Updated: Apr 12, 2021
I never thought I would be there.
It was 2016. I was sitting in a dimly lit room across from a therapist - again. Unlike my previous sessions, I felt it was time to unpack the pain, bitterness, and anger that had been building up inside. I was about to explode. 2015 was the worst year of my life.
The father of my sister's three children murdered her.
After listening to my story about my sister and other hardships I had faced, my therapist, with a very heavy heart yet assured demeanor, uttered four words that changed my life, "Trauma is not normal."
I sat there for what seemed like forever, trying to process what she had said. And then it hit me. I was normalizing my deep sorrow as being a part of the Black experience: You deal with it. You suck it up and move the fuck on. Ther is no time to show weakness. At least, that's what I thought.
My therapist went on to say that it was okay to feel and express emotion. Allowing ourselves to grieve was how the body healed itself. It is how we become strong. It was in that instance that I gave my self permission to ball uncontrollably.
I will never forget that session. It gave me the courage to acknowledge my emotions, to authentically feel my emotions, and how not to accept certain harsh realities as the norm. If we accept our circumstances as the norm, we learn how to dance with them instead of vying for another dance partner altogether. Honestly, I don't want to do the Toosie slide with someone who can't dance.
So, how does my story intersect with money? It starts with a question: What have you accepted as a standard relationship with money that is actually dysfunctional and rooted in financial trauma?
Are you dancing with a mindset that will perpetuate your current situation or improve it?
Believe it or not, there is an industry of financial professionals called financial therapists that can help you unpack, reorganize, and commit to achieving the life you desire.
Sometimes the optimal financial strategy has nothing to do with more financial information. Sometimes it is rooted in intimately understanding our thoughts and emotional responses to the world around us - past, present, and future.
If you, like I once did, struggle with processing your emotions, please consider seeking a therapist (https://therapyforblackmen.org/) or financial therapist (https://www.financialtherapyassociation.org/find-a-ft). Having the capacity to be emotionally vulnerable is the real stunt.
Trauma is not normal.