Her grandmother’s death in April underscored for Vick Breedy a realization that should have been obvious to the local author and artist.
“I wasn’t practicing self care. You have to take time for yourself and there is a lot of guilt associated with taking time for yourself,” Breedy said.
Her self revelation was all the more startling for Breedy because she launched a self care group in 2017 after her grandmother, Frances Vick of Malden, became ill. She promoted the group on Facebook and attracted like-minded women to it.
“I wanted to create a space where women are comfortable doing self care. I said, ‘If I feel like this, other women must feel like this too,'” Breedy said.
Her recommitment to self care following Vick’s death from COVID-19 on April 24 dovetailed with the completion of Breedy’s fifth and newest book, “Selfish Women’s Group,” available on her website, vickbreedy.com.
Breedy took the cultural assumption that women are caregivers and amplified it to embrace the “stereotypical strong Black women do it all.”
The book revolves around three women, Ida, Faith and Michelle, who ask and attempt to answer a question Breedy considers fundamental: With limited resources and in the face of systemic racism, can women be strong and embrace self care?
Breedy started writing “Selfish Women’s Group” before the pandemic descended and said the answer to the characters’ question is: “Self care is going to begin with me.”
An East Lynn resident newly married to social worker Kevin Howe, Breedy melds writing, art and entrepreneurship into a creative outlet counterbalanced by her work as a case manager for a biotechnology company.
She launched her Genetically Resilient brand to embrace people overcoming an array of challenges and created T-shirts, hats, even masks, to carry her message. True to her message, Breedy has sold her wares through a minority business market located in Boston, as well as online.
She wrote her first book, “Bitter,” in 2014 and turned the story about the challenges women face in relationships and family into a trilogy with “Still Bitter” and “Bitter Family Secrets.” Her fourth book is titled “Stereotyped” and Breedy says she has one overriding goal when she writes.
“I like to have difficult conversations with the reader,” she said.
Her books grew out of an initial interest in journal writing that coalesced around the theme, “I am resilient.”
Breedy said her grandmother’s illness and death tested her resiliency to the limit.
After Vick was found unconscious in 2017 and rushed to the hospital, Breedy found herself confronted with health care and treatment decisions.
“She couldn’t advocate for herself,” she said.
Her grandmother’s final days and death reinforced Breedy’s need to practice self care with other women and led her to reflection, personal and societal.
“To be called a strong Black woman is more about your weaknesses than your strengths,” she realized.
Her new book and recommitment to self care has sharpened her focus even amidst the pandemic. She is hosting a free virtual self-help group for women on Sept. 20, 3-4:30 p.m. with log-on information available through her website. For more information, email [email protected].