MGU 117 | Black Women's Mental Health

 

Even with the strides we are making when it comes to diversity, it is still very noticeable how white faces dominate the mainstream wellness industry. More than ever, what we need is for more representation in the wellness space for people from different backgrounds, cultures, gender, or ages to feel that they are understood—and rightly so, as wellness should be for everyone. In this episode, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen tackle this important topic that needs to be talked about with guest, Latrice Sampson Richards, LPC-S, CLC. Latrice is a Mental & Emotional Wellness Creative, Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Life-Enhancement Coach, and the CEO of Sampson Therapeutic Services, LLC. Focusing on black women’s mental health and healing in her work, Latrice helps us understand the need for change in the wellness industry, particularly that of calling out the racism that has been taking away opportunities and access for those in the black community to take care of their emotional well-being and more. She also taps into the Black Lives Matter Movement, what it means to live as a black person in America, as well as the problems with whitewashing, gentrification, and cultural appropriation. Plus, Latrice then shares some ways to find joy amidst chaos and traumatic experiences, offering great insights for those in the community and their allies to regard their own wellness and authentic self.

Listen to the podcast here:

The Need For Conversations Around Black Women’s Mental Health And Healing With Latrice Sampson Richards

How To Change Racism In The Wellness Industry

I came across an article called The Urgent Need For A Wellness Industry Designed For & By Black Women. I was grateful to read this because it opened my eyes to how much the mainstream wellness industry is dominated by white faces. This is something that I’ve been taking a look at and examining. The need to see more people represented in the wellness space so that they can feel understood and welcome so that it’s not co-opted by white people, especially white women who tend to be at the forefront of the wellness industry. Latrice said that’s something I would love to hear your perspective on. I know that you are focused on black women’s mental health and healing.

I think there are two sides to this conversation. There’s the side of you supporting black women, but also there’s an opportunity to educate women and anybody who isn’t black to guide this wellness world into a place of more equality and representation. I’m curious for you, what has been your experience with the wellness industry or in your case, the mental health and healing? I don’t know if you would put it fully under that wellness umbrella. What is it that you’ve been noticing? Do you see that a shift is happening or are we still in a place where it’s dominated by white people?

We’re definitely in a space where mental health and wellness are dominated by white people. I don’t think that that’s something that will necessarily ever change. If we look at the history of mental health and wellness, it wasn’t something that was ever created for the benefit of black people. Early on in the history of the establishment of the mental health industry, it was used against black people. It was used to describe black people who were against slavery. Black people didn’t want to be slaves. Black people who raged against the machine as they say, as having some type of illness. It’s always been weaponized when it comes to black and brown bodies, specifically here in America.

Over the years, generations upon generations, there has been this stigma that has been developed around seeking out mental health treatment. Also, engaging in social services as a whole, because there’s never been an opportunity for black people to be able to trust the industry itself. You have this industry that’s extremely dominated by white people who claim that they are here to help. They claim that they want to support us as we move through whatever progression of mental and emotional healing that’s necessary for us.

They don’t ever take the opportunity to understand the reality of our struggles and the reality of what it means to be a black person in America. All of the trauma that’s experienced generationally that has compounded over decades and centuries here in this country and how we are affected by that. With everything that’s been going on with the assassination of George Floyd and a lot of the Black Lives Matter protests that have been going on all over the country and all over the world, I have been flabbergasted by the number of white or non-black clinicians who are unable to separate themselves from their biases for the benefit of their clients. It is very disheartening.

Thank you so much for sharing that and for the work that you’re doing to make it more inclusive and come from a place of understanding from a perspective that somebody who is white can’t, in the same way that you’ll be able to. That relatability I think that we need many more voices in this conversation from people of all different types, that diversity there. As I’ve stepped back and examined my own biases and worked on my anti-racism and being an ally in this world, I’ve also felt amazed. It’s been an eye-opening experience for me to realize how much I’ve surrounded myself or even maybe not purposefully. I would not like to think that I did this purposefully, but working in this wellness world as Jason and I have for long, it was eye-opening when I started to examine who I’ve been around, these voices that I hear and the people I follow on social media, even the people that we’ve had on our show.

That reality check of, “We’ve had a lot of white men and we’ve had a lot of white women on here.” I certainly don’t want to exclude anyone. It’s a tough thing because there’s this one side of wanting to be an ally but then at the same time, there’s only much that I can understand based on my experiences. The beauty in your work is not only speaking out about this but also being a different voice in this conversation. Mental health is important, especially right now with COVID. We have a tough time that we’re in. We do have the racism that we’re addressing simultaneously with COVID and both of those things combined can have a huge impact on mental health. I’m sure you’re seeing a lot of that too.

A lot of people are describing it as a double pandemic that’s taking place and it really is. It’s just that only one of those pandemics is new. The other pandemic of racism, it’s not new. It’s new to people who are waking up to the reality of it. You were saying something about the reality of the fact that you try not to. That hope that you are not the person that is contributing to that and you’re not intentionally doing so. I always think about that whenever I am talking to colleagues that are not black, about working in this space and how they can best support black people. I always try to stress to them that the reality is racism is a pervasive issue.

If there is not implementation, there is no progress. Click To Tweet

Everyone has been impacted by racism, not in the same ways. There are varying levels of intensity. There are varying levels of connection to the racist structures that exist. Everybody has been impacted by it. There are a lot of white people when you say racist, that’s like spitting in somebody’s face. If you say, “You did something racist. You said something racist,” white people tend to get up in arms about that and I guess understandably so because no one wants to be painted as a racist. No one wants to believe that they have racist tendencies. Because racism is pervasive in our country, you can’t help it, not being able to acknowledge the reality of the amounts of pervasiveness. That’s the only word that I can think of because it is a pervasive issue.

Racism is a part of the fabric of America. It is built into the laws. It’s built into the systems. It’s built into how we interact with each other. It’s built into marketing and media. It’s built into how we receive our news. It is a part of America. The longer that we go trying to ignore that fact, the more we are going to end up dividing ourselves and hurting ourselves. The more difficult it’s going to be for us to be able to get over that. Yes, you may not be intentionally engaging in racist behavior or you may not be consciously acting in racist ways or attempting to benefit from the racist structures that exist, but you are participating in it because that’s what America is. That’s how America was built. It’s not much about taking offense to the reality of the racism that exists but being able to identify it so that you can then be intentional about circumventing it or pushing back against it or confronting it. We can’t do that until we are willing and able to acknowledge it within ourselves and the reality that it exists.

