lack, Latinx and Native American people make up 30% of the population of Grand Rapids*. In integrated spaces, patterns of white dominance are inevitable. These patterns include things like being legitimized for using proper english, having an expectation of perfectionism, feeling disposable and carrying a sense of urgency that takes precedence over self-care and reflection. With social media covering stories of police brutality and discrimination daily, we as people of color cannot escape society’s negative narrative and dehumanization of Black and Brown lives.
Five years ago I started my healing journey to cope with my own anxiety and depression caused by experiencing complex trauma, homelessness and microaggressions.
DISCOVERING MY RESILIENCE
At the time, I was living in “survival mode”. Everything was urgent. I couldn't find my breath. I felt like my back was up against the wall when I had to leave my children with the most affordable care provider instead of the most qualified care provider. I could not find joy. My goal was to just get out of bed and avoid further disappointment and chaos. My mind was not connected to my body and I was not showing up as the employee, mother and friend I knew I could be. I was burned out! I needed to find a healthy way to cope with my anxiety and depression. So, I took advantage of the YMCA low income membership. I had heard about the many healing benefits to yoga, so, I decided to just try it. I was hooked instantly. I immediately started feeling more focused, energized and balanced - on and off of my yoga mat. During mediation I would tell myself “I am strong, I am brave, I am resilient, and I am enough”. There, I found a space to let go of my shame, guilt and fear while choosing who I wanted to show up as when I stepped off my mat. I would repeat these affirmations even when I didn't believe them. I was building not only my physical strength, but also my mental capacity. I was discovering my grit.
It wasn't long before I realized that I was the only woman of color practicing yoga in the classes I was attending. When I would look around t