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Why is Wellness, Black-less?

I would like to start by saying, yes I did just say that. And here’s why. In 2018 I lost my ever non-loving mind. I mean, I jumped ship and didn’t even to bother looking for a raft. I totally and completely gave up. I had fallen prey to so many of our shared life’s trials and tribulations, but like a good ego-maniac, I assumed I was dealt an extra-special heavy and unfair hand. Every imaginable horrific situation seemed to snowball on top of me at once and I had no solution… So I did the unthinkable and tried to kill myself. But clearly I didn’t succeed because my heavily caffeinated fingers are punching the air and the keyboard right now. However, the real shocker to me and my self-esteem wasn’t that I had failed at ending my own life, it was that someone actually knew what I was trying to silently say with my body, to which I had to no words of my own to express. And what was even more astonishing to me was that THEY knew how to help. I was sent to a far away place to get well. A place so white, I thought I had died and woken up in Key West. But to my seemingly habitual surprise, I had woken up in the top treatment center in the United States, located in the frozen tundra known as, Utah.

I spent the next year learning and exploring myself in ways I wouldn’t have dared to dream of and examined exposed hidden sores that had never healed within me. I learned from top trauma specialists, addiction counselors and mental health therapists, words like; post traumatic stress disorder, grief, repressed anger and finally self-focused healing. These were all foreign terms and ideologies to me being born to an immigrant father from Ethiopia and a fabulous breadwinning African American mother. I was never introduced to terms that exuded vulnerability, support, helplessness or powerlessness . I was raised on the dense and pragmatic bones of self-reliance, determination, fortitude, education, imperial knowledge and grit. No complaining in my house. So why was I sitting in solidarity, in a room with rooms full of broken women, spewing our secrets and crying on each others shoulders. Women who looked nothing like me. Women who didn’t understand me, but they understood pain. And I soon realized that sharing that pain, would begin to lesson my own. And I knew if I didn’t heal my debilitating pain, I wouldn’t make it to see another day. So I ignored all the glaring disparities of clientele, staff and facilitators in comparison to me and my Black skin and took what I could get to heal. Every treatment session, every physical challenge, every contrary action, I did it all. I was so immeshed in grabbing hold of my once in a lifetime chance at privileged wellness, that I really didn’t phase me that I was the only Black woman around for literal miles, until it did.

Once I got back home to Los Angeles, I was immediately eager to share what I had learned and look for the same support in my own hometown, but again I was dumbstruck and surprised to find only white spaces. I was left to fend for myself in a rooms full of women who would potentially see me as the token, the spokesperson, the other, or the punching bag. I wanted to see women like me, like my friends, Black and Brown stories, immigrant backgrounds, systemic hardships shared just as I had did with my loving white group in Utah. But I couldn’t find it. I knew it existed because all the doulas, yorubas, abuelas, gurus, and grandmothers have been telling us golden nuggets of cultural self love for years! But I wanted diverse recovery to be just as modern, fresh, new age and inclusive as everyone else got. SO I got curious, started digging, sharing, and finding other voices like mine or people who wanted to hear from marginalized and underrepresented. women who were joyfully blooming in recovery. I found there are so many intersectional women and people, who want to share, be represented and get in on the highest vibrational turn that the unprecedented year of 2020 shifted us into. We want our pain to be valued and nurtured and to be able let down our arms in a safe, vulnerable, diverse and multifaceted way. So I put my words where my mouth is, wrote a book; Sober Daughter, created a platform, gathered some amazing contributors and created: The Good Wrk.

A fresh and inclusive new take on all that is the multifaceted world of recovery wellness and inner work. At The Good Wrk, we do the work and tap in to our communities to share, be vulnerable, ask for support, teach and reach. We are stronger together.


Copyright: Fawna Asfaw

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