The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.
Many of you know that my debut book, Sisterhood Heals: The Transformative Power of Healing In Community, releases on June 27th. It is a celebration of and guide to the relationships Black women have with one another. Well the TBG team got some very early copies of the book and had a little book club of their own to chat about their thoughts, musings, and praise for Sisterhood Heals and we wanted to share it with you. But the conversation won’t stop here, I want you to be a part of it as well so please pre-order your copy at sisterhoodheals.com so that you’ll be able to join in the fun as well.
Sisterhood Heals is now available for pre-order!
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Our Production Team
Executive Producers: Dennison Bradford & Maya Cole Howard
Producers: Fredia Lucas, Ellice Ellis & Cindy Okereke
Session 308: Getting Ready for Sisterhood Heals, A Book Club Conversation
Dr. Joy: Hey y'all. Thanks so much for joining me for Session 308 of The Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into our conversation after a word from our sponsors.
Dr. Joy: This week, we have a special episode for you, very near and dear to my heart and dedicated to the beautiful bonds of sisterhood. Many of you know that my debut book, Sisterhood Heals: The Transformative Power of Healing in Community, releases on June 27th. It is a celebration of and a guide to the relationships black women have with one another. Well, the TBG team got some very early copies of the book and had a little book club of their own to chat about their thoughts, musings and praise for Sisterhood Heals and we wanted to share it with you. But the conversation won't stop here. I want you to be a part of it as well, so please pre-order your copy at SisterhoodHeals.com so that you'll be able to join in the fun as well.
If something resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share it with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession and #SisterhoodHeals, or join us in the Sister Circle to talk more about the episode at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. Here's our conversation, from our book club to yours.
Fredia: Hello, I'm Fredia Lucas. I'm the senior producer here at the Therapy for Black Girls podcast, and I have the distinct honor to be in conversation with my fellow team members here at Therapy for Black Girls to discuss Sisterhood Heals, the upcoming book and the first book from our illustrious leader and founder of Therapy for Black Girls – Dr. Joy Harden Bradford. And I can speak for myself, I have had such an incredible joy reading this book and now being in conversation with you all, so I'm very, very excited for us to get started. Before we jump in talking about Sisterhood Heals, I would love to pass it over to the team to do introductions, and the first person I'm gonna ask to do introductions is Nyesha.
Nyesha: Hello. I'm super excited to be joining you all today. I'm Nyesha and I am the community assistant with the Therapy for Black Girls Sister Circle. I love what I do with our community and I'm just feeling warm and fuzzy after going through my notes, just ready to dive in.
Fredia: Let's pass it over to Kia.
Kia: Hi, my name is Kia and I'm the business manager here at Therapy for Black Girls, so I try to coordinate and make sure that the team is working as effectively and efficiently as possible. And I too am excited to discuss this book because it reminded me of some things that I had already experienced in life and some things that I'm looking forward to implementing. So can't wait to get into it.
Fredia: And the one and only Gorgeous.
Gorgeous: Hello everyone, my name is Gorgeous. I'm a content specialist with the team at Therapy for Black Girls. I help in the community on Facebook as well as help pitch topics and things to discuss on the podcast and blogs.
Fredia: And last, but most certainly not least, Ellice.
Ellice: Hey everyone. I'm Ellice Ellis, the producer of The Therapy for Black Girls podcast. I am so excited to discuss Sisterhood Heals today. I absolutely love this book and I'm really proud of Dr. Joy. And in preparing for this conversation, I was thinking about chapter three, Being Your Sister's Keeper, and being soft places to land for each other. And I think that's what we have here at this team. It's just so heartwarming to discuss it with you guys, I'm excited to see how the Sister Circle talks about the book and just our entire audience's response to the release.
Fredia: All right, Ellice, let's kick it off with these conversation questions.
Panelist [04:42]: Yeah, so I already talked a little bit about one of my favorite parts of the book, chapter three, about being your sister's keeper. And I'm curious what sections of the book stood out to you guys and why?
Panelist [04:54]: Global Sisterhood, definitely just from Joy because I'm like, yes, this is how you can help a sister. But then going into the four Ss of sisterhood, being seen, supported, and supporting ourselves, as well as soften. Wow, just breaking that down so we can understand how we can work on ourselves and also be there for one another. And also how to help one another be seen. I'm like, yes, we needed this for sure.
