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Amy Watson 0:01
Before we start today’s interview, I wanted to do a little bit of a caveat as we are now entering the back half of this season. This has been a long planned series on racial trauma. Most of not all of these episodes were recorded before the recent, racially motivated mass shooting traumas that occurred on both Buffalo and an Orange County, California. And in many other places that maybe we don’t even hear on the news. I would highly encourage you guys to tune in to these episodes. Listen to these people that who may look different than us. Because praying and thoughts are awesome, and God can change this. But he uses his people to do it. And so we must be the change. And so before you are tempted to peace out well, these next interviews as the month of June, as we are covering racial trauma, please know that these episodes were recorded before said mass shootings. But the mission is even more important now. So this is the beginning of our series on racial trauma. Change. It is a complete sentence, and one that when one of our guests today brought to my attention, we have heard all the variations of Be the change. But what if, what if we just changed? Hey, everyone, and welcome back to the donor supported Wednesdays with Watson podcast. This project has a mission. And that is to help provide hope for people navigating the roads of loss and trauma, and all of its friends. We do that by dropping these episodes every two weeks. So if you’re not subscribed, first of all, welcome to the podcast. And I would love it if right there. When you’re on your app, you would subscribe and follow the podcast. Ratings and Reviews also help get the word out if you’re so inclined. But this is the real fire in my heart guys. We have a mission to fund pro bono counseling for for trauma survivors who needs support. If you would like to join our mission, simply click on that contact me button in the show notes. Now that we got all that out of the way, let’s step in to the healing zone. Do not skip the rest of the intro. It’s important change. It is a complete sentence. And one that when one of our guests today brought to my attention. We have heard all the variations of Be the change. But what if, what if we just changed I am excited to bring two of the smartest people I know to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts I met and I’m air quoting that because we’ve never actually met in real life, Tiffany and Melika on clubhouse. And we can often be found in those clubhouse streets, as Tiffany says, pontificating on any number of issues from Jesus to not one day I was on a stage with several people who did not look like me. And none of the people in the audience look like me. It’s common when I’m in rooms with these two, and I’m okay with that. Because you see, these two were blessed with way more melanin in their skin than I do with my family healing from Germany and France. But I said something in that room and it triggered everyone and it all was well at the end of the day. But I felt horrible. I knew, even though I did not say that, to trigger the room, I knew something I knew that I had that I had to change. We are in season three one that I have called trauma spaces, places and aces. For the back half of the season we are focusing on trauma and the home and in particular trauma and childhood. I knew that Tiffany and Melika could bring value to the podcast. And I’ve really struggled with this episode in so many ways with what they’ll do today, because you see what they’re doing today is the polar opposite of bleeding on those that did not cut them. I wanted to know what unique trauma occurs particularly in the black community, though we will be talking about black, Indigenous and People of Color all throughout this episode. Also not wanting to make them my professor. I was hesitant to ask either one of them to do this today. But true to who they are and true to who I know them to be world changers. These girls are world changers. They both agreed to come on to the podcast and help those of us who did not grow up in the black community. They’re going to help us gain a little insights about what their realities were like, and maybe are still true today. Although if I No, both of these powerful women, they are actively changing the narrative in their sphere of influence. And they both have it and we’re going to highlight it at the end. And I have a surprise for both of them at the end. So, let’s drop into this conversation with my friends, Malika and Tiffany. Welcome to the homie countrymen and Melika Courtney to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. I am so so happy you’re here. Tiffany Countryman 5:25 Yo, what’s up, Amy? What’s up bases? Not much, though, sis, and Amy, Amy Watson 5:30 and want to be here with the latest? Well, Melika, welcome. Tiffany has been on the podcast before. And so those of you who are listening, you can back up and she came on and talked to us about spiritual abuse. But I love you both. And I can’t wait for this announcement at the end of this. And so I’m super excited. So let’s dig in. So I explained to the listeners. And I want to and I hope that y’all know how grateful I am that the two of you would come on this and talk about traumas that are unique in your community, particularly what we call adverse childhood experiences. And my my listeners know what that is, because we’ve already talked about that. And I asked both of you if I could run the 10 common adverse childhood experiences by you and all you’re going to say is yes or no to me. And then we’ll continue the conversation. And so we will start with Eeny Meeny Miny Moe, this start with my likea Okay, so, so Melika Courtney 6:34 I have a story about that to just remind me about Eeny, Meeny Miny Moe, go ahead, Amy Watson 6:38 okay, I’m sure you do. You got all kinds of stories. I can’t