Permission to Take Ownership, Opening a B&B and Embracing the Mess
Who are you, sister? Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello! My name is Akirah Robinson, a 31-year-old therapist living in Pittsburgh, PA. I love my husband, my dog, and my community (family/friends/church). I’m one of those people who’s always working toward a goal, but trying her hardest to be grateful for what she already has.
I used to write a lot, but not so much anymore. I also coach women healing from tough breakups, but only on a limited basis. Things that make me smile include my parents, cheese, listening to the Hamilton soundtrack and Lemonade on repeat, reading, and self-compassion. Things that make me frown are spending too much time on Facebook, the 2016 election season, feeling bloated, and my dog’s farts.
Also? I got tickets to see Beyonce AND Hamilton this year. Go me!
Let’s do some one word answers. Ready, set, go!
Morning Drink? Water
Lusting after? Sunshine
Spirit Animal? Owls
Head Space? Drama-free
Heart Space? Grateful
Bloom of Choice? Whatever husband buys.
Turn-on? Magic Mike XXL
Go-to Gemstone? Pearls
Celebrity Icon? Beyonce
Favorite compliment? “Nice afro!”
What does practicing joy mean to you? Practicing joy, to me, is what happens when I combine intention and gratitude. When I intentionally choose to not to be miserable (regardless of the miserable situations that may arise in life) and intentionally savor each thing I am grateful for, joy is often the result.
Biggest life lesson you’ve learned lately? I never realized how much I was longing to take ownership of my life and how long I was waiting for permission to do so! It’s scary to assume responsibility for my career, my desires, my mistakes, my marriage, my body, and my decisions. But it’s a lot less stressful than being on the fence about every little thing. So I’m trying this new thing where, if my presence is required, I go all in. I’m still not a big fan of risk. But I’m not a big fan of stunting my own growth and maturity, either.
What’s your definition of success? My definition of success is summed up in a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson—and I love this quote so much that I had it tattooed on my arm: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Name 3 things from your Life List that light you up.
- Purchasing a beautiful home with my handsome husband, complete with a porch swing, big ol’ yard, and farmhouse sink. I’m still praying on this one.
- Open a bed and breakfast with my handsome husband where I take care of the administrative stuff and he cooks everyone tasty omelets and mouth-watering waffles. This is our pre-retirement goal, and it fits us so well.
- Speaking to a group of 500 women (think TED-talk style) about making the most heartbreaking and bravest decision of my life…and nailing it! I accomplished this goal in March 2015.
What do you do when life gets messy? Cry. Pray by myself. Pray with a friend. Take a nap. Journal. Go to church, especially when I don’t feel like it. Drive up to my parents’ house, because there’s just something about home base that helps make life make sense again.
I’m trying to get into the habit of embracing the mess that’s embraceable, as there will always be messy parts of life that I’ll have to embrace. For the other stuff? Let’s just say I’m trying to get into the habit of putting on my big girl panties and channeling my inner Olivia Pope.
3 songs, 3 Books, 3 Instagram Accounts
“Electric Lady” by Janelle Monae
“Gardenia” by Mandy Moore
“Happy” by C2C and Derek Martin
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton
Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans
For self-love inspiration, @sarahjenks
For solidarity, @feminist_tinder
For shits and giggles, @mytherapistsays
How are you going to change the world? Probably one conversation at a time. As a therapist, I like to think of myself as a “space holder;” someone who can hold space with someone who’s hurting, scared, or confused while they gradually make sense of their world again. That’s why I can’t say it’s a goal of mine to change the world, per say. Helping people help themselves is much more interesting to me. Why? Because I believe that when people help themselves, that’s when true change can occur.
What has been your favorite journey? I’ve taken many journeys in my thirty-one years on this planet, but I’d have to say my favorite has to be how I’ve gradually grown into my identity as a Black woman. I was raised in a predominantly white community and often used perfectionism as a way to better fit in among my peers.
As I think back to that time, I now clearly see the many ways I ignored discrimination and ignorance in an effort to not stand out any more than I already did. In my mid-twenties I decided to wear my hair “natural,” which meant no longer chemically straightening it in order to live up to one of the many standards society has tried to impose on me. This first step has led me to today, a day where I can honestly say I’m unapologetically Black.
I love my skin, my hair, my nose, my curves, and my culture. I love me and I love folks who look like me. I certainly love folks who don’t look like me, but I’m vocal in expressing my love for Black people because far too often we’re simply not shown the love we truly deserve.
Book That Made a Difference: Rising Strong by Brene Brown
Can’t Live Without: My sweet pup!
Currently Obsessed: Hamilton!
Want more Akirah? Find her online at