I think that’s part of this awakening period for people that aren’t black. The first layer there is self-awareness, acknowledging it and not being afraid to admit it. A lot of people feel confronted by that because we are told not to be racist and yet as you’re saying, our culture supports us in being racist in a lot of ways. That’s something that is important to address, especially for use on the show. Jason and I are both white but a lot of our audiences are white and we want to make sure that they are creating self-awareness for themselves too and not assuming that they’re not racist.

One of the things that have helped me is it’s not enough to say that you’re not racist, but you have to be adamant about acting anti-racist, making these decisions and growing your awareness. I’m grateful that you’re bringing that up to Latrice because our aim here is to educate and inspire our audience to think differently and this is uncomfortable. The title of our show is about getting uncomfortable and this specific topic can feel uncomfortable for a lot of people in a lot of different ways. We’re grateful to have you here to speak openly about it.

Having the opportunity to come and speak about it, because I think it’s one of those things where we have to be willing to educate each other. We have to be willing to invite each other into spaces that can allow us to be able to impact perspectives, perceptions, thought processes and modes of taking action. This is a space that you all hold within your community is a space that is not necessarily that I wouldn’t be welcomed in that space because I’m comfortable wherever I go. The idea of me being in that space would be it’s more of an afterthought than something that’s brought up to the forefront.

You taking the opportunity to be intentional about reaching out to me and say, “I want us to have this conversation. I want to share this conversation with my audience so that if they never hear these words anywhere else, you know that you have provided them with an opportunity to hear it here.” Taking that action and allowing me access to your audience that they can be exposed to the truth and the reality of what it means to be black in America, what it means to be a black woman in America and how that impacts our mental health. It’s not lost on me for sure.

I wanted to acknowledge something that I’ve looked deeper into myself for any ways that I have been perhaps myopic in terms of my appreciation of black culture in the sense that if I look at a lot of my heroes that are authors, musicians, and entertainers. I look at many of them that have shaped my creative life as an artist. Many of them are black men and black women. I realized that I had never taken a deeper look into the black experience or the history. I feel like as an offshoot of that, it feels to me like a lot of people I have discourse with, they think that African history begins with slavery. They don’t acknowledge from what I’ve been learning the deep contributions to mathematics, astronomy, medicine, architecture, and civilization. Most of those things are not ignored but intentionally suppressed. Thinking about a lot of philosophers that maybe we give adherence to from Greek cultures, like Socrates and Plato.

Those guys spent years in Africa learning from African philosophers but we never hear about that kind of stuff. For me, it’s acknowledging my ignorance in all this. Also, acknowledging how black artists and authors and luminaries have impacted my life and touched my soul in a way then beyond that going, “I don’t want to stop there. I want to learn more about what this experience is? What history is so that I don’t stop at education and inspiration.” It seems like my journey in this has been feeling inspired. I’m going to educate myself on a deeper level, but beyond awareness and education, it seems that it’s been fostering a deeper sense of empathy in my heart, but then also action. I’m curious, is that a typical process of like, “We don’t want to stop at education awareness. How do we make that jump into actual empathy, but then taking action beyond that?”

Acknowledging the gray area is where the growth happens. Click To Tweet

That’s a huge part of your work, isn’t it Latrice? I’m on your website and you have these three pillars or three basic steps, which is to identify, educate, implement. Implementation is the action Jason’s talking about, right?

Yes, it is. Anything in life that you are trying to accomplish, I believe those three steps are the steps that you have to take to be able to manifest that thing and see that thing come into fruition. That’s for the tangible, as well as for the intangible. You have to identify, educate, and implement. I have a masterclass and it’s a free masterclass called EmpowHER Your Vision Masterclass. It’s extremely powerful because it walks you through those three steps. One of the things that I stress in that masterclass and all of my teachings is that all three are important, but the most important is implementation because there is no change without implementation. The definition of change, by definition, it means that you’ve got to do some shit differently. You have to do something different.

If you are learning new things. If you’re identifying what the issue is, you’re educating yourself about why you’re in that space, you’re educating yourself about what needs to happen to get out of that space, but you’re not doing anything different, then the first two steps meant absolutely nothing. By definition, to change is to do something different. It is to implement. If there is no implementation, there is no progress, no growth, no forward movement. The implementation piece is important. In my opinion, it is the most important piece of the entire system.

Extrapolating this on a bigger level, Latrice, as I’ve been becoming more educated on the corruption of many systems in this country, from the financial system to real estate to media. We look at pretty much damn near every system there is that they are skewed to exclude and promote racism in these structures and systems against people of color and favor white people, in particular white men. I’m looking at this and one conversation that I’ve been having with friends of mine and many of them, people of color, is like, “Is reform possible? Is it even something we should be focusing on or should we rather focus our efforts on dismantling a system that no longer works and reinventing something from scratch?” I’m curious what your thoughts are on in terms of systemic change, whether reform can be beneficial or if we should be focusing on lack of a better word tearing the whole damn thing down and starting from scratch? If that’s even possible.

I think it’s a combination of the two. I’m not one of those. I’m a gray-area kind of person. One of my best friends is very black and white. It’s like a running joke between the two of us where I’m like, “Come on into the gray spaces because there’s a lot that happens in the gray.” Life exists in the gray space. For some reason, especially in America, we want everything to be black or white. Either you are a Republican or you are a Democrat. Either you are the 1% or you are the 99%. Either you are this or you are that. We don’t want to acknowledge the reality of the girth of the gray space, but existing and acknowledging that gray space is where the bulk of the growth is going to happen.

When it comes to reforming versus dismantling, I think a little bit of both needs to happen. The idea of dismantling a system and completely tearing a system down is a hefty goal. It’s something that requires a great deal of time, effort, and structured and intentional collaboration across multiple races, classes, economic groups, educational statuses. It’s going to require ‘all hands on deck’ type of mentality. I do believe that that can happen at some point in time. The way that we get to that point in time is through intentional reform, being intentional about collaborating on reforms in little pockets that impact the system equates to a complete overhaul of the system. I know that there are a lot of people who don’t believe that that’s something that can happen, but I’m an optimist, a realist.

I’m a silver lining kind of girl. I’m a therapist by trade, which means that I innately have to believe in the power of change and that human beings can change and that we can facilitate change. Because I have that undying belief in humanity, I have to believe that at some point in time, we can get to the place that we all want and need to be. We need to be realistic about what that’s going to look like and how much time it’s going to take for us to be able to get there.

I saw that with your work. One of the common words that you use is healing as well as manifesting. One thing that we were examining was whether or not manifestation in a way is a privilege. Do you think that this idea of, if you want something bad enough or you think about it or you’re visualizing it, is that something that’s available to everybody or is that something that’s limited to privilege? It’s examining all of these different practices and wondering, “Is what we’re recommending universal? Is it available to everyone? Is it about equality or is it something that may be more complicated than that?” It is not as easy as wanting something or willing something or praying for it, visualizing it. I’m curious about your experience with manifestation and your perspective on that.

