A little over a week ago thanks to #BlackGirlsInCle I had the opportunity to attend Girl Trek Cleveland Edition. I was excited 1. to find out more about Girl Trek, 2. To get out of the house on a Friday night for a little me time. Go on over and read my review of the event on www.blackgirlincle.com. The space, the vibe, the sisterhood was overwhelming and as with each experience I get to learn more about myself. So what did I learn this time around…Keep reading!
I’ve been living this outside my comfort zone lifestyle for a while. I’ve been many places alone, which no longer bothers me, this experience was different, it took me to a new level of being uncomfortable and I was completely there for it. I’ve had to do a lot of self reflecting and soul-searching lately, this was a decision I did not take lightly as in order for me to become better, to be available to encourage others to be their best selves, in order to live by example, I can’t be bullsh*tting myself. If there was any of that left, the #girltrek experience pulled it all out.
- All the ladies in the room were told to stand silently against the wall and leave all judgements including judging ourselves outside the room, there were a lot of ladies but we manage to do it. Then we were told to really think about ourselves and be honest with the answers we were giving. Step forward if you have improved your healthy living lifestyle, step forward if you have left an abusive relationship, step back if you remain in an abusive relationship, this went on with multiple questions until we were uneven. As I gazed around the room I saw women who were just like me, standing on my own in life figuring things out. I’d experienced some gains and losses and I wasn’t alone.
- As we remain in silence we were brought to a circle to do a rhythmic dance exercise. Honestly I had no clue what we were about to do, but the spirit in the room was refreshing and inviting. There were so many melanated faces in the room as we looked at each other the music began. First there was a slow beat, which we swayed to, then the build up and as the music began to heighten we were instructed to dig, scooping low (floor) then releasing at the top (above our head) as we scooped the sound was one of great pain from each person, but then the release was a roar, like we had found freedom and we needed everyone to know. The more we scooped the greater the release until you could feel the humming in the room get louder and louder with every release. Not sure if my description is giving you the full picture, but imagine being weighted down and you feel like you can’t get up, but then you manage to get up and now you can’t even feel the weight of what you were carrying. I felt all the pressure of that day being removed from me, the issues with co-workers, kids not cleaning up, missing date night, loss of friendships, too many meetings, goals not reached, the weight of all the issues I’d been having I could no longer feel. What did I feel? I felt my sisters carrying me, I felt with each hum of their voices they were helping me release. This was magical because let me tell you, a girl was extremely tired of carrying that weight!
- The Wonder Stories of Wonder Women! This part of the evening was amazing. You all know I like a good story and these were stories of women right here in my community, sharing defeat and triumph. With each shared story I felt closer to these women I did not know. We experienced joy, pain, laughter, anger, so many emotions and so many divine connections made. Once the stories were over we were told to grab a sister, hold her hands and look her directly in her eyes. No smiling, just studying her face and seeing her story in her eyes. Have you actually ever looked at another woman? Not her outfit, make-up, shoes (we know I love shoes), not her smile, but what’s in her eyes. Staring into this strangers eyes I began to notice things I hadn’t about her and we had been sitting next to each other for at least 2 hours. If you are so inclined really look at someone, and you will see their story. This was magical for me and I’m not going to lie the tears began to flow, because I knew my story, that behind my smile, behind the jokes, I was crying my eyes out tired and I didn’t see rest in site. That sister hugged me so tight I felt my body go limp and finally rest!
- Finally we get to the walking part, LOL! I mean all this emotional stuff and now you want me to walk. If you read my #blackgirlincle article then you know that 137 black women are dying each day due to preventable diseases. For me personally I know stress correlates directly to some of my health issues. Being able to relieve some of that stress and set myself free was amazing. So what does walking have to do with this? It’s a form of self-care we should start taking advantage of. When I’m angry, take a walk, when I’m sad, try taking a walk, when I’m happy take advantage of that boost and take a walk. Our ancestors found freedom in walking and you can find it too just take your first steps.
Girl Trek is on a mission to get a million African-American women to join the movement by 2020, I’m one of those women! My road to travel in getting me together started when I decided to take that single step, to live a life that defines me and no one else. What will your walk look like? Will you join us?
Onika Jervis, Chief Engagement Officer. Girl Trek
Veronica Very, President & Founder, Wonder of Women
Morgan Dixon, Founder & CEO, Girl Trek