Updated: Jul 11, 2022
Welcome to My Blog on Black Joy & Resilience!
Bonjour ! S ak pase?
My name is Michaëlle Martial. I am a Haitian-born published Poet, Spoken Word Artist, and founder of Caribbean Nightingale LLC. Welcome to my blog where my monthly posts are intended to empower you with poetic stories and insightful tips on self-care, travel, cooking, parenting and co-parenting.
Like many of you, I've had my share of traumatic experiences. I've lost a child. I'm a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Growing up in Haiti, I also witnessed violent coups and the effect of extreme poverty on my people. Yet, I believe that Black Joy is a conscious mindset that has been reflected in Black culture across the globe for centuries.
Friend, it's never too late to start your journey to emotional healing... Thank you for subscribing to my blog!
More often than not, finding that inner joy has come from artistic expression. When we embrace Black Joy, we honor our African ancestors, we honor ourselves, and we begin to experience healing from trauma.
Kickstart with these 5 Tips
Keep a journal and/or Talk to a friend
Seek professional help
Volunteer in your community
Get an emotional support pet
Tap into your Creative side
1. Keep a Journal and/or Talk to a Friend
Those of you who are introverts will greatly benefit from keeping a daily or weekly journal of your thoughts and various ranges of intense emotions that you may be feeling throughout the day. Pick a journal design that speaks to you. Keep that journal and a pen on your bedside table in case you wake up at night or early in the morning and feel the urge to write down a dream or a thought.
If you are an extrovert, you will prefer talking to one or a few friends about how you may be feeling when you get emotional triggers. Whichever method you use, the point is to get it out of your head so you can start processing your feelings and thoughts. Sometimes, when we say it out loud or write it on paper, the intense emotion that you are feeling may become less overwhelming, therefore, the issue will seem solvable.
2. Seek Professional Help
For some of us who are US immigrants or of African descent, the idea of talking to a professional counselor or therapist may initially feel ridiculous, unnecessary, or shameful. Think of counseling in terms of mental health. If another part of your physical body such as your leg had an infected wound with smelly discharges, you would immediately find your way to a medical doctor's office. Tell yourself that your emotional health is just as important if not more. You are worth it.
Healing from trauma is a journey unique to you. Your needs will need to be addressed by a professional clinician who has training in the field of trauma. Some approaches that are commonly used for trauma survivors are Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Family Systems Theory, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). In addition to these interactive therapies, you and your clinician may explore medication options if necessary. Don't be afraid to do your research and ask around until you find the therapist that will be the right fit for your needs.
3. Volunteer in your Community
There is something to be said about service. When you're helping others, you do not think about your own troubles. As a bonus, you get serotonin release (feel good hormones) that flood your brain, similar to how you would feel when you exercise.
Your local libraries, community centers, or church congregations, or your city's summer festival are all a great place to start. If there are causes that are dear to you, such as Women's Rights, LGBT rights, Walk to end Alzheimer's or any other yearly or monthly opportunities to volunteer in your community, seize those because they will not only help others but it will also be a way for you to get to know your neighbors and community members. You never know what skills you will learn or what new friends you will make.
4. Adopt an Emotional Support Pet
Did you know that petting an animal can also release the feel good hormones in your brain? So go ahead, adopt the pet of your choice from your local animal shelter. Whether it's a dog, a cat, or a fish, an emotional support animal can be just the friend to talk to when your emotions are running high. As human, we are social beings, so if you live alone or even if you have children, having a pet may come in handy when you are a trauma survivor.
Not all of us are in a position to adopt a pet. Some housing situations do not allow for it. Another option would be to volunteer at an animal shelter or regularly pet sit for a friend of yours in their own home. In some cases, you may be severely allergic to pet fur. A fish tank with a single fish or a variety of fish could be a good alternative. You may also consider just keeping a white noise machine or an electric water fountain running in the background in your bedroom.
5. Tap into your Creative Side
Have you ever watched the movie Ratatouille with the mouse who believed in a chef's motto "anyone can cook"? This has been one of my favorite movies to watch with my kids. With that said, I would say that anyone can be creative.
You don't need to create the perfect work of art or piece of poetry to express yourself through the arts. Anything you can do with your hands will keep your mind occupied, provide relief from stress and a satisfaction of having made something from scratch. You may want to experiment in the kitchen, on a canvas, or on paper. Designing clothing and home decor are some other examples of creativity. Look for cake decorating shops or a pottery class in your community. You will be surprised at how many activities are currently offered in your community. This will also give you an opportunity to support local businesses that are minority-owned or women-owned. So, what are you waiting for? Do a quick Google search and off you go!
You Can Do it!
Remember friend, it is never too late to start your unique journey to emotional healing with the above 5 tips that have proven useful to myself and many other trauma survivors.
Michaëlle's Poetry Corner
Watch Video & Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more
"Yellow and Red"
I am yellow,
I am red.
I am mellow,
I am led.
I don't follow when I'm fed.
I won't wallow in my bed.
I am yellow like the morrow,
And I'm red from where I bled.