WORDS: KIMORA BROCK
IMAGE: KATE WEINER
Every week, we will be sharing with you some advice from the lovely Kimora. Today marks the first essay in our series! We're so excited to begin this conversation on health and wellness together and hope you'll let us know your thoughts as well.
I would first and foremost like to thank everyone who is reading this introductory installment of my Health & Wellness column! I would also like to thank Kate, Nicole, and LOAM magazine for believing in my abilities and asking me to help with this project. Fair warning: I am no expert in the area of health and wellness. I do have a biology (premed) degree and have taken many classes that focus on the subject, but I will truly be writing this column from my personal experience.
Health, wellness, and healing is a journey you can choose to embark upon in this life. Most health and wellness columns focus on yoga practice, eating well, meditation, and finding work/life balance. Although I'll discuss these topics in great detail in preceding posts, I want to explain how I started the journey in the first place.
My sophomore year at Wesleyan, I was assaulted. It has taken me so long to come to the point in my life where I can say that. I lost my close group of friends during the process and was even blamed for the incident. I felt isolated, as if there were was no place for me to find solace or peace of mind. Along with the added pressure coming from home to work two jobs and help pay for college, I felt like life was too much. There were days when I couldn't get out of bed. I cried for hours at a time. I wouldn't eat or sleep. I just laid there, in my bed, crying. It was the most useless I’ve ever felt. The only thing I knew for certain at that point was that I needed help, but I had no clue where to get it.
It took me a while to gather the courage to go see a therapist. Meeting with Jennifer, however, a counselor at my college's counseling and psychological services, was the first step to my road to healing. I honestly did not believe anyone could help me with what I was going through, but just having someone sit there and LISTEN to what I had to say, and confirm that my feelings were valid, was so important. Jennifer recommended that I join a new support group created by her co-worker Alysha and I reluctantly did.
"Befriending Your Body: Yoga as Healing Support Group" was a ten-week, psycho-educational support group open to female sexual assault survivors, friends and their supporters that incorporated yoga and discussions of self care . It was by far one of the most eye opening experiences I've had to date. There were two leaders (one therapist, Alysha, and the yoga instructor) and only one other student. Each week I learned something new about how to take care of my spirit and the vessel that contains it. Some of the sessions included art and poetry, but every session culminated with yoga practice. We learned about breath, boundaries, body image, acceptance. This insight from our yoga teacher was fundamental in building my spirituality to what it is today.
My yoga teacher explained to me that everything in the world is made up of energy. According to Newton's Law, energy cannot be created or destroyed but merely transferred from one form to another. She believed that I needed to find a way to to transform my feelings of sadness and isolation into anything but that. During one session in particular, she asked me to recall a time when I was happy and explain to her what I was doing. This seemed like the most simple task to me yet my mind was so clouded by the negativity of my current situation, I was unable to think of a single thing. After a long silence, I remembered all of the childhood videos of me singing, dancing and putting on plays for my family and decided to tell her about them. She thanked me for my contribution and urged me to sign up for classes next semester that brought out that happiness. She said it would be a great way to express my creativity and take care of myself, especially because I spent most of my time at Wesleyan taking courses that I didn’t really enjoy but were requirements for a future I didn’t really want. As simple as it sounds, I learned that doing things you enjoy is an easy yet major form of self care.
One thing I do know for certain is that it was through doing things that I enjoyed that I found new friends, and serendipitously, new opportunities arose for me to keep doing things I enjoyed. By the end of the year, I was singing soprano in the Ebony Singers gospel choir, performing my own pieces in ballet class, and acting in my new friends’ film projects!
If there is anything you take away from this introduction column on health and wellness, it is that the power of intention and self care can revolutionize your life. It was my intention to feel better, and once I acted on that intention and decided to take the first step to see a counselor, my life changed. I learned the basics of self care: particularly, how to build and cultivate healthy relationships with myself and others. My goal for this column is that somehow, someway I can use my experiences to lend some guidance to someone in need. There is so much more to come and I can't wait to share with you.
Love and Light,
Renew the pleasure of an old craft or former hobby, you'll be glad you did!