It has been said that the quickest way humans learn is through the art of pain. Many circumstances in my life have convinced me that this is true. If I went back in time and met my 20-year-old self, he would be shocked to see who I am today.
20-year-old Shaq would say,
“You, a fucking wellness blogger? Get the fuck outta here.”
It was at the age of 20 that I experienced pain that I was not equipped to handle. This was the one time that my friends nurturing words were unable to heal my broken spirit. And the first time in my adult life that my Mother saw me emotionally battered. I wanted the pain to cease and I was willing to do anything to make it stop. That’s when a friend of mine recommended that I read an Iyanla Vanzant book. My response was,
“I’m not reading that shit.”
Although I initially rejected my friend’s suggestion, I soon realized that I had nothing to lose and so much to gain.
I went to Barnes & Nobles and bought, “Living Through the Meantime.” The book talked about the cycles of pain we all go through. However, Iyanla provided the resources I needed to start my healing process. After finishing the book, I started reading a lot more about self-care.
I became passionate about my emotional and spiritual development and even decided to start therapy. My therapist was a black man who helped me figure out how trauma from my childhood was negatively impacting my relationships.
Therapy and the numerous self-help books I read not only gave me some of the tools I needed to help myself, but also others. My desire to share the information that I was learning motivated me to create a wellness community specifically for people of color, “Legacies of Gold”(LOG).
I wanted “Legacies of Gold” to be a safe space for individuals looking for information on how to nurture their spirit. However, with this platform it has become my mission to help reshape the concept of what wellness looks like. You see, in the past I thought living an emotionally intelligent life meant to be holy and sanctified.
Sorry, but I’m none of those things.
When I first established LOG, it was hard because I curse like a sailor, I talk shit with my friends, and I have done some crazy ass shit in my past relationships. I never want people to think that I’m Mother Teresa because I established a self-care website. What I want people to comprehend is wellness is both personal and sacred. What looks like a healthy emotional lifestyle to me, may not be what you consider a healthy way of living.
I used to do this thing where I judged Christians who listened to secular music and had premarital sex. Now I understand that just like wellness, the way someone chooses to practice their religion is a personal decision. I define wellness as any actions taken to improve one's mental, physical, emotional or spiritual health, as long as one is not executing patterns that are harmful to anyone. So, I finally get it, and I want you to get it as well. To me, wellness is:
Shaking your ass at the club like no one is watching
Venting about a boss who doesn't get it
Drinking a tall glass of wine
Wine nights with your best friends where you talk a healthy amount of shit
Singing in the shower like you’re Beyoncé on tour
Sex where your partner is magically attuned with you
Showing a little bit of skin in that hot new outfit you just bought
Spending a little bit of time on the Shaderoom
Spoiling yourself with a bite of strawberry cheesecake
Taking breaks from social media every now and then to check in with yourself.
Remember the path to living an emotionally fulfilled life is to be well by choosing to focus on your development.