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 have been so excited to share this incredibly inspiring story of healing. This woman is the depiction of what it is to rise and create your best life no matter what. Derrika Hunt has come from being what she calls “a poor lil Black girl from the hood” to a globetrotter, an advocate, an inspiration and is currently pursuing her PhD. I am so honoured that Derrika is sharing her story with us. It is one well worth knowing.
CK: For those who don’t know you, what’s your story?
DK: My story has been a beautiful coming of age journey. I have found myself, lost myself and found myself again. Statistically, I should not even be here to testify to the ways I’ve healed and unlearned. Yet, in spite of the many obstacles and road blocks that have come my way, someway, somehow- I have survived. If you would have told me: that me, a poor, lil Black girl from “the hood” would go on to travel the world, enter a PhD program at a prestigious university, publish a book and become an advocate for marginalized communities, I would not have believed you- not because I wasn’t capable but because I didn’t think that lil Black girls like me could really move beyond the conditions they were born into. And yet, as I sit here writing these words, all of these things have come to pass or are in the works. When I reflect back over my life, I can’t help but smile and cry all at the same time, because through it all, I am still here.
I have cultivated the deep spirit of resilience that my ancestors and foremothers have used to sustain themselves for centuries. I credit my mother to giving me the tools to transform my life. My mother believed undoubtedly in the power of education. She believed that through my education I would gain the power to rewrite my destiny—and she was right. At the age of 13, I found myself struggling to overcome the pangs of poverty, abuse and my mother’s death. That was such a tumultuous time in my life but one thing remained constant: I could hear my mother’s voice and her continually reminding me that I would overcome. One of the most beautiful things my mother left me with is words. When I was about 7 years old, my mother started to teach me poems written by Black women. I remember how every night after school she would have me recite and memorize these poems. We would stay up into the wee hours of the night and she would teach me to recite them with rhythm, feeling and power. This became a natural part of our daily routine. Poems like, “Ain’t I a woman” by Sojourner Truth and “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou are some of the poems my mother taught me. When I asked my mother why I had to learn these poems she replied “because I want you to always know that regardless of your circumstance you can and you WILL rise above.” Little did I know at the time, but my mother was planting seeds. She planted seeds of hope and transformation. And once she died, those same poems I had learned years before are the words I would recite to myself when I wanted to give up. I would remind myself that as Maya Angelou said, “Out of the huts of history’s shame, I rise, from a past that’s rooted in pain, I rise. I rise. I rise. I rise.”
How would you describe your wombspace?
I imagine my wombspace to be a scared site of healing, transformation and balance. It is the core to my foundation.
When did you become aware of your womb/ womb space?
It’s funny, I had heard of the womb and heard of it as important most of my life, but I honestly hadn’t thought much about it. And then one day I was attending a women’s conference when I was about 22 years old and I went to a session on womb wellness. The session facilitator was so passionate about womb wellness and her presentation was so fresh and exciting she got my attention. She was actually an entrepreneur and get this, her job was to work with women and help them heal and learn womb wellness. I will never forget that presenter because she reminded me and all of the other women in her workshop that we are important, powerful and worthy of taking care of ourselves and to remember that womb wellness is important to overall health and wellness. Ever since then I have been aware of my womb space and aware of its power.
What (if there is one) was your moment of awakening? What was the point where your healing journey began?
I have had many ups and downs on my healing journey. That’s why I love the word journey—because for me, healing is not a set destination, it is however a path I am constantly walking. I think my healing journey began as a child when I would watch my grandmother pray and heal others. My grandmother had a relentless faith. She believed that we had the power to speak healing into our lives. Watching my grandmother had a great influence on my healing journey because even in my teens I would imitate my grandmother by praying or concocting herbal remedies to “heal myself.” Over the past few years the universe has brought so many amazing women into my life—all of whom have helped me navigate my healing journey. Some of these women have been strangers, others have been people I met in passing, some have been colleagues, some have become long-term friends and others were like mothers to me. Though each of these women are different and come from different walks of life, one thing stands out to me, each of them offered me a nudge in the right direction. So I guess for me, there hasn’t been a single moment of awakening, but more of a collection of divine experiences that have guided me.
What (healing) work have you done?
