disgusted. Angry. Sad. Confused. But one thing I didn’t feel? Surprised. I was heavy-heartedly not surprised. George Floyd’s name and horrific murder joins a long list of racial injustices carried out over not just the past several years. But hundreds of years. It just feels more blatant because we have the technology in our pockets to document it. And share it.

As the air whooshed heavy outside, I thought back to a younger version of myself throughout the years, in middle school, in high school, learning about slavery, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, Jim Crow laws and the long, arduous road that lead up to the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. I suppose there was (and still is) a naiveté that existed in my heart since then that much of the heavy work had been lifted all those years ago. While I am part Native American, I realize I pass as white and was raised in a predominantly white community. My privilege was always subconsciously palpable to me but my optimist’s disposition didn’t want to recognize the existence or vastness of it. That is my failure. And that is something I know, deep down, especially now, I need to address, reflect on and actively change. To do better. To do more. To step up. It is simply not enough to be “not racist.” I know I need to roll up my sleeves to do the education, reflection, listening and acting to become more anti-racist.

There is so much work to be done still — George Floyd’s name happens to be the latest addition to a long list of grievances. And the pain won’t end with him, until we channel our individual efforts inwards and in our immediate spheres of influence — our families, our friends, our workplaces and yes, our audiences, no matter how hard or uncomfortable the conversations may be. Systemic racism requires heavy dismantling — and one of our biggest levers to enact change lies in our power to vote (which is why I like to remind you guys all the time to register!). After that, it’s how we influence change in ourselves and those immediately around us that creates ripples; from that momentum, a wave is created. Let’s create that wave together.

Here’s how I am committing to becoming more anti-racist. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and any actions you’re actively taking on to reflect, learn and change. And if there’s anything I can do better, please know I always welcome constructive criticism. I may not have the right words today or tomorrow, but please know, I’m searching for them all the time and taking this time to listen to my black friends who DO have the words, the stories and the experiences to share. I hope you all can do the same.

  1. Actively diversify the content I share here on my platforms: I realize, being in the business of content creation, content is my currency. Content spreads idea. Content can reflect and change minds. And I want to do better in representing all types of POC in my work — from who I partner with for style challenges, who joins me for sponsored and non-sponsored posts alike, whose voices I include in my weekly Friday Favorites round ups, what designers and brands I support and who I share inspiration-wise in my Stories. Where there is curation of voices, I want to make sure I’m doing my absolute best to include more POC, and — here’s the important distinction — not simply because they are POC, but because I find their work inspiring, engaging, thought-provoking and moving.
  2. Push my advertising partners to do better when it comes to representation: I am certainly guilty of not asking who else is joining a campaign only to realize when all posts are published online, how one-dimensional it looks and feels. I promise you, I will do my due diligence of asking my potential brand partners who else they’re working with, and if there aren’t enough POC represented, I will happily recommend someone else to take my place.
  3. Donate 10% of my take-home pay from campaigns for the next two months to Black Lives Matter causes: If you’ve been following my sponsored IG posts and Stories, you know I’ve been donating 10% of my take home pay for campaigns to various COVID-19 relief organizations for the months of April and May. I would now live to pivot and channel 10% to various Black Lives Matter causes for June and July. I will not tie engagement to these posts to dollar spend — so regardless of how a post performs, I will be committed to donating a certain amount each time. Like before, I’ll share information about each organization when donating as well as links so you can join in donating if you are able to do so.
  4. Share and discuss these topics with you and often: And lastly, I think there’s a common misconception in the influencer space that everyone expects us to “stay in a lane.” Over the years, I’ve felt more and more disillusioned with that sentiment and I’ve shared my thoughts on various political and social issues near and dear to my heart. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’ve felt the social pressure or perhaps the discomfort around speaking out consistently. And that is my failure. You’ve undoubtedly now seen the watershed moment happen over the weekend. Influencers and brands who often don’t take a stance on anything as controversial as racial injustice are now speaking out. I’m relieved to see it. But I want to make sure this is not an isolated social feed flooding of quotes and well-intentioned messages.

Of course, I can only speak for myself here, so that is exactly what I will do. I commit to reading at least one anti-racism book a month. I realize we don’t often talk about books here on This Time Tomorrow — I feel a good amount of my friends already do a good job at monthly book discussions. But I do think there’s a significant void in these types of books being discussed in my immediate influencer space and I would be happy to initiate it, if you guys might find it helpful? Please let me know in the comments below. I finished James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time over the weekend and would love to discuss if anyone is up for it? I’m now currently reading Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain.

