On several occasions, I have been asked by peers, "How did you begin your healing process as a queer Black Man?" I often go into detail that dealing with healing is a long, sometimes emotional and drawn out process and the process will never, ever, be easy. As I have learned to face many of the painful experiences I have had in my life, I have learned that pain is something one will never get over, or should never get over.
#MajorKey: In order to begin your healing process, it is important to understand how to get under the pain.
Getting Under the Pain: Context Before Content
As my great friend Dr. Jamie Washington once stated, an essential part to understanding the source of your pain is understanding the context of it. In order to totally understand it fully, one must be ready to dig, feel, dig again, process, dig some more and reflect. For the last several months, I too have had to do some digging to come to terms that certain painful experiences I have experienced helped fuel me to become the person that I am today (and I am STILL struggling).
Getting under your pain can come in various forms. It can mean going to see a therapist, connecting with a healing circle, blogging, journaling or simply acknowledging that the pain is there. Sometimes, I will react to a situation in my life and wonder, "why is this hurting me so much?" and it is then, that I learn that the content of my pain is often formed by the context of what I have experienced, ways I have and have not processed and what I need to do to fully recover from said event.
Going Beyond Resilience: Acknowledging Your Pain
As both a queer person and a Black person, I have heard several comments that only weak people spend time harping on the pain that they experience. From my own lived experiences, I think the most beneficial thing I could have ever done WAS take time to acknowledge and process through said issue I was experiencing.
When we start living our lives believing that resilience will save us, we often forget why we were giving feelings in the first place. Now this is not to say that we should live in our feelings, but the most important part of healing is asking, "what solid plan can I create to help me maintain my emotions when I am triggered by painful events?"
While I know that I am a strong person and I believe that I have several strong people in my circle, I recognize that strength doesn't mean not taking a moment to break down. A word that I will always carry in my heart is that sometimes: in order to build yourself back up, you must breakdown.
Navigating Your Greater Purpose
The easiest thing to do in this life is get caught up in your experiences and begin to believe that you are the only one going through said issues/problems that you are having. I recently shared with a friend that for years, I saw my Blackness and my queerness as the biggest curse that life could have given me. But as of recently, I have been told by several people that by me being who I am and talking openly about my trials and tribulations: I have been able to help others navigate their own healing process.
The greatest gift that we as humans have is the ability to connect. its astounding to me that anytime I share a story about being a poor little Black queer kid from the streets of Southern California, I get a "me TOO" or someone who can feel it or recognize it.
In understanding your painful experiences, sometimes you need to step back and ask, "is this experience a blessing or a curse and what can I do to use it as a life navigational tool?"
One of the biggest blessings in my life has been accepting what I am not able to change and embracing the rocky parts. You never know what someone can learn from your digging. Understanding context before content can be rough, but when you start examining your pain with a lens that includes reflection and not rejection, then that is where the true healing begins.
In all, while life will never give you more than you are able to handle, please keep in mind that pain often ends when you give into the greater purpose of why you are experiencing it in the first place. While I do want to acknowledge that some of us go through things that we should NEVER have to go through-this still provides us a space to encourage others to follow suit in the healing process.
Don't just go through it, GROW through it.
This is where pain ends and where the true healing begins.
Sending you all love and Light.