What is your name & location?
My name is Her and I live in Arizona.
How do you heal yourself? What is your favorite form of self-therapy?
I have a few that stand out, I am in herbalist, so working with the earth truly does help ground me. I am also very connected to my ancestors so keeping them at the forefront of my life and honoring them through second rituals also keeps me connected to the divine.
However, I would say writing is my best source of healing and self-therapy.
When/what was the catalyst that made you start?
When I was a little girl, my father was on drugs. He would stand me up for 'daddy + daughter dates.' One winter day he told me he was coming to see me and take me out. I was, and the whole day at school I was walking around talking about my father and I was supposed to go to dinner and then shopping. I put them my snowsuit and sat on the side of the porch until about 9 PM when my mother finally called me she could tell I was extremely hurt and I didn't know what to do to feeling, so she told me to write them down. It was then that I wrote my first real, poem.
How has this form of healing helped you?
My prose has allowed me an opportunity to explore the depth of my truama both conscious and subconscious. When I placed words on paper I am able to dissect them and read between the lines, thus helping me understand where the root of my feelings come from. I find validity, and divinity through exploring my story of self.
What is your definition of healing? (What does it look like, feel like, sound like, etc.)
Healing to me, is pulling back the superficial bandage that we have on our scars, and truly doing the work necessary to remove any infections, so that there's no room for its growth. It is a change of perspective, it is removing yourself from the place of victim, and re-writing the story so that you are victor. It is recognizing your ability to overcome what comes your way. It is the removal of self-doubt. It is the ability to restore the power you once gave others over your emotions. It is exploring some of the very ugly things that you may not like about yourself, and getting very comfortable with them.
What does your process look like? (Please share what you feel comfortable sharing)
Honestly it varies, but the one thing that remains true is, honoring the space and time needed when the feelings come. I keep a journal on me, a notepad in my purse, one by my bed, one in my car. Even if I don't have the time to explore them at that moment, I validate them by putting them on paper and make a promise to return to them.
I talk to my inner child before I began to explore them, and let her know that it's OK and she's safe. I do not limit myself with grammar and proper spelling/sentence structure. I let the words fall on the paper as they come. I scratch them out, circle them, pull out letters, make shapes around them.
I really try to ask myself, 'where do these feelings come from?' I ponder on if they are a product of my upbringing, residual trauma, and ego trip, disappointment, fear, love, etc.
I try to close out the session with positive talk and an affirmation just to keep my eyes on the self-love prize.
How does it make you feel when you are healing yourself?
Sometimes I feel holy. I feel my ancestors moving through me. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable, like someone is watching me even if no one is present. Sometimes I'm ashamed or embarrassed that I feel certain things. I think there's this misconception that healing is this aesthetically pleasing him. Making sometimes often leaves me feeling raw, bare, and exposed.
But, I feel because I know progress is being made no matter how painful or ugly it looks.
Because within communities of color, we are silenced. We are told not to express certain things because it brings shame to our family, or those around us...hell, even ourselves. We battle feelings internally, we keep them locked away and bury them deep deep deep within us. and it makes us unwell, unhealthy, and out of touch with reality. We grow to feel like happiness and peace are not things we deserve. I see too many people of color glorifying the struggle. I think we are sick, we don't realize that it is abnormal to live your life full of anxiety.
Writing has allowed me the opportunity to understand parts of me that I have would have never explored otherwise. It has opened the doors to my passions. It has helped me work through hypothetical scenarios, allowed me to make peace with those who have harmed me, it is the basis for my inspiration
What is your inspiration to continue doing what you are doing? What is the fuel that keeps you going?
As I continue my work with being a Doula and an herbalist, I recognize how important self expression is. As an educator, I make it the number one priority.
When I meet expecting mothers that haven't really taken the time to process with that means for them because they are so caught up in handling the emergencies pregnancy, I make it a point to hold space for them.
I see myself woven into the fabric of humanity, and I honor the African proverb, "I am, because we are." I know that for every person who overcomes trauma or issues from their past, we are making the world a better place. When children are taught how to express themselves and cope with their feelings, we are setting up the world for the better future, when mothers + fathers learn how to take a moment to honor their feelings we are creating safe environments for children to grow.
What are your visions &/or goals?
I would like my own healing center. One that allows women the opportunity to take a breather and find peace in a safe and quiet space with properly trained professionals as well as holistic healers.
I hope to continue to work with children and women through workshops that allow us the opportunity to explore who we are and wish to be through ancestral ritual, personal prose + holistic wellness.
Tell us a fun fact about your form of healing, what it is that you do, or something people may not know.
Unfortunately there still a belief that you have to be a 'writer' in order to write, like the words have to be beautifully composed. Honestly, my second and third grade students gave me some of the best journal entries, and it's because they don't have a very large vocabulary knowledgebase. Their feelings come out straight to the point. I taught summer school once, and one of the third-graders wrote , "I think the world is nice, but people are sad so it's sad too" and I was like, "damn kid. Preach."
In one sentence, what is your message to the world?
The highest praise you could ever offer to the most high, your ancestors, or the earth, is walking with in your truth and doing so unapologetically.
Is there is anything else that you would like to share about yourself or your form of self-healing?
I hope one day we will all find something that keeps us where the light is. Until then, I hope we remain patient within our process; whatever that looks like. I'm not sure if writing will always be my sanctuary, however I know as of now, it's working.