MGU 117 | Black Women's Mental Health

Black Women’s Mental Health: Racism is a part of the fabric of America. It is built into the laws and the systems, how we interact with each other, and into marketing and media.

 

Manifestation is not a privilege. It is a birthright. I wholeheartedly believe that every human being that exists and that has ever existed has the right and the ability to manifest. I think where privilege comes in is in the idea of what we hope to manifest or the timelines sometimes around how long it will take to manifest. In essence, the ability to manifest. What our perception of the ability to manifest looks like. That’s where the privilege comes into play. When I teach about manifestation, I’m teaching the reality of what manifestation looks like. This idea of the Law of Attraction and manifestation and even yoga, meditation, and all of those metaphysical types of things have been whitewashed and much gentrified like every black neighborhood in America.

There’s this gentrification of these ideas like Jason said that originated in Africa and African spirituality. It has been extremely whitewashed and the marketing of it has painted it as something that is only for a certain group of people. A lot of the basis of my work, specifically working with black women is to make sure that we understand that healing and manifestation do belong to us. It is something that we deserve. It is something that we are capable of because the marketing of it, the trending topics, and the news articles and the imagery that we see around it completely cuts us out of it. That doesn’t mean that it’s not ours. It is our birthright as is every human being’s birthright.

The privilege comes in the painting of the picture. It’s available to anyone. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are. You can manifest whatever it is you hope to manifest. My goal is to teach people specifically black people, black women, the skills that we need to do that in real life. Doing away with the imagery that has been burned into our minds, telling us that this is not for us, that this doesn’t belong to us, and showing us how we can get it in our everyday lives.

With that, Latrice, you working with your clients in Trust Village. I saw your amazing Facebook group. I love the energy and the vibe that you have there. With many generations of subjugation, oppression, and systemic racism. We go through the whole gamut of everything psychologically that is in the DNA, the lineage. You’re talking about reclaiming what’s yours with healing, manifestation and royalty. What comes to my mind is looking at the deep roots and history of Africa. What are some of the psychological or emotional blocks that you help black women with that might be coming up for them in terms of say self-worth issues, or maybe not-enoughness or victim consciousness? I’m using those as examples in the conversation, but what are some things you see come up and that you help women work with to maybe get past those things and come into their full worth, their full value, and ownership of what they want in life?

I’ve embarked upon my journey. My client avatar, which is what we say in the entrepreneurship world, is me. I am an ideal client. My journey mirrors that of many black women in America who are educated, and looking for strong, supportive and nurturing relationships. Having a great deal of emotional trauma, some of us physical trauma that we’re having to find our way around. A lot of the women that I work with deal with a lot of the same things that most women deal with. A lot of the black women that I work with deal with a lot of the same things that most black people deal with. I think the struggle is where those two characteristics intersect with each other.

We’re not only plagued by the struggles of black people. We’re not only plagued with the struggles of women. We are plagued with both. That’s a unique intersection that I think gets overlooked by a lot of people who are charged with the responsibility of assisting in those areas. I focus on setting boundaries, being able to communicate appropriate expectations. I focus on healing from past traumas and being able to change our perspective and the way that we see things. I focus on making deep, meaningful connections with other human beings and allowing ourselves to be released from negative and toxic relationships. It is something that a lot of black women struggle with because we have been socialized for hundreds of years to put everyone else before ourselves.

It doesn’t matter what anyone says. It doesn’t matter what anyone does. It doesn’t matter that they hurt your feelings. It doesn’t matter how they treat you. You still have a responsibility to turn the other cheek. After all, you are the nurturer, because you are a strong one. You can’t have feelings. You can’t show your feelings. You can’t be upset about something. You have to bottle up your emotions, take it, and continue to give and give because they’re going to keep asking and asking and demanding. I work with black women around permitting themselves to say no and to protect our mental and emotional headspace. Permitting ourselves to walk away from relationships that are not serving us.

To be intentional about finding relationships that can nurture and support us, about healing, our relationship with money, and with our finances, about putting ourselves out on a limb, taking a chance on ourselves to attempt at manifestation. Reclaiming our birthrights of manifestation and doing so from a genuine place of healing, a genuine place of joy. Those are everything that I talk about. Every lesson that I teach comes back to one of those categories because that’s the reality of our existence as black women.

Manifestation is not a privilege; it is a birthright. Click To Tweet

You started to have your agency and sovereignty as a black woman manifest in a different way. As you’re practicing this for yourself, as you said, you’re your ideal avatar. What kind of things did you notice in terms of how people would react or respond to you, Latrice, and likewise with the women you work with as they start commanding that true inner voice and leveraging their full power? How are people responding to that? What kind of things do you notice in people’s interactions with you?

There are three different reactions. I call them my villagers, my followers, my supporters, and my students. I call them my villagers because it’s a Trust Village. I always try to prepare my villagers for the three different types of reactions or responses that you might get as you begin to embark upon your change journey. One is ideal. You get the person that is happy for you, that you’re making these changes, supportive of your changes. Maybe like, “Damn, it’s about time.” Supportive and kind of ‘got your back’ type of person. That’s the ideal response. Some people maybe a little hesitant to get on board with your changes.

It’s not much that they don’t want to see you do better, or that they don’t want to see your progress and grow and manifest. It’s that they are used to experiencing you in a certain type of way. Now that you’ve decided that you want to become this new person, or now that you’ve decided that you want to make these changes, it’s going to take them a little bit of time to get familiar with who this new person is. I think that’s a healthy way of growing a relationship and moving through a relationship. If you see someone who may not necessarily get it right every single time, but they are making the effort to support your new boundaries, to support whatever your endeavors are, to understand where you’re coming from and why you’re making these changes. You start to see that they are getting on board over time. I think that’s a relationship that’s worth saving.

You then have that third category and those are the people that they don’t give a shit about your growth. They don’t care that you’re trying to better yourself. They don’t care that you’re doing something that makes you happy or that you are in pursuit of genuine and pure joy in your life. They want you to stay where you are because that version of you benefits them. Whatever state you were in within that relationship serves them best and they don’t want you to make those changes. They don’t want you to become a better version of yourself because they lose out. That’s to the detriment of them. Those are the people that try to make it difficult for you to make changes or try to convince you that your quest is feudal. Those are the people that try to tear you down or start rumors about you or are intentional about pointing out to you how difficult the path that you’re trying to take is.