Panelist [05:18]: I think I’d like to touch on the book, like generally speaking. I thought it was such a good balance between academic and like researched things that you could really take from in a conversational tone. Because I think sometimes that things tend to be more one than the other, and I thought it really connected with me in a good balance. Because every time I was thinking, well, you know, what is the why behind this, it would pop up in a way that I could easily digest without having to look up a whole bunch of things, but still feel like I had learned something. So that wasn't from one particular chapter, but just throughout the book, I thought that it was a really good way of weaving it together.
Panelist [05:55]: I definitely agree with you, Kia. From a therapist's perspective, with the book, Dr. Joy definitely executed well the delivery of the jargon and the definitions of attachment theory, like she really broke it down. Like you said, the way it was digestible to where you didn't need a degree in psychology or counseling to be able to understand these theories and modalities and practices. I think to go back to your question, Ellice, what was our favorite part? One of my favorite parts was where she broke down the attachment theory. Because a lot of people aren't aware of that, and how we attach in our relationships really plays a huge part in how we show up in our friendships. And even when she broke down and explained, I think it was Erik Erikson's The Stages of Development, that was well written and well highlighted as well. I think giving people more insight so you can get the understanding of, oh, my relationship started here and my relationship maybe with my younger sibling, I see that now being implemented in my adult relationships with my best friends or whatever. So you are able to kind of understand the root and basis of friendship and relationships. That was one of my favorite parts.
Panelist [0:7:10]: I really love that part too. Because I've read a bit about attachment theory, but it's always talked about in terms of romantic relationships, and so I think sometimes we can prioritize developing and growing in romantic relationships, but not in friendships. And so there's a level of introspection in the book that I really appreciate. In addition to the attachment theory, the questions that Dr. Joy wrote that I had to ask myself about how I'm operating in my friendships, I felt like that was really helpful. So I wasn't just reading to learn, but I was reading and processing a lot of things in the book to understand myself, and that was really helpful.
Panelist [07:46]: So Nyesha, earlier on you brought up the Ss of sisterhood, and I'd love for us all to touch on, how do you receive and give sisterhood? And if you feel comfortable sharing experiences from your own friendships, I'd be delighted to hear them.
Panelist [08:02]: When I was reading that, I obviously felt seen that I don't be asking for help, but thankfully I accepted help this weekend. And as I was going through my notes, I was like, okay, Nyesha, you didn't wanna take that moment of help but you accepted it. I was literally walking to a Starbucks and it was a 12 minute walk but a three minute drive, and I had just left an event. And these two sisters, they saw me at the event and it was like, hey sis, you just want a ride? And it was hard for me to say yes. And I've done that to other people. You know, hey, come on, come on in the car, come get a ride. I wasn't paying no $10 for the Uber, so I was like, I'm just gonna walk this 12 minutes, it's nothing for me. But she was like, come on, get in. And I felt no hesitation at all. I felt nervous accepting help. Not nervous for safety and nothing like that, but accepting help. I'm like, why? Like, she's literally going down the block just like you. But I had to just support myself because, you know, it was hot, my purse was heavy cuz I had my laptop in it. And it felt good. And then jumping into the support, of course she supported me at that moment as I've done for other people in the same situation. “Come on, just get in the car. We're going the same route.”
Panelist [09:08]: I was just gonna say that I thought it was really helpful, the whole idea of holding space and what that means. And I thought the fact that on page 93, that the three skills that are needed are active listening, freedom from distraction, and a spirit of curiosity, I thought that was really helpful to give people, myself included, bullet points on… You know, I had a friend and I'm in that stage right now where people's parents are aging and some of them are obviously dying. And so the idea of what that means to hold space for someone's grief has become very relevant so that was a really good reminder for me.
Panelist [09:46]: I think for me, the support is huge, especially now in this season that I'm in with just having a newborn baby. So being able to receive help is like I have to be okay with my friends reaching out to me and checking in on me instead of being like, why are you still texting me? Like feeling annoyed with everybody asking how I'm doing or how I'm feeling and how the baby is doing. Being able to say it's okay, people just wanna check in on you. Like it's okay to be checked on. Because I'm always that one to check on everyone else, and so since I am so occupied, I'm unable to do that, now people are checking in on me. It kind of feels a little weird but I'm in a space to receive it. So I'm allowing myself to receive the support from my friends and them showing up for me like I show up for them. That was a huge reminder for me when I read that part.