wait for people to go to your platforms and all that stuff. So adverse childhood experiences, these are recognized by all the major psychological books and all things. These are the 10 most and so all I want you to do Malika here when I asked you is just yes or no for me. Okay. So this would have been before your 18th birthday in your home. Did you experience physical abuse? Yes. Did you experience sexual abuse? Yes. Verbal abuse? Yes. I have a hard time getting through these with my friends. physical neglect. Yes. emotional neglect. I’m going to answer yes. for you on that one. A family member who is depressed or diagnosed with other mental illness? Yes. A family member who is addicted to alcohol or another substance? Cigarettes it that counts? A family member who was incarcerated? No. Okay. So, remember, remember this this number? I’m holding it up to you. I don’t want the listeners. Okay. All right. If your turn ready. Physical abuse. Yes. I love your sexual abuse. No, in this is inside the home. As a child. Oh, yes. Verbal abuse. Yes. physical neglect. Yes, food insecurity will be one of those emotional neglect. Yes. A family member who is depressed or diagnosed with mental illness? Yes. A family member who is addicted to alcohol or another substance? Yes. A family member who was incarcerated. From time to time, yes. Okay. So both of you have what we call an ACE score of seven. And after three, it is assigned toxic stress to you as a human being and your brain remembers these things. I did a solo episode at the beginning of the season explaining the adverse childhood experiences. Experts agree that a score larger than three can and often does and create toxic stress. And then just put whatever you want in there. But I want to validate for both of you your experiences is not just bad days, but about a traumatic childhood that you both endured. I have an a score very similar to yours. And I have complex post traumatic stress disorder. So let’s get started with the racial trauma portion of the conversation. as of the recording of this podcast, we are in February of 2022. And we didn’t get our stuff together because I really wanted to drop this and black history month but it’s going to be closer to June teen. We were all this morning when I guess it was actually yesterday afternoon. I was so pleased with the federal verdict of Amid Aubrey those dudes are going to spend two life sentences in prison. And so many ways, though, the string of Roche racially motivated violence open the eyes of many of us. I’m not proud of that. But I also don’t plan to waste what I’m learning. And I say that because I will always be learning not just about race relations, but about life and death. General. That being said, I would like to remind everyone what trauma is trauma is anytime our brains are pushed outside their window of tolerance. We talked about the window of tolerance in the solo episode as well, as well as with Jeremy Fox, who is an EMDR consultant. So those are past episodes. But essentially guys, trauma is anything when our safety is compromised, or our felt safety is compromised. And any event that causes us to live outside of our brains happy placed, lots of sciency things I can say here, but that has been covered. And those direct links are in the show notes. With that said, Melika, you had an a score of seven, would you would you be willing to share any portion of childhood trauma that is unique to the black community for our listeners? Melika Courtney 10:50 So, and I love the question. There were so many things that flashed in my mind, Amy with that question, but I think a great place to start. And especially because I haven’t talked this coming up about this. We’re having a conversation on hair troughs. Something so simple. The majority of us run around with hair, right. And haircare always comes into question. When it comes to black community. I remember growing up and being told, Oh, you have good hair, or this person has bad here, right. And even with my good hair, I still had to sit through one of the most strangest practices on top limit is fun. The girls do it and we enjoy it. However, when I was a kid, I was not a fan. I was not a fan of perms for one, they burned to sit in what I consider physical effing torture, you’re putting his creamy crack on your head, and has to sit there for a certain amount of time to process to the politeness that is preferred. And while you are enduring this, like literally the damage and half of everything, and I remember walking away with scattering skills and things like that. Oh, yeah. So it’s, it’s Amy Watson 12:08 listeners can’t see what I just did. I was just horrified. Melika Courtney 12:12 These are just the simplest of things. And I choose that starting point because it’s such a broad stroke when it comes to black girls, and the industry, society school placed looking a certain way, the white way, I need to have more white, I’m gonna do my hair is frickin curly. And now because I’m lucky, however, thank you. And those were some of the things that I recognized as a child to the point where it verbalized to my mother. So let’s push it a step further from the perms. My mom was educated beauty, the whole amount of this and so she understood the extensions. That was her thing. You know, my hair was already shoulder length. She wanted it a little bit longer. So she would throw these things in her ponytail. So a blind mind. Yeah, look gorgeous. And I was happy. I was like, Okay, I look good. I look the part unacceptable. But it all right. There came a time where we changed areas that we moved to what I call Hell, politely. And while we were living over in hell, I have course attendance neighboring school. And in that school was a hodgepodge of humans. A lot of them whose parents did not engage in those beauty practices, who did not engage in mama that was insistent on us speaking English, a lot less