Those are the people that you need to run in the opposite direction. Those are the people that are not meant to be a part of your life. Those are the people that it’s time to shed. I go into a lot more detail about that in my masterclass. I do a module called It Takes A Village. We talk about how to find your people. One of the things that I teach is, you have two different types of people. You have your PRN people, and then you have your core people. Your core people are the people that you’re going to do life with. Those are your supporters. Not always family members, but people that you know are like family. Then you have your PRN people. PRN is like when you go to the doctor’s office and they write you a prescription for some pain pills or something like that and on the bottle, it says, “PRN. Take as needed.”

Your PRN people are people who serve a specific purpose in your life and when their purpose is over, it’s time for them to move on. That purpose can be one of many different things. It can be a lesson that you’re needing to learn about people. It can be a lesson that you’re needing to learn about yourself. It can be a lesson that you need to learn about how you feel about certain things, what you want, what your needs are. It can be a lot of different things. Once they have served their purpose in your life, then it’s time for you to let them go. I think a lot of times we try to hold on to PRN people that are well past their expiration date and that’s what causes us the level of pain and frustration that we experienced in our relationships. That third category that I mentioned, more than likely those are PRN people who are well past their expiration date and they’re realizing that it’s time for them to be dropped off. They don’t want to do that because they don’t benefit from your healing.

It seems to me the archetypes that you detailed so brilliantly mirror in certain ways. I wonder if you vibe with us the way my mind is going. The way that people are responding to Black Lives Matter and amplifying black voices and talking about equal rights and granting more, not equality, but respect and love and empathy for people of color. I’ve often sat and thought about the deep psychological basis for why people feel threatened by the idea of creating a level playing field or granting reparations or extending equal rights. There are many to this conversation, but psychologically, I suppose tying this into white fragility and the idea of, “I might lose money. I might lose the privilege. I might lose power.”

It seems to me that a lot of this mentality is not wanting things to change is based on this fear of losing out or losing status, losing money, losing privilege. Sometimes I don’t understand why people can’t see that there’s enough for everyone. That there’s enough wealth to be distributed equally, respectfully and righteously. That there are enough jobs and that we can level the playing field and some people are freaking the fuck out at this idea. What do you think are the underlying psychological reasons why people are violently opposing this? What are they afraid of?

MGU 117 | Black Women's Mental Health

Black Women’s Mental Health: The longer that we go trying to ignore that racism is a part of America, the more we are going to end up dividing ourselves and hurting ourselves.

 

I think it’s multilayered. One which is probably the thickest layer is socialization and there has been since the beginning of the US. Even before the US was officially founded, from the first time that those handfuls of individuals said, “Fuck the queen, fuck the king. We’re going to do our own thing.” Then they came on over here. There has always been an underlying fear tactic that has been used to get people to do what they want them to do. As race relations developed in America, from the beginning, that fear tactic got more and more sophisticated to the point where it is baked into the fabric of our country.

From a psychological standpoint, there’s this internal fear that has been reinforced over and over that if one group increases in power, it innately decreases the power of another group. That’s the black and white nature of America. Not wanting to acknowledge the gray space. Not wanting to admit that there is gray space and that making sure that this family has food on their table does not innately take food off of your table. There’s food to go around. You don’t have to be afraid of allowing another group to exist. I think there’s that fear of scarcity that is irrational, especially in America that has been baked into the fabric of the country.

The other piece of that is the idea that has been baked in. This idea that a particular group of people is innately undeserving of whatever power, joy, comfort, or whatever it might be. Whatever the thing is, equality, justice, because of who they are, because of how they show up in this world, that those people are completely undeserving of empathy, of equality, and a fair shot. There have historically been astronomical levels of cognitive dissonance that has existed amongst white people in America. I think because of the ferocious newness of the atrocities that have taken place over these hundreds of years at the hands of white people in America, and then this ferocious devotion to Christianity and the reality that those two things don’t match up. The reality that it’s not logical for someone to believe in God and believe in the Bible and believe in Jesus and also, have the level of hatred that they have in their hearts and their beings for another human being. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t match up.

The cognitive dissonance sets in and to be able to move past that cognitive dissonance to be able to function mentally and emotionally, we have to convince ourselves that our actions are justified. The only way to do that is to dehumanize the person that our actions are being directed toward. In this particular case, it’s an entire group of people that our actions are being intentionalized on. We have to believe that black people are innately undeserving. That they are horrible people and not intelligent enough. That they don’t have any empathy. That they are all rapists, murderers and thieves. That if we give them any type of power, if we give them any type of empathy, they are going to do to us what we’ve done to them for hundreds of years. That’s not the case. The reality is that we want to live. We want you all to leave us the fuck alone and let us live. That’s all we’re asking for is let us live.

That is what we’re asking for. Let us live the way that we want to live. Let us be able to feed our families. Let us be able to get an education. Let us be able to express ourselves creatively. We’re not trying to hold a grudge. We’re trying to live. The idea of that means to see me as a human. For a country that as for hundreds of years, had to systemically dehumanize an entire group of people, we can’t allow ourselves to see you as human because then we have to reckon with the atrocities and the egregiousness of the atrocities that we have inflicted upon you. For the vast majority of people, they don’t have the emotional maturity to be able to handle that.

One of your posts online was talking about how important it is for the youth to have a safe space to heal and how dysfunctional adults were once emotionally injured who never learned how to process those emotions and how we have a responsibility to create spaces for them. It was wonderful to read that and I think this is also part of the conversation is we have to step outside of our egos. Not just for ourselves, but for children and whether they’re our children or somebody else’s children and working through our emotional injuries. I think that’s a huge part of therapy and mental health is taking that personal responsibility.

Also, built into the fabric of America is the inability to communicate effectively about emotions. There is this machismo that has been built into America. What it means to be a strong and powerful nation is to fuck over other people and never let them see you sweat. Never break and always presenting this hard exterior. That is also something that has been universally bred in Americans. We have a society that is incapable of accepting emotional truths, that is incapable of communicating the reality of what we’re feeling in a way that is conducive to healing. I was talking to a group of young ladies. I do some work with this nonprofit organization here in South Florida called Young Women Impacting Neighborhoods. We meet with the girls virtually. We meet with them every Thursday and we talk about different topics. I facilitated the conversation and we were talking about identifying negative emotions.

One of the things that I stressed to them is that we have to expand our emotional vocabulary and be able to understand the basis of our feeling. The base of our feeling gives us information about the appropriate way to communicate that and respond to it. The issue that we run into more often than not is that feelings that have a similar base thing like embarrassment, shame, and guilt are similarly based on anger and sadness, some mix of anger and sadness. Society makes it a lot more acceptable to express anger than it is to express embarrassment, hurt, shame or guilt. We default to anger because it’s close enough. Anger is the only universally acceptable negative expression of emotion. We say that it’s politically correct to say that anger is not okay, but the truth is that anger is the only socially acceptable expression of negative emotion. If I’m embarrassed, I can express it as anger.

