Honoring the Healer | GG Renee

What is your name & location?

My name is GG and I live in Maryland, not too far from DC.

How do you help people heal?

I help people heal by being transparent about my own healing, mostly through writing. I’ve always been a sensitive person and even as a young girl, I found that it comforted me to treat other people with the kindness and understanding that I had not always received. My love language is words of affirmation, so that is how I expressed love back into the world. Back then, I loved to write as an outlet for my imagination, but I didn’t connect it with healing or personal growth at all. As I grew into a woman, with bad habits and unaddressed trauma and emotional wounds and all that, I discovered that writing took some of the weight off. With time and practice, I became passionate about helping other women heal through writing.

(photo by TraciElainePhotography)

What type of benefits does your method of healing provide?

Most of us underestimate the inherent power and personal wisdom that we carry with us through life. We don't trust ourselves because of our mistakes, weaknesses and the damage we've endured through our journeys. Writing helps us sort through difficult feelings, admit things we are afraid to say out loud, discover the power of our authentic voices, and find meaning in our stories, just to name a few curative benefits of the craft.

When did you realize that you wanted to heal people/why did you start?

In 2009, I started blogging as a hobby. I wasn’t passionate about my job at all and I was feeling overwhelmed and underinspired. I needed a creative outlet. The response was slow but it was also warm and encouraging. I found out that there were other women out there soul searching like me. In 2012, I decided to take blogging and writing seriously and to see what would happen if I practiced what I preached and followed my heart. That was the year I got my first paid freelance writing gig. That is when I started to really believe that writing was meant to be more than just a hobby for me. I felt that in my own small way, I was making a difference by doing something that I actually loved.

How does your personal healing journey reflect in how you hold space for others?

When I started writing, I realized that deep within me, I had the audacity to believe that I was worthy, and that I had a purpose that was somehow tied to my struggles. I learned that I could actually live a fulfilling and meaningful life if I could find the courage to walk through these difficulties with my eyes wide open, instead of avoiding them and walking through life with my eyes stubbornly closed. Writing is what allowed me to find my voice so now it is such a joy to bring women together to explore their voices in a nurturing environment like a workshop or a course where they can let their guards down and be sensitive and expressive without fear.

Why is what you do so important?

I believe it is especially important for us as women to find creative ways to use our natural gifts and express ourselves. We're notorious for feeling one thing and saying another. Loving one thing and settling for another. Diminishing ourselves to make others comfortable. Avoiding growth because we're afraid to fail and afraid to succeed. So many of us lose our fire because we are so stubbornly in denial of it and unaware of how to fuel it. We need to see ourselves, without judgment, in order to grow. Writing can facilitate that.

Plus, healing is a way to be responsible for the space you take up in the world and the energy you give off. When we choose to take care of our souls and heal, the cycle of resentment and retaliation halts. When we remove bitterness, hatred and blame from our hearts, we make the world a little less toxic as a result.

What is your inspiration to continue doing what you are doing? What is the fuel that keeps you going?

This self-employed creative lifestyle is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. But I'm stubborn about doing what I have to do to keep my hope alive and to stay true to myself. I'm hungry for resonance and connection. Hungry to see what God can do through me if I stay out of my own way. I'm willing to chase the light. I get high on the possibility of finding people out there who are on my wavelength. The hope that my words will find them, touch them, move them. That is the risk I take, the risk I am addicted to and the one I will keep taking.

How does it make you feel when you are helping people heal?

I feel like I am living in my purpose. I feel like my struggles have all been worthwhile. I feel like my sensitive nature is a strength, not a weakness like I once thought.

What are your visions &/or goals?

Right now, I see myself writing books and hosting workshops on writing and self-discovery for the rest of my life. That would be a dream come true. I’m focused on laying the groundwork for creative and financial freedom.

Tell us a fun fact about what it is that you do or something people may not know about you.

A fun fact is that I have three kids, a boy who is 15, and two girls who are 12 and 7, and if it wasn’t for them, I would probably never do anything but write. They are my balance. They are my blood, sweat and tears. They are my teachers. They are my chaos, too. :-)

In one sentence, what is your message to the world?

My personal mantra is two sentences. Self-discovery and creativity go hand in hand. Explore yourself, express what you find.

Is there is anything else that you would like to share about yourself or what it is that you do?

Well. In addition to hosting workshops, I write books that explore the joys and pains of womanhood, enlightenment, and self-exploration. So far, I've written a memoir in free verse about heartbreak and healing (The Beautiful Disruption), a book of essays for quiet women who want to be heard (Wallflower), and a self-discovery workbook that inspires self-reflection and honest writing (Writing the Layers). The Beautiful Disruption and Writing the Layers are available on Amazon.com.

Lastly, the project I’m working on currently is a book of essays on the ups and downs of my mental health journey within the larger landscape of black women and mental health. The book explores how shame can steal our voices and how our personal narratives are needed to break the silence and end the stigma. Your reade​rs can find me on my website at All the Many Layers or on Instagram and Twitter @ggreneewrites. Thank you for having me, Jaz! <3

#interview #HonoringTheHealer