line, right? Didn’t have a gate. So I was out. And to fast forward it and I take all day because there’s other questions to get to. There came a point where I was attacked by over 60 kids. And it was she thinks she’s white. She thinks she’s too. I wouldn’t say yes to being a girlfriend of this right? rattastic little boy, it was disgusting, and stupid. We say like finally just either how, as a result of that, he enlisted a couple of the boys or girls to it. It ended that way. And I mean 60 hands on experience and there was hundreds of people around. So I had not only my weave pulled out and paraded and waved and hit with it, but my hair pulled out. So there are things that my Caucasian brothers and sisters will never understood. Amy Watson 14:32 No, and I think first of all, I just want to say I’m I’m so sorry. Because again, the point of this podcast it because when you’re a child and this series we are talking about childhood trauma. When you’re a child, not only did you experience physical pain, and shame and embarrassment and all of the things girls, your your hair, your looks It is kind of your thing. And so then you begin to, and I’m not, I’m not placing this on your Melika. Yeah, I’m wondering, did you at any time become bitter, or wish that you were white, or wish that you had hair that didn’t need that, because I, what makes me sad as a child experiencing that trauma is, so much of our identity is in our hair, and in our looks, and all of that. And so, then it becomes like this, highlight this really, really important thing. And then it turns into you being physically assaulted and shamed, quite frankly, by your peers. And so I’m wondering did it did that play into later in life? Because we are somewhat addressing this season how childhood trauma affects us later in life, when later in life? Because you and I will? Well, we can we can talk about this before we give the same question to TIFF. So I’m wondering if some of that unique trauma and that’s a great example, and I’m going to pop a question down to Tiffany on this in just a second. But so I guess the question is, is did that experience carry over into adulthood for you? Melika Courtney 16:11 I would say um, so to move through a few questions that you asked. I was a child, there was no point where I even understood that I could have the option of waking up any other other than I was loved and black. So for me, everyone said, Oh, my God, I want to be white. No, it went to, I want to move back the hell out of this grungy as neighborhood and live right. Yeah, those are the thoughts as far as trauma carrying over into adulthood, of course, because I just gave you a coin. If you have 100 coins and that dollar, consider life spanned out it continues. Racism has not stopped the way I am received on sight will always be through this lens. So until the day I expire love and this body, I will always be a black woman. Right? I will always have that immediate judgment from the other side, on how I look how I present how I speak, how I engage in I don’t even know if it’s present mine judgments, my judgments to my judgments on who I engage how they speak, how they move in business, how they move in life. So I do believe that’s a human condition. But as far as racism, and I went over it, that’s what you Amy Watson 17:22 No. And that’s why we’re doing this. That’s why we’re doing this because I want to, I want people to know and so tough before I asked you the same question, you have a little girl, too, who we call Tootie, and she’s six or seven, seven, she said in June, Sophie eight in June. And so how did it feel to you just now when you heard Malik, you say that? Not that clearly. You knew you had that same trauma. I’m looking at both of you with your beautiful hair. And mine. Not so much right now. But there’s. So it talked to me to how did that land on your heart when you think of the context of you now raising a black child and a girl at that. And so here is the thing like, you know, white people, for some reason are obsessed with black people’s hair and want to touch it, which is so offensive. If somebody walked up to me and said, Could I touch your hair? I’d probably slap them. But how did that land on you for Tootie and helping her with something as unique as as Melika shared that is unique to the black community in terms of how you live your life and how God made you and how you made your beautiful hair and to these beautiful hair. How that land on your heart? Well, first, Amy, I want to say thank you for the invitation to join you on your podcast and especially to slap me with my big sister of whom I adore, admire and appreciate for so many reasons. This is this particular point of trauma I have experienced myself personally. So it resonates with me very deeply, which is why I’m locked now and why my daughter is locked and will never receive a relaxer under my care and my dime. I too went through the burning of the scalp. When he rained on your hair, it had a certain smell your hair breaking off just all the different chemicals that upkeep that you had to do even move in to the hot comb that used to warm up on the stove. And your mother your grandmother would take this iron comb that warmed up on the eye of the stove in the kitchen and you will sit in the middle of the kitchen and you bend your head down and they would no pun intended grab those kitchens in the back of your hair. That’s what we call the barley balls or the big beads. In the back of our hair on the sides of our hair is kitchens, you gotta grab those kitchens. If you haven’t grabbed with the hot comb. It was grabbed The brushing grease that was also painful, because it’s snapping your hair from its natural state to bend to yield, to submit to a style that it was not created to do. So it resonates deeply with me. And like I said, I decided to lock up my daughter’s hair at the age of five. She was natural until then, and I