The Healing Journey is a series born out of the reality that we all have our own path to healing. When we share our journey two things tend to happen, we often find freedom in sharing our stories and we always inspire others. There is power in speaking up and it is time to tap into that power.
The mission of The Healing Journey is to provide a platform for women to connect, inspire one another and empower each other. Together we will stimulate conversation, create awareness, healing and stand together knowing that each and every one of us are unique, gifted and powerful.
I feel incredibly humbled and inspired by the story of this woman. She is someone that fought her way through adversity to become the woman she is today. Denise Young is a wife, mother and a child therapist. She is a work in progress and she is magnificent. Her story is one of resilience, one of healing and of hard work. It is my honour to introduce you to
For those who don’t know you, what’s your story?
Music and books are definitely at the centre of the story that is me. Right now I am listening to I Am Light by India Arie. She is one of my favourite artists and I credit her songs with much of the growth I’ve experienced over the years. The other part of my story I feel is one that is often overlooked as a great deal of who I am today is linked to the fact that I raised (raised them for 6,7 and 10 years) my siblings while growing up myself. There were so many times where I felt unwanted. Not completely unloved but definitely unwanted or only wanted for certain tasks to be managed. I credit books as my original saviours as they gave me an outlet, they let me know that life is different for people all across the globe and they allowed me to escape my reality and to live in a place far away which was beautiful and peaceful. It was all under my control because I controlled what I read and listened to. Most often, I chose my books and music wisely.
How did raising your siblings shape you?
Raising my siblings was one of the best and worst things that happened to me. I say this because at the time it seemed as if I was living some sort of hell where there was way too much pressure on me all the time plus I had to deal with academic pressure. Now that I’m older I’m more appreciative as those experiences helped with shaping who and what I’ve become. As a result I’m more confident in the ability to raise my daughter and I’ve become a child therapist.
How would you describe your wombspace?
My wombspace is something I’ve often ignored except during the times when I was cramping or in pain because of it. I resented it for a long time because I honestly didn’t want to have children due to the fact that I spent most of my childhood raising my siblings. It seemed like a waste and something I would get rid of if given the choice. I met my husband and all of that changed. I knew shortly after I met him that I wanted to have a child with him. But once I got pregnant I felt betrayed by my womb once again, as I spotted a lot in the beginning and I felt as if it would fail me in carrying my baby to term. During labor I felt it had failed me again because I was unable to have the birth I’d envisioned. Since then I’ve realized that the power of my womb had been taken a long time ago and it’s something I am working on restoring.
Would you say you have a relationship with your womb? If she could speak, what would she say?
This may sound funny but I think we would immediately began to argue as I would like to have my tubes tied or to be permanently sterilized. I think she would disagree. She is me and I would understand her position but sterilization would be part of the journey to restoring power over my womb and my life.
How would did your healing journey come about?
Growing up in a Christian household, I actually feel that my healing was stunted as I often thought that my circumstances and wounds were just a part of god’s plan and lessons to be learned. I still feel that it’s partially true but pain is not necessary for growth. Neither are negative words, heart break, hardships, molestation, etc. I believe children can grow into well rounded adults without so much adversity. Therefore, my journey in healing and becoming a person that is whole began with books and music. I’ve loved to sing for as long as I can remember but when I was a teenager I discovered that singing provided a sense of calm afterwards. It’s hard to describe but when I am singing I feel like all of my worries melt away and I transcend. Once I discovered India Arie I could finally put into clear words what I wanted to accomplish within myself. ” I am not my hair, I am not my skin, I am not your expectations, I am the soul that lives within” 🙂 I also, couldn’t talk about healing without mentioning the friends I’ve been lucky enough to consider as sisters. Our wounds and stories have overlapping themes. We’ve had in depth conversations about things that have happened. It was during these conversations that I could finally put into words how angry I was, how much hurt I felt and still feel. To express the confusion I feel when I wonder why I wasn’t protected. Healing is by far one of the most arduous yet fulfilling journeys I’ve embarked.
What experiences have been the catalysts of change for you? How have you changed?
I began laughing when I read this question because I was recently on Facebook and I read some of the first messages I ever wrote. I actually looked around the room to see if there was some sort of mixup because the person who wrote those messages certainly wasn’t me. It couldn’t be me! That person used the N-word gratuitously. That person talked about men as if they were objects with which I played. I am who I am today because of multiple bouts of therapy, self-help books, parenting books, music and my friends. I don’t give credit to the negative things that have happened because, although I learned from them, they created more work, more wounds and more feelings of self doubt than anything else. It’s the late nights sitting around candle light pouring out my heart with my friends, going to spoken word nights at the cafe, listening to songs like I Am Light, I Am Not My Hair and Beautiful Flower, discussing racism and oppression, embracing my connection and love for Africa, going back to my natural hair, exploring the importance of foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains, sipping on fruity drinks while talking about our dreams until 2 o’clock in the morning and loving my daughter and husband unconditionally that served as catalysts in shaping who I am today.
What work have you done in order to heal your womb/ body/ self?
I strongly believe in the correlation between what we eat and how we feel. This is a new concept in my set of beliefs but one that is now most important. I used to feel betrayed by my womb every 28 days because my cramps caused so much pain that I wanted to die. Not in the literal sense but I just wanted the pain to end. January of this year I rediscovered Pinterest and it has completely changed my life. That’s not a hyperbole. I mean it’s literally helped with everything from things to do in therapy sessions with my kids to learning about foods and spices that help to alleviate things like cramps. I’d read articles and books about women in other parts of the world who love their wombs and embrace their periods. I assumed they were crazy or just those lucky women who didn’t experience cramps. Since I’ve started drinking turmeric/cinnamon milk my cramps are light to non-existent. Amazingly, I’ve began to feel a closeness with my womb. I’m developing a deeper love and appreciation for it especially since some of those I love have struggled with fertility or will never be able to pregnant.
