Why Is It So Damn Hard For Us To Relax?: Making A Case For A More Ease-Full Life

Why Is It So Damn Hard For Us To Relax?: Making A Case For A More Ease-Full Life

There’s something to be said for the Black woman’s relationship to the word ‘relax.’ Coming from the wrong mouth, at the wrong time, it’s one of the quickest ways to receive a stank face, a cold shoulder, or a full on smack-down. But why? Is it that Black women are just quick to “pop off?” Forever perpetuating the tired and worn-out trope of the angry black woman that will snap in a moments notice? Or is it the fact that society has tried us more times than not and we stand ready, always on guard, lest we’re disrespected or downplayed yet again.

The word “relax” can mean different things, depending on the scenario. Being encouraged to “relax” while sipping rum punches in Negril and lounging in a hammock while eyeing some How Stella Got Her Groove Back type of eye-candy? Don’t mind if I do!

However, being told to relax because I’m having a natural human response to being skipped in the Starbucks line by some white woman, as I patiently wait to order my overpriced latte? Now that’ll get me heated.

The word “relax” originates from the Latin word relaxare, and according to Merriam-Webster, means “to make less tense or rigid.” When used in context, the word “relax” oftentimes is the appropriate word. However, things can become sticky with its irresponsible overuse.  Something that can be seen as a positive can easily become a villainized catch-phrase  when spewed by those whose emotional intelligence is that of an ant.

As time has gone on, I’ve realized that my disdain for ‘relax’ has been quelled by its kinder, more inviting counterpart, 'take it easy.'

Take It Easy: It’s Giving "Summer Breeze" by The Isley’s Energy

With 'relax' on the back burner, let’s focus on dare I say, a soft-girl era approach to “lightening the load.” Although the two phrases may seem like synonyms for each other, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Where 'relax' implies the subject matter is tense and rigid, the phrase take it easy implies that the subject matter is being reminded, coaxed maybe, to choose the path of ease. While relax feels like a harsh command, 'take it easy' rolls off the tongue like a silky suggestion. But to fully understand the phrase, 'take it easy' we’ll have to break it down.


For starters, the subject matter is being offered a gift. They’re not being told to give something away, rather they’re being encouraged to take whatever it is they may need, be it time, space, or a break.


Whatever it is, take it, girl! You deserve it!


Ahhhh. Like Sunday morning. Despite the lies thrown at us throughout the day, life should be easy, although I understand that it rarely ever is. However, with the phrase 'take it easy,' it’s implied that adding more ease to your life is something that could actually be attainable.

But what does it mean to allow ease into your life, you ask? Simply put, it's choosing the path of less resistance. It’s letting that asshole thats vying to cut you off, just slip in front of you instead of laying on your horn and shouting obscenities. It’s allowing your twin toddlers to be their full toddlers selves-messy, tantrum filled, energetic little balls of wonder. Don’t sweat it— the mess can get cleaned up later. It’s giving yourself grace because you’ve already done all of the things— that last load of laundry? It can wait! And while you’re at, order some take out for the night. It’s allowing more space for life to flow, and opting to stress less. It’s making room for things to just feel easy, resulting in you feeling more full because we all know you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Most importantly, you have to remember that the concept of 'take it easy' isn’t just a euphemism for relax; it’s a real thing. 'Taking it easy' allows you to become present, take stock of your current situation, and reclaim your power by choosing to move forward with ease. Explore this freedom. Ground down into the reality that life is what you make it and ease can actually be consistent part of your daily life, but only if you choose it. Remember, the choice is yours!

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