Note: This is based on a podcast which can be heard here.
What is love? What’s love got to do with pain and suffering? Are they related? Pain and love? Must one always be present with the other? In this blogpost I explore pain and suffering through a womanist perspective (centering the perspectives and lived experiences of Black women) and discuss how to live into wholeness and wellness. This is especially important because the Black community/women in particular’s experience in the US (and globally) has been and continues to be defined by pain and suffering. What are the theological implications?
How have Christian frameworks at associating love with sacrifice and pain justified the pain and suffering of Black women? How can we decolonize love so that liberated Black women are empowered to embrace a love that does not hurt first with false promises of rewards later in life or afterlife? Black women, pain does not equal love.
This blogpost is a reflection on my experience creating a podcast series concerning religious trauma experienced in cults as well as how to heal from traumatic cult experiences.
Firstly, I had to be very intentional about the word survivor as opposed to victim. Survivor was the obvious choice because I used to cringe when thinking of myself as a victim. However, As I heal, I can honor both the survivor and the victim, for they are the same. I cannot forget to acknowledge though that some victims do not survive and this is the same concerning cults. Many people at this very moment are in exile or in hiding from their cults when they escape and for that reason some of the people who engaged in this series were forced to engage anonymously.
Greetings Feminism and Religion family! It has been soooo long and I have missed you so much!!
I have been working on a few projects that were rudely interrupted by a heartbreaking divorce, decisions of survival, and the subsequent recovery that followed this period. I have spent the past at least 6 months healing from the shame, guilt, pain, and blame that was placed in my lap for the collapse of the marriage. Needless to say, that shit is heavy and it kept me in an endless and perpetual night- not the beautiful mysterious, infinite, expansive darkness that I have come to know but the night that I was afraid of when I was young. No one could save me from the ways that I tormented myself or questioned my womanhood, motherhood in particular. Even more, no one could save me from being an emotional punching bag from my ex-spouse, who also torments himself.
That being said, I am on the mend and am settled in my own apartment furnished with peace, wholeness, and healing for myself and my daughter. As an earth sign, stable ground and a comfortable home in which I can be myself means the world to me. I am a spiritual advisor at a recovery center in Massachusetts and therefore have studied the art of recovery in many ways. Recovery from loss and recovery of self are two procedures that I address in my upcoming book, Black Gold: The Road to Black Infinity!!
Many questions are asked of us as a community, but the answers which are so complex that we should be commended for even attempting to answer, are heard- if they are not interrupted- but rarely understood. As a Black mother and wife, I have accepted the fact that no one will understand my struggle outside of other Black mothers and wives. After being asked questions about how my community relates to slavery, I am convinced that no one outside of my Black American community will ever understand how slavery has impacted our lives, identities, family structures, trauma, and deaths. Furthermore, it has yet to be understood how the past of slavery continues to impact these areas as a people.
Firstly, although slavery has left an immense imprint on our racial memory, the Black community is not stuck in slavery simply because we bring it up. It is brought up because it is a part of our story and we should not be made to feel ashamed of it. Just because you are tired of hearing about it or uncomfortable does not mean that Black Americans should be made to feel as though should avoid speaking of our history. Some many pro-Black groups and movements emphasize and celebrate the achievements of Black Americans before, during, after, and despite slavery. However, these movements threaten the dominant culture, and much of their achievements are ignored or perceived as threats and terrorism. It is hard to educate ourselves and our children about our ancestor pre-enslavement because our legacy, history, sacred knowledge, and culture were destroyed and our memories were erased and replaced with the bible and colonialist interpretations of scripture. Many of these scriptures are interpreted to justify slavery and are still used to justify police brutality, mass incarceration, and psychological warfare on Black Americans. Nevertheless, we do what we can to celebrate ourselves and our heritage. In doing so, we cannot ever forget slavery.