Put Your Oxygen Mask On First

Put Your Oxygen Mask On First

Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First

Put on your own oxygen mask first.


Save yourself. First.

Be a model of salvation.

Show, don’t tell caring.

Show your beauty to yourself

so that he can learn

how to show his beauty

to himself.

Show him how to breathe

by breathing.

Show him how to save himself

through saving yourself.

Show him how to care

through caring

for yourself and for him.

Do not martyr yourself to your child.

Warrior for him

by fighting for yourself.

Put your own mask on


Nikki Patin
Nikki Patin
Program Director, HBCU Technical Assistance
Black Women's Blueprint

Nikki Patin has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, WGN, WCIU, WBEZ and New Zealand's TV3 and Radio New Zealand. She was voted one of 30 under 30 most influential LGBTQ people in Chicago by Windy City Times and took the gold medal in the 2006 Gay Games International LGBT poetry slam. She is the founder and Executive Director of Surviving the Mic (www.survivingthemic.org), an organization dedicated to creating safe and affirming artistic spaces for survivors of trauma. Nikki Patin received her MFA in Creative Non-Fiction/Poetry at Stonecoast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine. She is Program Director, HBCU Technical Assistance at Black Women's Blueprint. Her work can be found at www.nikkipatin.com. Learn More

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