decided to lock up her hair because that is our natural state. as natural as we’re able to get it here in America and us being American eyes. Of course, both my daughter and I, we are African American. So we’re mixed a million times over at this point. But as natural as we can get it is in the lock style. She has the free freedom to wear ponytails, bowls, ball balls, barrettes, beads, whatever she can do, her hair is just as versatile if it had been relaxed or pressed out, or if it was still in its original birth natural state. But yeah, it resonates deeply. It resonates deeply. And I and I agree, which is why we’re sisters. And it’s just not something I ever would have thought of ever. And so now Tiff Can you think of another trauma experience in childhood that and you don’t, you didn’t necessarily need to have experienced this we are we are looking to highlight trauma and the black community, particularly childhood trauma. So can you think of any other examples of a trauma that would be specific to your community. Um, for me, it would be boxing in or limiting our creativity. And when I say that, I mean this, my daughter, she’s seven, as we already stated. And when my husband is not home, I allow her to scream if she wants to single whole musical, if she wants to dress up in all her clothes, if she wants to do what she wants to paint, as long as she’s not, you know, painting on the walls or being just you know, out of pocket. I give her that freedom in that space to do so. However, for myself, and I’m sure some others and other generations, we were tamed, we were molded to be still to be quiet, to not be in grown people’s conversations. There are inappropriate conversations for children, but I allow my daughter to hear some of the clubhouse rooms, crypto, all these types of things that I wish I would have known as a child and as children it’s sinks in. So for me it was the taming of our innate, we’re creatives in the we’re just we’re just creative as black people. But I don’t want to say that we’re more creative than any other ethnicity or culture. But we definitely have some salt and pepper on our creativity. But because we have to move through society dumbed down, silence, muted crushed. Our parents felt like it was their duty. It was a necessity to bend us into robots, to make us be quiet to listen to just say yes, ma’am. No, sir. We weren’t allowed. We wasn’t allowed to question. We wasn’t allowed to ask why we couldn’t even say what if our If our parents called our names, I remember the first time I heard a white kid respond to their mother with what I almost passed out. allowed to do that. You got to do that. Yeah, we weren’t allowed to do that. I’ve heard why kids called their parents by their first names. Every adult that we came in contact with, we had to preface it with a miss or mister why? Because they were afraid for our safety for our life. So we had to be molded to operate a certain way. And what I have noticed is that it has it has, it has messed up our creativity as a culture. We’re not we’re not as socially inept as other cultures, we’re we’re very behind the curve on a lot of things because we weren’t able to have the freedom to come into our own life other cultures have. So I think that’s a huge other trauma that myself and many others have experienced simply because of the color of our skin with our parents, they with their good intention to help us to be able to exist in these spaces, but we have this residue that we have to deal with in the air. So it’s kind of well, it’s not kind of it’s one of the worst things that you can do to a human being has take their voice away from them. Right. Absolutely. And that’s and that’s essentially what happened and and that’s sad for me to hear and I’m looking at to announce Melika’s kids are grown, but I’m looking at two people that have probably stopped this and of course you’ve got grandkids she’s sent that beautiful picture yesterday to both of us. But But y’all are stopping this because we need this world needs creatives of all sorts and I would I would go so far as to say that there is a special kind of creativity that comes from your community that no one else has. Listen, I am part of the rhythmless nation, you can give me a beat. I don’t even clap in church because people look at me like me. No, just no. And so y’all got the best music, y’all. You know what I’m saying? And so I think there’s a lot to be said for that. But there’s even more damage when someone takes your voice away. Wouldn’t you agree with that? Melika? Melika Courtney 25:22 Absolutely. It’s, it’s the convenience it feels like, who wants to honestly sit and have negative things highlighted about them? Right? No, buddy, right. And if you consider the positioning if you consider the slashes, and we’ll jump back real quick to the Eenie, meenie miney moe, it used to say, I know what it said, Mo catch the N word, but it’s all right. So and that’s still a part of our culture. And Amy Watson 25:54 listen, this is a great example. I shouldn’t have said it. I heard that isn’t it so Melika Courtney 26:00 subtle in isn’t it so subtle? And that’s what I mean by it is the thread is that kneeling thread is sewn it up into a shield blanket of fabric however you want to call it. These are the little bits in life. And sometimes folks, I don’t even know if it’s really conscious what his heart because the heart is pushing it forward, even if it’s not. forefront consciously intent. Yeah. Amy Watson 26:23 Which and in that case for me, yeah, like, yeah, like you guys know me, right. But I had been brought up. And I fully admit white privilege and for for someone who was abused by a serial killer and beat up for 12 years for the first 35 years of my life with the exception of four in a children’s home, to call myself privileged, that highlights how bad we have treated people of color. When you are hearing a trauma survivor like me, guys, serial killer, seven sexual abusers. 