I would also like to actively watch more documentaries pertaining to the racist roots in this country. Over the weekend, we watched Baldwin’s I Am Not Your Negro at the recommendation of a reader and I cannot recommend it enough. I would be happy to discuss these types of documentaries here on the blog, if you’d be interested?

Again, I’d love to hear your thoughts and the actions you’re taking on becoming more actively anti-racist. My ultimate goal, as always, is make this a space for constructive, healthy conversations and I’d love for you guys to join me.

4 thoughts on “what’s weighing on my heart

  1. I applaud you for your honesty and transparency. As a black woman, I’m not surprised by yet another act of racism and police brutality. If anything, I’m exhausted!!! I’m constantly praying over my husband, a black man, for God’s protection because I don’t know if he’ll be home. We’re living in the land of the free and it doesn’t feel like we are.

    • Hi Yalana — thank you for your comment and for reading. I can only imagine what pain and exhaustion you must be feeling (and have been feeling) for far too long. My heart goes out to you and please know, I am committed to doing more to be a better ally and to be a vocal anti-racist voice. If there’s anything I can do, read, hear, watch or listen to — from you or resources you may have to share — I’d love to hear. Sending love to you and your family.

  2. Krystal – I continue to be so incredibly impressed with you and your content. This may be a long comment, but I think it’s worth it :). I started following you all the way back when you still lived in San Fran and worked for Google!! And through my own life changes, I naturally stopped and started following many bloggers/influencers and I will say there was a point when I stopped following because at that time, I wasn’t “into” the longer, more editorial posts. But then a shift happened again, and I realized that was the content I CRAVED. The more editorial, the deeper posts, the more substance I guess you can say. Sure, I still like following fashion bloggers, but I skim through them quickly. I read ALL of your words. Maybe it’s my age, but I’m craving the more mature posts. The more sophisticated posts. The posts that are more than just fashion and beauty – and when it is fashion and beauty, the higher end fashion and beauty. Your content provides all of that and it has just continued to get better as Covid19 kept us all at home. Ok so now the background is done haha. In response to this particular post, I so appreciate it. Like most people, I spent a lot of this weekend thinking…and looking at social media…and getting angry. Getting angry for a lot of reasons, but one reason I was getting angry is I felt that a lot of people were yelling at me. Not me directly, but with their tone and their words….like when people use all caps. And it left me feeling bad. Not because their words were untrue, but because the yelling just doesn’t appeal to the way I like being spoken to. Maybe they were just projecting…I don’t know and I won’t judge. But it made me want to do the opposite of whatever it is they were saying/typing. Then I read your posts and this post today. And it makes me feel so calm. And it makes me want to jump up and run out RIGHT NOW to do something. Do you know you were the ONLY influencer I follow that talked about voting over the weekend? It was things like that…or calm tones that spoke to me. Not the same videos posted over and over….or the same quotes/memes posted over and over again. It was your content and the content of many like you, including several black women, that spoke calmly and offered suggestions of how to help that were different than what main stream media or the masses were promoting. For me, the biggest thing has been, I love that all these influencers are taking a stand….but how are they going to CONTINUE to take a stand in a month or 3 or 6. And I love that you shared what you are personally going to do…and the few other influencers that have talked about working with the brands they work with about diversity in their campaigns, etc. I feel THAT’s where the most change is going to happen. And THAT’s a cause I can get behind. I work in HR and work on a special team that is working on how to diversify our talent pool and applicants and women/minorities in leadership roles. I work in manufacturing which is historically a white male based industry so I’m proud to work on this team and we’ve seen AMAZING results in the 3 years I’ve been on this team. It’s change like that I’m so passionate about and sooo appreciate you discussing change within brands and campaigns. I think if everyone influencer/company did that, we would see massive change….especially for women. Thank you for your content, tone, initiative and leadership. You are truly making a difference. And sorry for such a long winded comment. 🙂

    • Hi Lauren — thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. There’s never a need to apologize to me for a long-winded story. I’m the queen of long-winded stories! But in all seriousness, thank you for reading all these years. Even if you took breaks, which is completely understandable, it means SO much to me. As far as how you felt this weekend and possibly feel even today, I also understand and at times, I felt very similar. There’s no denying everyone is feeling exhausted, heartbroken, helpless and sad about something we all knew has been a problem for far too long — and while I think there were a lot of amazing well-intentioned messages being shared, again and again, I was hoping to hear more of a collective “this message is just as much for me as it is for you” tone to it. Does that make any sense? We all have work to do — not one of us is perfect, myself included — and we all can certainly do more to become more anti-racist. When I’m sharing resources with my audience, I want it to come from a place of “this is my homework just as much as it is yours.” Let’s all roll up our sleeves and get to work. I’m ready. And it sounds like you are, too. Sending you so much love, my dear.

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