Society has taught us that anger is the only acceptable expression of emotion. We need to normalize healthy expression of emotion. Click To Tweet

If I am hurt, I can express it as anger. If I am feeling guilty or shameful, I can express it as anger before I can be accepted in terms of expressing it as the truth of what it is. It’s the reality of the country that we live in. I think it’s going to take for us to normalize healthy expression of emotion for us as a collective people, but specifically, black people to be able to get to a place where we feel comfortable. Thankfully there has been a lot of progress in that area. I feel hopeful, not just in the black community, but in America in general. I feel hopeful about the direction that we’re going in, in terms of our emotional expression because it’s becoming trendy. I have some iffy feelings about that but I also believe that it doesn’t matter why it starts, what matters is why it continues. I had to do my part in making sure that while this is trending, we can reach the people who are jumping on a bandwagon and get them to make some real lifelong changes.

It’s a blessing that mental health is trending and we can relate to that. I think Jason and I get triggered when the work that we’re doing becomes trendy because then you think like, “Are we going to look like everybody else?” Our work is based on our passion, similar to you, Latrice. Our shared passion for mental health and helping with people’s emotional well-being is a big mission of ours. There are times you get annoyed when a lot of people feel like they’re hopping on the bandwagon, but as you said, simultaneously grateful for it because this isn’t about dominating a field. Going back to the scarcity mentality, there are many people on this planet that if we can get everybody talking about the same thing, then that makes a bigger difference than a few people talking about it because you don’t know who you’re going to reach.

We need all different types of people talking about it. It also reminds me of sustainability and environmental issues. A lot of people are talking about it, but we still have a long way to go. There are a lot of people that are in resistance to climate change and they don’t see why it matters if they buy things in plastic or they drive their cars and have a lot of pollution. In our case, we’re passionate about the plant-based diet and educating people on that. After over ten years of working in that field, I’m constantly meeting people that don’t know that much about the plant-based diet or sustainability.

I think the same thing is true with mental health and emotional well-being and wellness in general. There are still many people that have never tried a yoga class or have never meditated before or don’t know anything about manifestation. I think it’s easy for us since we’re in that world to feel like everybody’s talking about something, but the reality is we still have a long way to go and that’s the benefit of something being trendy.

I’m from New Orleans, born and raised. Before the Saints won the Super Bowl, it wasn’t a good thing to be a Saints fan. I grew up in a Saints household. We went through the bound paper bags and everything. We are hardcore Saints fans in my household growing up and then all of a sudden, we have this comeback team post-Katrina. The whole world was cheering us on to make this huge comeback from Hurricane Katrina. Then we win the fucking Super Bowl and the entire world now is a Saints fan. Everybody is wearing black and gold. Everybody is on the bandwagon. I can tell you that the city felt some kind of way about that.

At the same time though, we were grateful for that level of support because it allowed the city to start coming back faster than it normally would have. We have more eyes in the city now. Whereas before, people could get away with not doing what needed to be done and to support the city and to rebuild the city. It was a little bit easier to get things done but not fully. There are still some parts of New Orleans that look like hurricane Katrina happened yesterday. Those are the black neighborhoods that have not yet been gentrified. Overall, it put more eyes on the issues that existed in the city.

We’ll take those bandwagoners, and hopefully, we’ll be able to convert some of them that don’t want to be a part of the trend, but be a part of the long-term healing of our country because it’s going to take everyone. It is all hands on deck kind of situation. I’m grateful to be a part of that. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to participate in many people’s journeys because I believe that those individual journeys are what make the collective change. I’m a huge proponent of individual healing because the individuals make up the collective and if every person in the collective is contributing to the collective from an emotionally healthier place, then that makes the collective emotionally healthier.

I witnessed some of this happening too during the last few months of Black Lives Matter. Noticing the response from some people that didn’t seem to care in the past, didn’t seem to be allies, and then suddenly it was like in some ways trendy, or there was a lot of pressure to show your support. I’m curious how you felt about that. We could even look at the wellness industry and the same is true for me and Jason. We weren’t being as intentional about bringing on diverse voices. Diversity meaning so much more than skin color. It grew our awareness and there were moments where I thought, “Is it going to look like we’re just performative or whatever. It’s been an interesting experience as a white person because your eyes are being opened and you want to be supportive, but there’s this fear of being performative. We simultaneously need to be taking more action here.

MGU 117 | Black Women's Mental Health

Black Women’s Mental Health: Built into the fabric of America is the inability to communicate effectively about emotions.

 

It’s always interesting when this growing awareness, even if it’s not considered trendy per se because I don’t like that word in this context. When that awareness is raised and more people are doing things, it’s probably ultimately more important that we do them, even though we might be afraid to be seen as not I’m doing it for the right reasons. Does that make sense? I’m curious about what your experience has been, as you’ve seen all these changes happening over the last few months, and I’m sure you’re noticing things that haven’t changed yet. There was this one brand that Jason and I are big supporters of. I went on their social media and they haven’t mentioned Black Lives Matter at all. I felt discouraged by that. I’m looking through their social media, looking for people that aren’t white in this wellness brand and thinking, “I can’t even believe that you’re not making public changes.” I don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes with them and what their reasons are and it’s an interesting time for that.

From where I stand, it’s always important to be true to yourself, whatever that means. You have to be able to stand in your truth. You have to be able to defend your truth if that’s what needs to happen. Not necessarily feeling obligated to defend your truth but having the ability to say, “This is how I feel. I may not like your truth. I may not agree with your truth, but I can respect the fact that you are holding true to it.” It’s important to be open to understanding other people’s truths. I think that’s where the breakdown tends to occur when it comes to discussing race and racism in America.

I don’t care for the word ‘trendy’ either but that is what’s happening. This idea of being anti-racist is trendy. I have my ideas about why I think that is, why people seem to be as impacted by this instance because this is not the first time that anything like this has happened. Over the last 5 to 6 years, we have seen a ridiculous number of unarmed black men and women get shot down in the middle of the street, on street corners, in parks, in Walmart, in their cars with their wives and children indiscriminately. We’ve seen this happen on camera over and over.

