women-in-bloom: a peek into the life of the illuminator behind Bright-Eyed Joy

Thanks to the amazing Black Girl In Om platform, I was introduced to Ayorinde and her brand Bright-Eyed Joy through a piece she wrote for their online publication. I immediately felt connected to her through her transparency about how she learned to lean into her light, something that I too put into practice after experiencing some of my own darker times.

Ayorinde is undoubtedly a woman in bloom, and there is a sparkle within her that has the power to uplift one's energy, even virtually, so the nomenclature for her brand makes perfect sense. I'm thrilled to have her for this segment and to learn more about her ability to "help others find love and empowerment within themselves."

In order to brand a platform as vibrant as Bright-Eyed Joy, you have to have regular access to your light. So let’s dive in to how you found your light. When, where, and in what ways did you discover your own personal illumination?

During my third year of college, I went through a period after a really hard breakup where I realized how much I poured into the boys I was in love with instead of pouring energy and love into myself. When relationships ended, I would be in pieces, and I wasn’t okay with how much I used relationships as a crutch for self-validation.

The first thing I started with was a bullet journal. It was just for me, and I was obsessed with all the ways I could customize it. I put my life in that journal: affirmations, angry scribbles, school schedules, and quite a few tear stains. It provided a space for me to understand that my thoughts and feelings mattered, and small actions like bullet journaling every day helped me to learn how to find value in myself.

From there I started doing things to cultivate the stronger relationship with self that I was missing out on. I learned how to manifest positive experiences, express gratitude, and find love within. In wanting to share my experiences so that more of us could have access to content that promoted wellness among women of color, I started Bright-Eyed Joy. It’s funny because now, whenever I feel like my light is feeling dim, I always can open up my Twitter or IG feed cultivated through BEJ and find a community that illuminates my mood like no other.

How does your lived experience as a woman of color contribute to the ways that wellness and positivity play into your everyday life?

Because I’m a woman of color, I experience an unjustified amount of stress and anxiety due to my identity. I work and go to college in predominantly white settings, and it can be really draining sometimes. Before I started a self-care routine, it was easier for me to fall into periods of depression and anxiety. Honestly, I had pretty much perpetually been in one or the other state since before I started high school. In the past year and half, I’ve discovered what it looks like to do and practice things that fill me up with joy. Journaling, reading, yoga, taking walks, free time away from everyone. Those things are what keep me going in a world that can be crippling at times.

Why do you believe that it’s important for women of color to prioritize wellness and self-care in a vibrant way?

So many times the world around us has purposely tried to dim our lights and make us feel less than worthy of being happy. Though we’re incredibly strong and resilient, there’s a reason behind how we got to be this way. It’s important for us to prioritize wellness because “strong” can quickly be turned into “numb”. We must regularly stay in touch with ourselves, and channel that inner light in order to live life to its fullest, in the most powerful way possible.

What is the core takeaway that you wish to leave people that visit Bright-Eyed Joy with? What are your intentions for the brand?

I want them to visit the blog and leave knowing that they too can be a joyful, vibrant, and carefree woman of color. We have a light within us that shines like no other, and I want to bring that out of people who read my content. Bright-Eyed Joy is a blog that provides resources to those who are willing to look within and start their journey to a better version of themselves. I’m an open book, and I’m here to provide a balance of content that dives deep and makes people think, but other pieces that can be a fun read as well.

What can we look to expect from you and Bright-Eyed Joy in the future, and in what ways can we get involved in your wellness community?

More things on body positivity. Self-care is also about body love. For example, there’s a diet mentality trend going on that basically guilt trips us all into eating “plant based” and if not, it can feel like we’re living unhealthy lives. Though plants are great for us, so are whole grains and proteins. This wellness trend provides yet another way for people to fuel their need to lose weight instead of gain more love for their bodies as they are. I want to inspire people to be kind to their bodies, nourish them out of love, and stop comparing them to unattainable standards of beauty.

What are you most inspired by, within the realm of wellness, at the moment?

Black yoga teachers. I currently work and go to school in Boston, which makes it very hard to find a yoga teacher that I can culturally identify with. When I go home to Chicago, I always try to catch a Gypsy Yoga class or BGIO Self-Care Sunday. There’s a certain kind of magic that comes out of another black woman facilitating what normally is an hour of healing both my mind and body. They inspire me so much, because every time I leave a class, I feel radically moved in a way that I don’t typically feel when I’m taking a class in Boston. That’s the impact of black girl magic and uplifting fellow black women right there.

Your current favorite:

Yoga pose — Goddess or half-pigeon

Book — Currently two! Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield

Mantra — I am safe and supported by the Universe.

What are three things that you are affirming for yourself right now?

I am powerful, I am free, I am all the love I currently need.

Follow Ayo + the Bright-Eyed Joy brand on:

Twitter - @brighteyedjoy

IG - @brighteyedjoy

Other link (if applicable): facebook.com/brighteyedjoy

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