How would you say you have found healing after abuse? What are some of the things that you did in search of healing?
Healing would be a term I’d use loosely because much of my healing progress is stunted and regressed with bouts of anger. I feel justified in my anger but I have to learn the lesson over and over that anger is not the most beneficial emotion when it comes to abuse. The aftermath is so deep within who I am, I sometimes catch myself feeling jealous of the fact that my daughter has two married parents who love her. She has two parents that chose to create her. We know what day we conceived her. I can still remember feeling inadequate every time a peer used the words “my parents”. Or when someone used the word “bastard”. I still grimace when I read a story about a child being neglected, molested, and left to take care of themselves. I do not regret my anger because I feel that kids who are neglected and abused are allowed to be everything but angry. I think much of what I feel now is the fact that some things will never be resolved. I’ll never get that conversation or phone call from my parents expressing their apologies for not being there to protect me. For not paying attention and missing the changes in my behaviour. I’ll never get the acknowledgment for how well I handled too much fucking pressure as a child. Life is funny, because although these things will never come from the sources of my pain, my friends and sisters for life have apologized for my pain and I theirs. We’ve worked and continue to work together to ease the pain, to thwart the negative voices in our heads that tell us we are not good enough. I am a work in progress and I’m proud of that. I am proud that in spite of my past, I am making sure that my daughter won’t have to spend much of her adult life picking up the pieces of herself.
How do you allow yourself to feel through experiences? (When a feeling comes up how do you work through it?)
Amazingly, one of the positives that have come from experiencing so much craziness is that I have a hard time holding on to negative emotions that overpower all of my other thoughts and feelings. When I can’t shake a feeling, I have an amazing support system in my husband and my sisters (friends). In some situations, just hearing my husband’s voice instantly calms me down. My sisters (most of them) work in the same or similar fields as I do so they know what it’s like to need a reboot from therapy woes.
What does womb healing mean to you as a mother? (Especially as the mother of a daughter.)
Without expressing more than I’m comfortable with, I will say wombs are meant to be celebrated and the power of a woman’s womb is one she should hold. As a mother of a daughter, I plan to embrace my womb and to teach her to embrace her own.
What do you wish to teach your daughter?
I take being a mother more seriously than anything I’ve ever done or will do. My baby (other than my husband) is truly my everything. She looks so much like me that it hurts at times because I never want her to feel the doubt I feel sometimes. I am teaching her to love her beautiful brown self from her curly hair to her little brown toes. I want her to love being brown and embrace all part of her cultural background. I am teaching her to acknowledge her black girl magic to be proud of what she can do and what she knows. I wish for her to be unapologetically smart, beautiful, sexy, brown, and talented. Most of all, I hope to teach her to be free and to think freely without being bogged down by our society and the lingerings of slavery.
As a child therapist, what are your thoughts on children and healing?
I wish the only things children had to heal were scratches and scrapes from falling off their bikes or out of a tree. Unfortunately, that’s not reality so I work hard to teach my therapy kids to love themselves, to believe in their ability to change, and know that they are great and will one day do something great. I work with their parents in hopes to reverse the generational cycles of abuse, self-doubt and lack of self-love. I’m a firm believer in the notion that people do the best they can with what they know. Therefore, my job is to help my parents in learning how to be better so they can be better for their children. As a parent of a toddler and former parent to my siblings I know their struggle and empathize with their struggles.
What is your message for anyone reading this in the midst of, or about to enter their healing journey?
We all have the ability to change. It’s one of the only constants in life. Inside of all of us is light, love and a greatness. Healing is the terrible work we have to do in order to make progress towards better versions of ourselves. I say terrible because healing is hard work. It’s as if some of us have to tear ourselves down and rebuild from scratch. But have you ever seen a house that was torn down and rebuilt to the owner’s specifications and likes. They are magnificent and so are we. We just have to take care of ourselves, pay attention to what we eat and nurture our inner voices.
Do you have any messages for anyone reading this post?
I strongly believe in the ” Live and Let Live” philosophy. We all have different definitions in what the word live means but if you feel as if you’re just existing (as I often have), make changes in your life. Celebrate those changes no matter how small and see how wonderful life can be.
Thank you Denise for sharing your story with The Healing Journey. It is a powerful one that I am sure will inspire those who read it.
Looking for support in your womb healing journey? Click on over to the Womb Wellness Program. This is a program that requires you to dig deep, to face what is stored in the womb and work with it to heal, release and receive. The program combines integrative health coaching, deep womb work and Reiki to support your healing. Read more…
Not ready for the full program? Check out Womb Wellness 101. A series of workshops that educate and empower women not only to reconnect with their bodies but learn how to heal themselves naturally. Together, we look at simple ways to make changes in our lives that benefit our health and wellness. From what foods promote womb wellness to how to decrease your PMS symptoms, Womb Wellness 101 will encourage you to take a proactive role in your health. See what WW101 is coming next. Read more…
If you are interested in sharing your Healing Journey, please email info(at)clarekenty.ca with “The Healing Journey” in the subject line and include a little about yourself and your story, or fill out the form below and I will contact you. Please be aware that The Healing Journey series is primarily about womb healing and womb wellness.
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