It was almost like the perfect storm because we had three incidents that took place back to back in a time where people are sitting around at home with shit else to do. We couldn’t lose ourselves in our day-to-day life and say, out of sight is out of mind, like we’ve been able to do in the past. We had to focus on it because we’re not doing anything else. We have these three instances that showed three different sides of the same problem. It was virtually impossible to ignore it. We have the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery who was taking a run, going for a jog, minding his own business. He was hunted down by a group of vigilantes that went unpunished for murdering this man in broad daylight for no reason. Shortly after that, we get the video of Amy Cooper in the park who displayed what looks like to be a white woman in America and have the privilege.

To be able to weaponize that privilege against a black person. In that video we saw her put on the theatrics, we saw her balloon a situation that didn’t need to be ballooned in that way, all because she was asked to put a leash on her dog, which is like a law. It’s a common thing that people ask you to do but because it was a black man that asked her to do it, she was mean and nasty to him. She got on the phone with the police and fabricated a story and painted herself as a victim. I think that a lot of white women were impacted by that because it mirrored their behavior to them.

Whether you realize it or not, I’m sure that few white women exist in America, that haven’t painted themselves as the victim in that way to get whatever it is they want. That’s not a white woman thing. That’s a woman thing. I am not above dropping a tear to get my husband to do what I want him to do. Let’s be clear that that’s not a white woman’s exclusive thing. That’s a woman thing, but in that instance, we saw how something that can be innocuous becomes potentially deadly when it is weaponized against a group of people. She was saying to him, “I’m going to call the police and I’m going to tell them that a black man is harassing me or attacking me.”

The way she said it, it was a threat. She threatened him with his blackness. She knew what she was doing and we have the Ahmaud Arbery incident. Almost immediately after that, we have this Amy Cooper incident that takes place and then shortly after that, we see George Floyd have the life snuffed out of him over the course of a twelve-minute video. We see a closeup of the face of the person who is killing him, knowing that he’s killing him and visibly taking joy at that moment. It was these back to back experiences that happened in a span of collective attention. The audience was a captive audience at that moment. There was no way to go on with life as usual because everybody is sitting down, nobody is doing anything. All you can do is think about those three incidents that took place back to back.

I think that was the catalyst. The combination of those things that sparked the pressure that we see being placed on companies and organizations and individuals to take responsibility because it’s not something that can be ignored anymore. If you don’t believe that Black Lives Matter, I would rather you say it and own it and be upfront about it so that I can know who you are and I can act accordingly. If your favorite company or your favorite brand does not support the Black Lives Matter movement or is not willing to even acknowledge that black lives matter, I think that that’s important information for you to have and that you should take that information and act accordingly.

There is no change without implementation. Click To Tweet

Similar to what you’re saying too, not only is this a time where we have to face the reality of what’s going on, but we also have fewer excuses not to take action towards change. When the protests were going on in Los Angeles, they were so in your face at the beginning and I’m sure there are some that are continuing in this city but less apparent. There was no excuse not to go out and participate unless the COVID was a huge concern for you but given the amount of time that we have on our hands now for most of us and not everybody. I remember thinking like, “How hard is it to step outside your door when there are protests happening all around your city and you can walk to them and do something about it?”

Also the opportunity to take that extra time you may have to read a book, to watch a documentary on something and to raise your awareness of this. I certainly feel grateful for that. It’s given me an opportunity as you said, I can’t ignore it anymore. I can’t pretend that this isn’t my problem. I need to do something about this and I’m fortunate enough that I have that time and space in my life at this moment to make it a priority. To read those books and to read the articles and to have the conversations. Going back to what you were saying about the silver lining, Latrice, it is a wonderful thing that we can have. We’re encouraged to have these conversations like there’s an openness in a lot of ways for many people to have these discussions online and even the hard discussions.

We’ve seen a lot of interesting things happen. Some people that we know used to have a brand that had a racist name and they were called out stronger than ever. They finally decided to change the name of their brand. I don’t know if that would have happened were it not for this. It’s interesting to witness things like that because you wonder, is it performative or is it like you’re saying the fact that we can’t ignore this anymore and that we have to do something about it? It’s a great opportunity in that sense. I’m curious for you, Latrice, how has that affected the mental health of your community? The women that are part of your programs and in your groups, how have they been responding to this? Has this been more challenging for their mental health or has it in a way helped with their healing? What’s been the response and what are some things that you’re observing in the people that you help with therapy and coaching and all the work that you do?

It’s an interesting dynamic because all of these things that we’re witnessing that are being highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement, this newfound consciousness around race relations and racism in America. It’s not new to the black community. This is like a dinner table conversation and has been for my entire life. It’s new to people outside of our community. This is an eye-opening situation for people who don’t have to live this every single day about the reality of what it means to exist in black skin anywhere in America.

It’s not necessarily a new phenomenon for us or something that we are newly trying to wrap our collective minds around. I think that we are still impacted in so far as the impact of the threat itself on our actual lives and the lives of the people that we love. My husband is a black man. My husband is from Jamaica. He moved to America a month before we got married. Where my husband is, the police are not as absolute as it is here. They don’t all the time respect the police. When my husband first came here, that was right around the time that Mike Brown was murdered by the police in the middle of the street in Ferguson.

I remember when all of that was taking place, my husband was going somewhere like he was getting in the car to go somewhere and I felt this overwhelming fear because he’s a dark-skinned black man. He’s 6’2”. He’s loud and aggressive when he speaks because he’s a Jamaican and they are loud and aggressive. I remember saying to him like, “When you go out there if you get pulled over or anything like that, you cannot talk back to the police officer.” At that time, we were in Texas. I say, “You cannot talk back. Do what they tell you to do.” He’s like, “Babe, I’m a big man.” I was like, “Your job is to come home to me. I don’t give a shit what you have to do to come home to me, but your job and your number one responsibility is to come home to me every single day. If that means that you need to shut the hell up when a police officer is talking to you, then you do that. Your job is to come home to me and don’t ever let anything stop that from happening.”

That’s a conversation that nonblack people don’t have any experience with because it’s not a concern. It’s not a worry. It’s a genuine worry and concern for me when my husband leaves this house. I know that there’s a possibility he won’t come back. That the reason for him not coming back is purely the color of his skin and that’s a scary thought. That’s something that black women all over the country are experiencing about their husbands, their brothers, their fathers, their children, their nephews, and nieces, aunts. The whole nine yards. Black bodies are completely and expendable in America. That reality is where the struggle lies because we have to find a balance between recognizing and preparing for that reality that we can try to extend our lives for as long as we can. While also not caving or buckling under the weight of that reality. It’s a continual balancing act that has to happen. That video of George Floyd and all of the videos of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, all of it.