12 years of domestic violence marriage abandoned by my mom and I am still more privileged than your community. Well let that breathe for a second. Okay. So when we were in that clubhouse room, I made an assumption. I can’t remember what we were talking about. But I made an assumption that resources were not available to I think it was a church conversation that perhaps maybe the church, the black church didn’t have the resources that the white church did. And that wasn’t offensive as much to the people in the room as much as something I said after that, which I’m not gonna say again. But talk to me about and your both of your cases, because this is leading into this surprise that I have for both of you. Has counseling ever been part of your healing? Melika Courtney 27:46 If you want to start and then I’ll jump in? Amy Watson 27:47 Sure. Absolutely. Counseling is a major part of my healing, even us sitting and talking. together today, I consider it counseling. Why? Because the Bible says of two or three gather they will be in the midst. Amen. And God is the great counselor, Big C are overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony. How can we share our testimony not sharing our testimony to God, we’re sharing our testimony to one another. But if you’re speaking of professional counseling, absolutely, absolutely. And what I have gained the most from professional therapy or mental health help is coping techniques. Because once we understand that trauma is eternal, it is embedded in our brains, in our blood streams, some impression sometimes even leaving your muscles, that’s how the serious trauma is. So I think is this illusion that you can talk about it, cry about it, and you’ll get over and you’re never triggered. Again, you’ll never go through that same situation again, you won’t come into contact with people that exhibit the same behaviors as a previous abuser. So what I’ve learned is coping techniques, how to deal with it, how to process it, how to not own it, how to let it go, how to breathe through it, how to journal about it, how to talk about it, I learned through professional therapy, how to approach conflict, I was always on 100 I’m always in your face does not you ain’t gonna do like this. I’m talking about at work at church in the home, because I just I don’t have the anatomy to be fake to be gas lit. And it just triggers me to no end because of all of our previous trauma. So I had gone to a point to where I was just, I mean, you’ll face you want to apologize, you’re gonna say this, you’re gonna do this. But with counseling and professional therapy, I’ve learned that sometimes it doesn’t always require 100 Sometimes you could sit back and think maybe you miss read something or you misunderstood something. So yeah, I am an advocate for counseling. It has played a major either part of my head in my healing. How about you? Melika? Yeah, Melika Courtney 30:04 I too am an advocate for counseling, I believe in that stuff. Like, I believe it’s gonna rain during spring, because it’s unnecessary. And I will say that speaking from a trauma corner, we were raised, what goes on a house stays in the house, you know, be quiet, you don’t talk about this. From the comes up, we handle it in the home. So, for me to move to a point where I actually chose counseling was colorful, it was a lot, it was a fight in itself to even reach for that help. And then to what I also learned exactly what Tiffany learned to and I also learned, it matters who you’re getting your counseling from. Yeah. And my initial counselor was a Caucasian male, note, say more, Amy Watson 30:58 tell me more, because I want our listeners to tell me a little bit more. Melika Courtney 31:03 He, for person who’s supposed to understand boundaries, he did not keep those boundaries, he was definitely out of his place and out of his mouth. And, sadly, he could not relate. He just he literally could not relate. I’m sharing things with him. But his his toolbox was not equipped for the life that led to that point. He was not able to give me anything more than the standard basics right? And right about it, you know, let’s talk about it. We’re breathing this, these very basic things, he was not prepared. And then even the outlook that he had on life or understanding racism or understanding what it is to be black metal, he could understand him in a position of being in the body but being able to empathize or sympathize or to understand even have a clue. He was among the clueless. So it was my first I was among the clueless as far as picking a counselor, right? So we won’t we’re too close people figured out need to get help them to get Oh, Amy Watson 32:06 thank you highlight something important there. There are resources out there. And I love it. It is actually the American Foundation. Now this is for suicide prevention, but that they deal with all of it. And I’ll put this in the show notes. But this organization is only for black, indigenous and people of color. And they provide resources to those communities as it pertains to trauma and all the other things. When I was leading into the mistake I made on clubhouse when I said that my assumption was your churches did not have the resources to to do whatever it was we were talking about. I don’t want to assume but I do want to ask you guys. And then so we know, obviously and the poverty stricken community, white and black. But we’re talking about the black community right now that that those families cannot afford counseling. How accepted, I guess is that though, for the people that can so upper, lower upper middle class, whatever people that can afford in the black community to go to counseling, is there a stigma like there is in our community when you go to counseling? Melika Courtney 33:16 Yes, like, like I mentioned before, we’re raised with a set of beliefs and behaviors. And I want to say this