Healing is a journey that is constantly unfolding for me. It is a journey I am deeply committed to. Connecting with elders, reading the writings of Black women who have survived this world and engaging in different forms of art therapy have been some of the ways I have cultivated my own healing. Connecting with other women on the same journey has also been powerful for me. While I was completing my Master’s I met a group of women and we formed a healing circle. The healing circle was a space of affirmation, sisterhood, healing and breaking cycles. In this healing circle I did a lot of healing work, I learned a lot of lessons and most of all it set the tone for my current healing journey.
Do you have a relationship with your womb? What would she say if she could speak?
I feel like my relationship with my womb could be better. I am aware of my womb and its power but often times I neglect her because “I’m too busy.” But completing this interview has reminded me that I need to make time and space to honour and nourish my womb. If she could talk, she would say, “I know you been busy and haven’t had time to take care of me. Don’t beat yourself up. I will be here when you are ready to reconnect.”
There has been a lot of research recently in regards to trauma being passed down in DNA generation to generation, what are your thoughts and feelings about that?
Trauma is something I’m really interested in. In fact, after working as a counsellor for teen girls who had experienced multiple traumas I was inspired to pursue my PhD in Education to learn more about how trauma impacts academic achievement. Lately, I’ve been researching the lasting-impacts of multiple traumas and it hurts me to learn how deep the wounds of trauma can be and how they can pass on from generation to generation. I believe generational trauma is a real phenomenon with real consequences. I think what we understand as generational trauma now was understood by older Black women as generational curses. I remember listening to my grandmother and her friends talk about how cycles of pain and hurt would plague families and follow them for years. At the time she called it a generational curse but I believe what she was really talking about was trauma and legacies of generational trauma. I remember watching women in my community experience this. Many of them were living in poverty, had endured multiple forms of abuse and were struggling to survive. I remember watching these women go through hurt after hurt, without ever being given the space to properly grieve. So although these women were about to function—they were hurting and often times they passed this hurt on to their babies. I believe trauma collects in our bodies, so if a mother is pregnant then I believe her pain can be passed down directly to the baby—that’s the salience of trauma.
Do you have any personal experiences relating to trauma being passed down through the generations of your family?
My mother experienced a great deal of trauma in her life and the women before her and the women before them. I believe Black women have endured legacies of trauma. From histories of colonization, rape, genocide, violence and exclusion– our histories have been so deeply entrenched with trauma. Yet many of these traumas haven’t even been acknowledged as valid and so they often go unresolved. What does it mean to experience trauma after trauma and never have the space to grieve and heal? What happens when you spend your whole life in a state of perpetual trauma? And how are these traumas exacerbated by living in a world that doesn’t even acknowledge you as human? This quote by Ana Castillo truly sums it up for me, “…we grapple with our need to thoroughly understand who we are- and to believe in our gifts, talents, our worthiness and beauty, while having to survive within the constructs of a world antithetical to our intuition and knowledge regarding life’s mean.” (Ana Castillo)
How do you allow yourself to feel through experiences? (When a feeling comes up how do you work through it?)
I’ve been learning how to allow myself to feel whatever it is that I feel. In the past, I would try to change my feelings or make them go away because I would often be ashamed to feel a certain way. If I felt angry, I would feel embarrassed or like I needed to evolve more. But now I try to honour my feelings and remind myself they are valid no matter what. I remind myself that being angry is just as valid as being happy or sad. In moments where I feel like the world is spinning and I need things to slow down, I usually find comfort in painting, reading or writing.
What is your message in the midst of or about to enter their healing journey?
Remember first and foremost to honour your journey. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everything in your life is unfolding divinely. And if it doesn’t feel divine then take the steps necessary to make the kind of changes you hope to make. Don’t let anyone talk you out of living your best life—by your best life, I mean a life you are happy with and proud of. It’s okay if your healing journey doesn’t look like everyone else’s. It’s not supposed to. Your journey is unique and beautiful just like you. And at times you may feel lost and confused, in these times remember to be gentle with yourself. At times you will make mistakes or backtrack, during these times remember to be compassionate and kind to yourself. You will get where you need to be but it may not happen the way you want it to and to that I say, be patient and trust the universe. Maktub.
Do you have any messages for anyone reading this post?
Thank you for taking time to listen to my story. Thank you for your patience in reading what I have to say. I appreciate you and I wish you all the best on your life and healing journey.
Derrika, thank you so very much for being so open and so willing to share your beautiful healing journey. You are such a gift to the world. You add so much joy and illumination to my life and I’m sure those that have crossed your path say the same thing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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