It’s not the fact that it’s happening much or the basis of why it’s happening that affects us as much as it does. It’s the reality, the possibility of it, and the reality that it could be you. It could be someone that you love. That is a real and present threat in our lives every single day, but that we also have to find a way to keep living and keep trying to find joy and keep pushing. Some days it’s easier than others. Some days it feels more apparent than others. Some days it’s more difficult to categorize or to compartmentalize than other days. A huge part of what I teach is, how do you compartmentalize not that reality, but all of the different things that we deal within a day-to-day basis? How do you find a way to pull lessons, identify the lessons that our experiences, whether direct or indirect have to teach us, and then implement those lessons moving forward to facilitate our growth? Whatever comes our way, whatever it is that we’re dealing with or whatever it is that we’re facing on any given day, we have the tools that we need to be able to face that.

MGU 117 | Black Women's Mental Health

Black Women’s Mental Health: We have a society that is incapable of accepting emotional truths, that is incapable of communicating the reality of what we’re feeling in a way that is conducive to healing.

 

On a deep cellular level, everything that you have eloquently described, it’s an interesting thing to hear you speak about your experience, the black experience in America. As a white facing man, I have no direct experience of what that is like. Also, on a physical level, I feel even though I don’t have direct experience, a sense of empathy for what that must be like to every single day leave your house and feel that fear. Even as you were describing, even if you’re respectful, and even if you keep quiet, even knowing that that’s not a guarantee that your life won’t be threatened.

It’s almost like no matter what you do, because of the color of your skin every day, you leave the house, go out into the street, drive a car, there’s always the possibility of violence or death. From a mental health perspective, how do you find joy amidst the weight of history, the weight of the present, the weight of all of the systems being designed to oppress and destroy you? I’m asking this in a real way. How do you maintain a sense of joy amidst all of this chaos and madness? How do you find that for yourself and how do you teach others to do that?

I live all of my teachings, everything that I teach in my Masterclass and my Academy. I have an online membership program called Trust Village Academy. My show, Unicorns Talk, everything that I teach across any of my platforms, I live in my day-to-day life. Those two are the same for me. The way that I find joy and that I recommend anybody find joy is to indulge in yourself. It’s going inward and connecting with the reality of who you are, the truth of who you are, and indulging in that to find your joy.

What I mean by that is, because of the way that black people are viewed and have always been viewed in America, I started early on this idea of having to present yourself as respectable. We call it Respectability Politics. It’s the idea that to be respected, you have to earn the respect. You don’t get respect from the simple fact that you are a human being and that it’s your birthright to be respected. You have to present yourself as someone worthy of respect. That’s something that goes back to slavery time. Like most of these things go back to slavery time. Whereas black people we’re constantly feeling the need to prove to white people that we deserve to be a whole man.

That has been inbred and ingrained in black culture and the black community for hundreds of years since the beginning of our experience in America. It still exists now. One of the things that we struggle with individually and collectively is painting a picture or trying to fit the mold. We don’t want to be the angry black woman. If I’m having a situation at work with another coworker, which happens all the time, coworkers disagree about things but because I am the black woman, I have to be intentional about the words that I use. I have to be intentional about my tone. I have to be intentional about my facial expressions. I don’t want to make anybody feel uncomfortable because then they’re going to dismiss me as the angry black woman. Apparently, according to society, black women are always angry. We have a whole lot of reasons to be pissed off most of the time. It’s always seen as a negative thing and you learn how to put on the face.

We call it code-switch, where you learn how to exist in alternate worlds, and what I teach is taking a break from that from time to time. I wish that I could say, “Fuck the code-switching.” I wish that I could rage against the machine and fuck all of that and you don’t have to do all of that but that’s not realistic. It’s not realistic for what it means to be a black person in America, especially if you’re trying to exist in corporate spaces. We have to know how to jump in and out of those worlds. There is no way around that. We have to know how to exist in both of those worlds. What I advocate for is finding yourself in both of those spaces, being able to be as authentic to yourself as you can, and taking a break from wearing the mask and indulge in yourself.

It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture. It can be something as small as trying sushi for the first time. That’s one of the things that I indulged in because black people don’t eat sushi. Black people don’t eat raw fish. It’s always been painted as something that white people do. That’s not a black person thing. I’ve always been intrigued by sushi. It’s like a little ball of rice with some fish on it. I’m from New Orleans and we love seafood. I’m intrigued by that and one of the things that I did is I made this list of ten things. I call it my list of shit to do. On my list of shit to do, I put “try sushi” on there. I went to a sushi restaurant and I sat down and I ordered about five different types of sushi. I did that by myself and I tried sushi for the first time. I realized that I like sushi. I’m not much into the straight-up raw sushi, but I can do some smoked salmon or a little deep-fried sushi or something.

Finding those little moments, those little things that give me joy on a personal level and indulging in those things every chance that I get. It doesn’t erase the reality of carrying the world on our shoulders and the reality of what it means to be a black person in America. Being intentional about providing myself with opportunities for pure joy helps to create some level of balance for me. I take those moments as often as I can. I encourage my villagers to take those moments as often as I can because not only do they give us a reprieve from the weight of it all, but they help us to connect with ourselves in a much more deep and meaningful way. At the end of the day, that connection to self is what gets you through. That understanding and pure acceptance of who you are in all of your stages and all of your phases, all of your costumes and masks, and put-ons or code-switching or whatever it might be. Understanding the truth and the reality of who you are at your core, that’s what helps you withstand the weight of it all.

To change is to do something different, to implement. If there is no implementation, there is no progress, growth, or forward movement. Click To Tweet

That is eloquent and also actionable. I love the visual of you trying sushi for the first time and what that experience was like. I think whether you can relate to that specific thing or not, it’s a reminder that there is much out there in the simplest ways that can bring us joy and also lead to a feeling of being openminded to try something new that perhaps your whole life you’ve been told that you wouldn’t like. That’s not what somebody from your background likes. That’s an incredible practice. Latrice, it’s been an honor to have you on the show and to hear your perspectives and you’re educated and passionate.

It’s clear to me that you are walking your talk. You’re helping people and guiding them through these experiences with mental health and helping them heal and learn how to manifest and be in their power. You’re doing it alongside them, which I think is one of the best qualities of somebody as a coach, as a therapist. One of your posts that I enjoyed was you were talking about the creativity side of your work. You said that your entire adult life, your identity has been wrapped around the fact that you’re a therapist and you just accepted that you’re a creative who happens to be a therapist.

That was a part of my journey of finding joy. I’ve always been a creative person. Growing up, I painted a mural on the closet door when I was in high school. I’ve always had this creativity inside of me but I never explored it. I never felt safe to explore it. I never felt like that was something that was for me and that I was deserving of that type of expression. I never explored it that much and when I started doing shows, I remember there was a show conference in Atlanta called A Pod Connection ATL. It’s a podcast conference for black podcasters. I went to that conference and before that, they did this contest to win an opportunity to perform your show live.