too. There are so you know, we we cannot take a blanket and throw it over. Everybody can’t do that. So I will say from my experience, and those that have engaged and I will speak on my engagement. My engagements have reached 174 countries. Wow. Okay. So my engagements are vast. So I’m not I can’t say all, but I can say that many, many were conditioned to be silent, to not speak, to deal to cope and not seek out. So that that is the story of so many people sadly. And again, I know it’s heavier and black community, though I am aware that it exists in my community as well. All Amy Watson 34:09 right, all right. You’re so sweet to try to step into my world. This is about yours to tell me let’s say we have 10 you have 10 kids in your youth group, as a result of an a really want to be careful the way I word this as a result of just the lack of opportunity, okay? Because if you take Amy and you take Malika or you take TIFF, and 2022, I don’t have to work as hard for things as you do. I just don’t. That’s the reality of it. Period. We call that white privilege. It’s real, all of that, but tough. And so say because you’re a youth pastor, and this is why I wanted to ask you this, say you have 10 of your kids in your youth group. What percentage of those would you say would struggle to be able to afford to go to counseling? Here’s the thing. Okay, you want a technical answer? For my not necessarily what I’m going or what I, I don’t want to know what you’re looking at, I don’t want to make the assumption that most black homes cannot afford counseling, I don’t want to make that assumption, yes don’t make that assumption because even if it’s not coming from income from a parent, household income, okay, it’s a job child support. Social Security, okay. There is all type of resources for children in lower income households. So there’s a where I live, there’s Medicaid, there’s care source, there’s Buckeye, health insurance, there’s all different types of insurances, that children, all you have to do is apply. And you’re automatically covered health care wise, mental care wise. So for my children, it would be like a case where maybe it’s a foster child, and they’re not properly registered, their paperwork hasn’t kept up with Phil, or a homeless child that doesn’t have any type of registration or anything. I know, we have refugees, sometimes that haven’t registered at the Catholic Church yet, it will be specified. Cases like that. But nine times out of 10, our children in our communities are insured, because that is a resource that the community and schools makes sure that the children take part in. So I would say that our children can afford mental health resources. Okay. Okay, good, good, good. I’m glad to hear that. And I know that’s not true everywhere, right. And both of you, and I’m going to give both of you airtime because you both have platforms. And I want my people to know what you’re doing, what your passions are, and all of that. Before I do that, though, I want to make an announcement to my listeners, and to those of you. Ready, ready, set. All right. So my my heart here today, is broken, in some ways to hear some of the things that and I know that I got like, an iota of what children in the black community experience, whether it’s inside the home or not, I now I only got a little piece of that, and my heart already hurts. And so I I want you both to know, for two people who have never met, I just love you both. And so this is also an announcement to my listeners. As I mentioned at the beginning, this is a donor supported podcast. To do that I needed to create a 501 C three, which I’m in the process doing we’re going to call that Joel 225 ministries. I have a goal guys, I am 50 years old. So this is a very, very, very lofty goal to raise $1 million dollars before I die for pro bono counseling. And today I am awarding two scholarships, the Melika Courtney and the Tiffany Countryman scholarships to both of you to be used when somebody comes in your purview that cannot afford counseling, black, white, yellow unicorn, gay, straight, whatever. You will forever and Joel 225 ministries have the Melika Courtney scholarship and the Tiffany Countryman scholarship. And when you come upon people who cannot afford counseling, all you have to do is send them to me and say, please use my scholarship money. And I want you both to know, I only awarded one scholarship before the two of y’all. And it was to the person that took me to the psych ward that saved my wife. And that’s how much I appreciate what you’ve done here for us today. And so, as I mentioned, I know your books speechless, which is also fun, because I have not seen Melika Courtney 38:35 them. So amazing. Like, I don’t want to talk over you Amy Watson 38:38 because I’m gonna go ahead, go ahead, I’ll let you I’ll let you guys. I’ll let you guys respond to that. But so my my 501 C three will be in place by the second quarter. And you both will be awarded with scholarships, I’ll put some money in it. And then as we get donations, so far, we only have three scholarships. And so that money will be put into those three scholarships, and you just send people to me when they when they need money for counseling, and we will take care of that. This is This is amazing. Thank you. I’m honored. I’m humbled that this is something because when you think of a 501 C three that’s eternal. So to know that my name will be eternal in helping with mental health. That’s, that’s, that’s, yeah, I’m grateful. Thank you. I’ll have more to say later. Melika Courtney 39:27 Awesome. And I, Amy I I am as well just humbled and grateful. I appreciate you so deeply for even having the heart to do that. That’s huge. And what I’d also share is I don’t know if we even talked about this, but I do have a background in mental health, behavioral health modifications, also working in the prison systems and then also handling sanctuary experience. I