You Won’t Break My Soul

When I first heard “Break My Soul,” it sounded autobiographical and like a mantra that I kept skirting around, but didn’t quite have the words for. Like the lyrics state, “Work by nine, then off past five,” I was deeply ingrained in hustle culture a couple years ago. Now, don’t get me wrong I loved what I was able to do with my job and that was helping people bring new books into the world. However, 9-5 wasn’t realistic. I had to commute to my job like many people do, and work wasn’t nearby, just like it isn’t for many people. On top of the job really starting before 9, I spent a lot of overtime at the office and was often the last person there. What with the strict deadlines and big piles of deliverables that needed to be sent out, I didn’t see a way to do the job without going at least an hour past 5. When the pandemic was in full swing, there were even times that I worked up to 10 pm at night, but it was easier/safer to do that since I was working from home at that point. Even with putting in the extra work, there was so much client work that I wasn’t able to keep up with it, especially since we were understaffed. So, that brings me to another portion of the lyrics.

I’m looking for Motivation
I’m looking for a new foundation, yeah
And I’m on that new vibration
I’m building my own foundation, yeah
Hold up, oh, baby, baby

The nonstop and increasing overwhelm led me to putting in my letter of resignation and when I informed my superiors, they seemed so surprised. It just seemed like they thought I would put my head down and dig my heels in, but I couldn’t understand how they could feel remotely okay. I knew I needed something different, something better, but I had no idea what that was specifically. I mean, I started my own business and worked on writing and eventually publishing my first book, but I felt scared and lost then. And I feel scared and lost now. The difference is that I have a couple different jobs now alongside running my business, but it is so much more chill.

Release ya anger, release ya mind
Release ya job, release the time
Release ya trade, release the stress
Release the love, forget the rest

This was actually an upheaval at first. I’d been freshly traumatized by various life events in a short amount of time and for the first time ever I was doing work that didn’t require me to feel like I was suffering. I wasn’t crying on the way to work. I wasn’t constantly anxious and that made me nervous. This couldn’t be possible. A shoe had to drop. Basically, I thought that I didn’t have value and that life wasn’t normal for me because I wasn’t suffering. Now, as an African American woman, I’ve had to take several steps back to realize how absolutely out of my mind I sounded. I’ve been consciously reminding myself to “release” because I felt like being at ease and even bored was a bad thing. Now, I’m working on trying to hone in on what I’d like to do with Ebony Xscape and that comes with a lot of fear.

Got motivation (Motivation)
I done found me a new foundation, yeah (New foundation)
I’m takin’ my new salvation (Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, new salvation)
And I’ma build my own foundation, yeah (Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Oh, baby, baby

Building a new foundation means coming to terms with what I can and can’t do, what can I work towards, what do I need to put aside, realistic timelines, etc. However, I know that nothing can be done if I don’t try. I finally have the time to up my crafts and make more cohesive plans. I’m working on improving my mental health so that I don’t let analysis paralysis keep me from doing the work and so that I don’t let past events keep me in bondage.

If you don’t seek it, you won’t see it
That, we all know (Can’t break my soul)
If you don’t think it, you won’t be it
That love ain’t yours (Can’t break my soul)
Tryin’ to fake it, never makes it
That, we all know (Can’t break my soul)

You and I are being encouraged to become, to bloom, to actually discover ourselves and be authentically ourselves. You and I are being encouraged to be delusional enough to believe that the dream is within reach and that we don’t have to suffer all the time. You and I are being reminded that self-love rooted in discipline is the difference between drudgery and discovery. We also have to fully believe and think that we can be the thing, whatever your thing is and ask ourselves who are we not to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

You can have the stress and not take less
I’ll justify love
We go round in circles, round in circles
Searchin’ for love (Round in circles)
We go up and down, lost and found
Searchin’ for love
Looking for something that lives inside me
Looking for something that lives inside me

So often, love and validation is sought in an external source and I’m definitely one of the people that has looked for that ‘okay’ from someone besides myself first. Also, to be perfectly honest, I’m in a season where all my friends are either upstate or completely other states, so the loneliness has been crushing at times, but I’m doing my best to seek love in myself first. I’m definitely one of those people that has “thrived” from self-deprecation, overdoing work, and underdoing building a solid social circle, but I can choose what I need now. I can choose rest, choose to pursue things that I actually like, and choose to create meaningful connections with people near and far. But, first and foremost the validation and love starts inside me and for me. Even though I’m marching forward, I still have to pull myself together every morning. Sometimes, several times in a day, but that’s when I tell myself the most important thing.

You won’t break my soul

You won’t break my soul

I’m tellin’ everybody

Tellin’ everybody



In essence, you won’t break my soul. They won’t break yours either. Just like I’m telling you, you should tell everybody too. Now, you don’t have to go and write an article, but the message is in your actions. It’s in you moving differently, feeling that difference, and other people having no choice but to witness it. It’s in the times when they say you’ve changed and you tell them “of course I have.” Be brave enough to grow into yourself and love yourself for who you are, no matter your dream, no matter the political climate, no matter who affirms you or not. I can’t leave without saying that I think it’s sad that the chorus of this song has to be so topical, especially with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the lack of appropriate gun legislation, and the palpable fear rippling through the United States of what we’ll lose next. And, aside from being your own gladiator, constantly fighting to be yourself and use your light to make the world a little better, I hope that you and I not only get to pursue happiness but to put down our armor every once in a while and feel joy.

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