As Black people, we have not had the room to fully cope with our emotional and spiritual issues because we are too busy surviving. Accordingly, my friend’s partner was trying to teach his son one of the key principles of being Black—that pain and trauma are indigenous to our history as African-Americans. We have become accustomed to tolerating our pain.When faced with repeated injustices hurled upon us, we are quick to mutter, “that’s just the way it is.” Or, when faced with glass ceilings and institutional barriers, we tell our children, “that you must always be 120 percent better.” Instead of bull dozing through the pain, how can we teach ourselves, our families, and our friends to make room for their pain while not being swallowed by it?
In many ways, I am trying to learn how to embrace and engage my pain, rather than run from it. In my life, I continually find ways to affirm myself, speak positivity over my own life, and remember to love myself no matter what. This is what healing looks like for me. For others, it will be forgiving the pain folks have caused them. Forgiving themselves, strengthening relationships, or severing them. Regardless of the routes, what we need to remember is that pain is not a temporary thing. It lingers. For the Black community to thrive, I believe we in part, must not only talk about economic justice, but be truly radical by talking about collective healing. Yes, self-care is a hard discussion when one struggles to make ends meet, but whatever room we have to nourish our hearts and minds, we must take full hold of it.