have a huge heart for mental health and especially through the domestic violence trying to there are so many threads that I haven’t an irons in those fires. This is amazing. And I come into contact with so many folks who who need the help and need the love and something you mentioned earlier Tiffany about this trauma being in the mind and being in the body to the fact we can find it in your muscles. I do over it, thanks for experience, and I won’t go into too heavy right now. We literally walk women through releasing that voice. So in changing their minds agenda in real life. So this is very huge. And I’m grateful that you did this. Amy, this is amazing. Amy Watson 40:38 Unfortunately, you and I share something pretty horrible in common and that is domestic violence. And so one of the reasons why because we’re only awarding five of these scholarships for the first few years and one of the reasons why many many reasons why Melika here I wanted you to have one is because I come across domestic violence survivors all the time, who need help, who just can’t help who just can’t afford it. And I was an I was that I mean, I could afford it. But I didn’t get help and my body kept the score to your point and to TIFs point with it. We hold we hold stress and trauma in our bodies and and I now have four autoimmune diseases. I don’t want that to be the story of people that you come in contact with. And so as we this is a perfect way to segue out of the podcast guys, I want you listeners I want you to pay attention because the three of us along with some people who I’m going to handpick from my community, these guys are going to handpick some people from their community. And probably sometime in the summer, we’re going to do a video series on YouTube on this racial trauma. But I wanted to just lightly touch it today, ever so delicately so that my listeners out there would understand that in the black community and indigenous people and Native Americans, and all people of color have traumas that we never ever, ever could understand. Now with that being said, I want I do want to end the podcast by both of you talking to me about your mission. And so we’ll start with Malika because you just were talking about sanctuary. Tell Tell my listeners a little bit about sanctuary experience and where they can find fast quick information because that’s kind of coming up here in a couple weeks. Yeah, so tell us about close yeah, tell us about it and and I’ll provide lots of stuff in the show links for people to be able to get to you but tell us a little bit about sanctuary Melika Courtney 42:31 awesome and I receive your love and offer you love and light Amy I’m so I’m I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here with you. I love my Tiffany. So it makes it extra special to do this with you two ladies because I love love you law and Sanctuary I created sanctuary experience to serve women globally who experience trauma and don’t have a community to fall back on and be loved who don’t have a community to dig in their heart and do the work and pull that pin out and help them to heal. And April 8 through 10th We’re gonna be doing our third or fourth sanctuary experience where we are taking care of the women and walking them through that and don’t worry men. I am already working on X pm because I was asked to this Thursday, actually seven 7:30pm We’re going to host a digital offering for the men to address your traumas was I had guys that were abused, neglected, abandoned, molested and raped all come to me and go What about us? Yeah, so So it’s my best to serve Amy Watson 43:27 you so so you were you do that all year and you fundraise for it? Where can they find you? By the time this podcast airs. Unfortunately for 2022 it will have occurred already. But that being said, Tell me where people can find you. They can donate to your organization. i This is something really close to my heart last year it was in my area and I was not able to make it. But especially for people that are early in their healing. It is an amazing opportunity for you to do the things like Malika said to work it out of your body like Like Jeff said to work it out of every fiber of your muscle, because the body does keep the score and so where’s the best place for them to find the most like like the fastest most of synched information on sanctuary experience. Melika Courtney 44:11 So that is going to be found at the rebound coach.com forward slash sanctuary, the rebound coach.com forward slash sanctuary, and we do sanctuary so with this particular coach, I host for a year. And if other coaches hear this and they want to provide a sanctuary experience for their community, I’m franchising out teaching the model so that people can be helped globally. The mission is to have a million folks within five years that are a part of the community active and actively loving one another supporting one another showing up. And of course all my social media is our Malika Courtney with the exception of Instagram and that’s it sent us helper as a n t AZ helper, he LPR and find me there, reach out to me Malika Courtney Amy Watson 44:59 and I’ll that link trees for both of you and the show notes. Do you know how long it took me to figure out who’s seen as help? Or was my Instagram? But I can’t say that? Well, Malik Yeah, I will tell you before we jumped to tiff real quick for someone whose voice, like one of your most prominent memories was Be quiet. We don’t say that we don’t do that that is unique in your community. I mean, we were all we all and I’m older than both of you. But we all hurt children are to be seen and not heard. But I grew up, I grew up in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, many of my friends did not look like me. And so I heard exactly what you’re talking about. So for somebody whose voice was taken, here you are on all the stages, you mentioned that you kind of slipped