We went through the nomination process and then people had to vote online and things like that and I won. I was one of four shows that had the opportunity to present live. I went into that feeling like the underdog because I was like, “I’m doing this podcasting thing and these other shows are good. Their structure is solid.” I was the only solo podcaster. I was like, “I’m the only solo podcaster. They’re going to run circles around me.” I got there and they were as intimidated by me as I was by them. One of the hosts came up to me and I was nervous. It was right before I was about to perform.

He was like, “I’m happy to meet you. I love your show. You are talented.” Then this other lady came up to me and she said, “I met your dad outside in the parking lot.” I was like, “How do you even know that that was my dad?” He was bragging about his daughter being on the show, doing this show. She said, “I want you to know that I drove here for your show.” She had driven six hours to come and see me perform my show live. It was that moment that I realized that I am creative and that I am very good at what I do.

This is something that I believe I have been purposed to do is to use my creative gifts and talents to educate black women about healing and to help facilitate healing in the black community so that we can become as prosperous as we need to in all of the many definitions of what that word means. My identity as a therapist first had to shift because I realized that my experience as a therapist was secondary to my purpose as a creative and that was my journey. That was my awakening and I believe that we’re on a shared journey. Everybody is on a journey. We are on this journey together. We’re at different points in that journey and we need to be able to share our stories. That’s what I do.

You are gifted with this. It’s no surprise that you have raving fans because your voice is pleasant to listen to. I don’t want to overuse the word ‘eloquent,’ but it’s true. I could listen to you forever and I’m curious because I’ve checked out your show and the last episode looked like it was posted in April 2019. You did 68 episodes. Where does your show stand now? Are you still recording? Where’s number 69 and beyond, Latrice? Is there a new season coming out? I’m curious.

Everybody has been asking for the new episodes. I am working on new episodes. I’m working on new material. As I said, I live what I teach. I do my best to walk the talk because I believe that the tools that I teach and educate my community on our life tools. This is the reality of life and I live those things. One of the things that I’m always stressing is the importance of taking care of your mental health and that at the end of the day, you don’t owe anybody an explanation when it comes to taking care of yourself. I had to take a break from everything because I was not in a place in my life where I was able to freely create. I was in a dark space. I hated the job that I had.

MGU 117 | Black Women's Mental Health

Black Women’s Mental Health: Find yourself in both spaces of being able to be as authentic to yourself as you can, and taking a break from wearing the mask and indulge in yourself.

 

I was doing a lot of traveling, which started well, but then I got married and I was still traveling. I wasn’t happy. I was miserable. I had to pause for the cause so that I could get my mental health together. I linked up with a new therapist, Ms. Diane, and she is amazing. She’s still my therapist to this day and she helped me to face some things and make some decisions about my life and refocus what it was that I wanted to do and what direction I was going in. I spent the last year or so focusing on myself and I’ve moved back home and I’ve got a new job. I’m in a happier space. I’m able to create now at a level that I have never been able to create before. I’m working on new episodes, but also a part of me feels like I have moved past where Unicorns Talk show currently is.

That was a phase in my life that I am grateful to have been able to document in the way that I did and to be able to help other people through my journey then. I’m in a new chapter. I’m in a new phase of my life and my creative energy wants to now document this phase of my life. A lot of that is honing my craft. I’m doing a lot more behind the scenes work right now and figuring out what that looks like. I have an online academy. My membership program, which is Trust Village Academy that is going to be the home. It is the home for all of my teachings. For anybody interested in getting new content, they can join Trust Village Academy and get new content there.

I’m also stretching myself in terms of learning more about what it means to be a creative and what type of creative I want to be. Doing more producing and event coordination. I’m working with an organization called Afros and Audio. It is a network dedicated to black podcasters. We focus on building community as well as educating black podcasters about how to produce high-quality content, and to be able to monetize that content. That has been an enriching experience because I’ve had the opportunity for the first time in my life to get out of the silo.

I’ve been used to creating in a silo and I’m having opportunities to collaborate with people who are as good as I am. People who can match my creativity level and, in some cases, exceeded. I’m learning more about producing and directing and being on the other side of things. Not necessarily being on the front of it. I’m enjoying this new space that I’m in and discovering what I’m capable of. I feel like I’m starting to scratch the surface because I’ve only been identifying as a creative for two years. I’m scratching the surface of what I’m capable of and I’m looking forward to seeing that continue to grow.

That’s beautiful, Latrice. It’s also good encouragement for me being a multi-passionate, creative and entrepreneur that sometimes I have found myself getting fixated and stuck on a title or a certain career track. I love that you have blown up the box and you are doing what your soul feels called to do and I want to thank you for reflecting that back to me.

I’m like an octagon. I have many sides.

To change is to do something different, to implement. If there is no implementation, there is no progress, growth, or forward movement. Click To Tweet

It’s a wonderful confirmation and encouragement to receive that from you to not limit ourselves and not to hold ourselves back from what our deepest calling might be. No matter what age we’re at to realize that there is no timeline, there’s no set script or formula we’ve got to stick to. I want to thank you as we wrap up here for not only reminding and encouraging me, but I’m sure a lot of our audiences are going to feel empowered and bolstered by that too. Thank you.

I’m a talker so I’ll talk for as long as you all let me. You’ve got to have to say, “It’s time to wrap it up.” I appreciate you all for allowing me to come and share my journey, my experience, and hopefully, to educate some individuals who may not otherwise have had exposure to these types of conversations. I think that is a bold act of allyship on your part. I hope that other people are encouraged to mimic that behavior as well. Thank you.

Thank you. Maybe there are people in our audience that haven’t felt represented or heard or understood as well and we want to make this an open, safe space for everyone. We’re grateful for all these different people that may have tuned in to learn from you, Latrice. It’s been wonderful to hear from you speak.

Thank you.

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About Latrice Sampson Richards

MGU 117 | Black Women's Mental HealthLatrice Sampson Richards, LPC-S, CLC is a Mental & Emotional Wellness Creative, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Certified Life-Enhancement Coach. She is the CEO of Sampson Therapeutic Services, LLC. She is equipped with ten years of international experience in counseling and psychotherapy for women, children, adolescents, adults, and families. Latrice is the host of Unicorns Talk Podcast and founder of Trust Village Academy. Trust Village Academy is a membership program that provides an engaging way to identify opportunities for growth, educate yourself on how to get there, and implement life-long change. Latrice shares her growth and self-development journey while presenting critical skills and community support to women ready to heal from their past and build a future they deserve.

 

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