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  • Writer's pictureQueen Favor-Wheeler

There are many languages of trauma

The other day I went live in this group, some of you watched it. I thank all of you who watched and or commented and especially Robin who graciously shared her disagreement. The live was no surprise to Sean and was at his invitation and I thank him for allowing me that space. His main concern as it has always been was that I not silence myself, not even for him because he loves me as I him.

That experience was crucial for me. In my head and heart I believed that I speak that which I need to hear therefore the opinions of others are theirs to hear and a tool for me to use to stir my own pot to see what more needs to be spoken and heard. One thing I've learned about me is that I can't give that which I haven't first given to myself and I can't receive that which I haven't first received from myself in some form. So I practice diligently my listening from within so that I can hear my Self and that helps me hear others.

When I was a little girl attending NAACP meetings with my mother at our family church, the elders would repeatedly say that there is wisdom in silence. One of the teachings wrapped up in that saying was the importance of knowing your audience and the danger that could befall you if your language was not understood and sparked fear in the heart of the hearers.

My name is Queen and I see differences, I see color. I not only see it but I honor it. I honor the unique experience that those differences and color has presented the wearer with, what it takes for them and their ancestors to wear them in this world and the affects that they live with from the trauma produced by those experiences. I study it through conversations and reading so that I learn to speak the many languages of trauma that exist.

One of the terms I posted in my live feed was something like - what has been called dangerous has also been called medicine. The response to that helped me to see just how important learning the unique languages of trauma is. In the community I grew up in and still am a part of the term medicine means several things. The majority of my community did not have access to healthcare and because of the historical use of blacks as lab rats many feared the healthcare system and still do. So if my mother asked you to go to the store and pick up her medicine she meant a 40oz (that's beer). If my brother said it was time for him to take his medicine that meant he needed to smoke marijuana. If I say I need my medicine it means intimacy with my husband. If my daughter says she's going to take her medicine it means running.

My white girlfriend was shocked (and thought it ignorant of me) that my family and the community I am a part of still have the talk with our children about how to speak and behave when they are not in the "hood" or under the covering of our neighbors & allies so that their language is not misunderstood by those who fear difference and would bring them harm.

There is wisdom in silence and in that wisdom is knowing when to speak. What I've learned is that it is not inauthentic to adjust my speaking to match my location even if I speak with silence. The internet challenges me because I can no longer control whether what I say is confined to my "hood" where my language is understood. However I'm more committed than ever to speak my native tongue "hood" in a way that will invite those who don't see or hear themselves in this industry to take advantage of the healing properties that it can bring. And I have this group to thank for that. So thank you for allowing me this space. I love you.

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