in there really quickly, you also have a book, I’ll put that link in the show notes on on domestic violence, lots of my listeners are domestic violence survivors. And so and then, of course, we will be awarding the Malia Courtney counseling scholarship. And that will happen sometime in April, as soon as I get the 501 C three, Joel 225 Ministries, which is going to be news to my listeners as well. And so, so, so, so excited about that, and excited to hear how it goes in April, with this group of women that you’re going to have been really glad that you’re including men in that because one in seven men report being sexually assaulted, I would come to you and I would challenge that statistic because men just don’t talk about it. And that is true. Yeah. And as a survivor of sexual abuse, I can say this with some authority. I have always said that. I think that when boys, particularly children are abused, or sexually abused. I don’t want to compare how rough that goes are. But there’s a lot of different things that go when men are abused. And so I’m excited to hear and so people will be excited to follow that as you as you create the sanctuary experience for men. Well, that brings us to the homie TIFF, the homie. That’s what we call her on social media. She is also a youth pastor. But tough tell us so you’ve got something really exciting going on right now because you are a playwright. And so talk to us a little bit about what you got going on, again, by the time this airs that this particular thing that I know you’re going to announce will be over, I’ll make sure that I have that on my social media, and I’m sharing it as that gets closer as well. But talk to us about what you got going on. You’ve got a bunch of stuff going on. But tell us where my people can find you and all the things. Tiffany Countryman 47:27 Yeah, well, everybody can find me on at WWW dot Tiffiny countrymen.com. Or if you want to check out my nonprofit, www dot Minister reviews me.com And that’s mi n i s t ry s e.com. That’s where all of my social media, family videos, everything. On those two websites. I do have a stage play coming up in April, April 23, called Roma, the aftermath and it deals with African American couples and the trauma that we endured during the 2020 pandemic to shut down the show in place. So that’s going on in April 23 here in Dayton, Ohio at the date, which I’m so excited. Will you be there? Are you coming to Ohio? Amy Watson 48:19 I am going to I don’t think so. I want to I have friends that live up there. Let me ask you this. Are you streaming it? And if not, if so, no, I know that’s expensive Tiffany Countryman 48:29 going back to traditional theater. Well, and I love Amy Watson 48:33 it. I love it. Well, Tiff TIFF is a playwright she does a lot guys if you are on the clubhouse app. All our user names are just our names. I’m at Amy Watson offer tiff has at TIFF Countryman Emma likea is at Malika, Courtney, all of this will be in the show notes. Guys, thank you, you have brought a perspective to the Wednesdays with Watson podcast and we are going to deeply explore this. And a different because we want to we want it to be interactive. We want to stream it, it’s going to be video. None of us showed up for that today, except for Malika showed up dressed for a 40 minute video. So I love you guys. And I want to proclaim over you what I proclaim over everybody on my podcast at TIFF you get to hear it for a second time. You are seen you are known, you are heard, you are loved. You are valued. I adore you. And today, what you guys have done is like I said the opposite of bleeding on those that cut you. I’m not saying that I cut you or that anybody listening to this cut you but we’re representatives of a society that is doing that actively and what you’ve done here today has helped some people in my community and other communities understand I never in a million years would have thought of something as traumatic as both of you explain as it pertains to hair, something as simple as hair. And so guys as well. Be as Phil Baker SONG PLAYS us out of the podcast I’d like to thank both of you for being on the show either one of you have parting words for our listeners. Melika Courtney 50:10 Thank you so much again, Amy, really appreciate you as far as the listeners. Thank you for taking time to listen and I do hope you reach out and engage. I am having a conversation on March 4. Amy and it is a digital conversation talking about hair trauma it’s going to be done politically because I am a spoken word artist as well. So Amy Watson 50:27 make sure well let me know make sure you let me know when that happens. Because all these things you have coming up to your to your episode, I will promote big toss and like like the like the show I already have. And I will continue to tough but tough Do you have any parting words for for the listeners, Tiffany Countryman 50:44 I just want to tell everybody to be encouraged to hang in there and to not allow your past trauma to define your future situations that you don’t have to become a product of your past environments. But you can exist where God has now allow your mentality to catch up with your blessings. Amy Watson 51:08 Oh my allow your mentality to catch up with your blessings. I love that. And I love both of you. And so listeners. Thank you so much for joining us here today. I hope that you learned something, please make sure that you’re following all three of us as we will be moving into the summer diving deeper into this. If you need to reach me you know how to do that. Just any number of ways just click that contact me button again. We’d love it if you would consider subscribing and following and liking the podcast. We will be back in two weeks and the healing zone. Thank you both for being here with us today and can’t wait for us to continue to do more work together. You teach me to use my love Transcribed by https://otter.ai