Panelist [10:36]: For myself, when I was thinking about the four Ss of sisterhood, one that I think a lot of people come to me for and that I give very freely, is like the knowledge of self. If I see a job that my friend might be good for, I'm gonna send it. If I'm reading an article, I'm like, “oh my goodness, I just thought of Avery,” I'm gonna send it immediately. I'm really open to sharing my own experiences and like having my friends grow from them, but also just like, oh, Ellice, what is it like to be vegan? Or like where should I eat in X, Y, Z place? Like that's very easy for me. But what's really hard for me is like to allow myself to be soft around other people. I think because I support people in that way. I don't know, I just get scared, I guess, supporting myself and like allowing people to see that softer side of me. People tell me I can present like a tougher exterior, and so being more vulnerable with people around me, it can be like really scary. Especially because I have a bigger family and I have like a lot of siblings, and sometimes I'm like, I don't need friends. But then I realize like I really do need my friends in the same way that they need me.
Panelist [11:44]: I'm hearing a lot of descriptors of the folks in this conversation being the strong friend or the friend that does the reaching out, the friend who sends the resources, and it's making me think about how Dr. Joy broke down the different type of friends in a group. So she described the leader, the wallflower, the firecracker, or the peacemaker. And I'd love to hear from us all, which one are you? And you might be a different kind of friend in a different group, so if you could share what kind of friend you are, and then also give us a little bit of context for this group. Is it your high school girlfriends? Is it your friends that you met through your parents?
Panelist [12:24]: Fredia, I love how you distinguish the groups because that's a real thing. When it comes to my high school friends, my college friends, my friends that I developed in motherhood, now my adult friends and then my coworker friends. Like it's important that you distinguish the group because each group, you were a different version of yourself when it developed, right? And so from my high school friends, they might still see me as the firecracker in certain spaces. I'm the one that's gonna be like, I'm gonna say it. If it's weird, I'm gonna call the elephant out in the room because why y'all being weird? And some of my college friends will see that too, because we went to high school. The others, though, it's like an interchangeable role between that and the leader.
My adult friends, college friends, grad school friends, motherhood friends, they will see more of the leader role in me. They don't necessarily see that firecracker because, with age, I've toned it down. Maturity in light. But my high school friends, when they see me in spaces with the other groups
of friends, they’re looking at me like, whoa, who is that? Like, is this the Gorgeous we know? Because normally you would've said this. Or why you acting scared? You’re not gonna say what you feel, you know what I mean? But it's just in the sense of I'm still me, but I present different amongst different groups due to the relationship. I might feel a little bit more safer with my high school friends because of the longevity to be that firecracker, right? So it's about how safe you feel and how you show up.
Panelist [13:59]: It's interesting that you mention safety because I feel safe when I'm not the only one being the leader in a friend group. And so I think because of the nature of my job being a producer, you have to lead a lot, you have to organize a lot. And so when I find myself in situations where I'm the only one giving in that way, I get really nervous and I get overwhelmed. Because it's like, is this work? Like I don't like that. And so I think sometimes in a friend group, I'm looking for like a collective of leaders. And I know sometimes we can butt heads, but I hate feeling like I'm bearing the burden of like planning things or reaching out or like making sure everyone's being really cohesive. But I will say outside of being the leader, I am the firecracker. So I'm a Gemini, I'm a Sagittarius rising, I am not afraid to say it. And I think sometimes I think when I was younger, especially with my college friends, that could cause a lot of tension and that's why I found myself being like the firecracker, but also being the peacemaker. Like allowing everyone to say how they feel and being that person who can bring up difficult things, but also checking myself and like I'm not bringing up this difficult thing for drama or to call somebody out or to have some tea. It's like, no, I'm bringing it up so we can resolve it and we can move forward as a friend group. And so I think naturally I'm a leader, but where I feel my safest is when I can be the firecracker, but also the peacemaker.
Panelist [15:26]: When going through the descriptions, I'm like I am a little bit of everything. And I was thinking about my family cuz I'm not around my family that often, particularly my father's side. And we're planning the family reunion and I was supposed to take the lead on it. But apparently, people didn't wanna come to New York and they planned something in Florida. So right now I'm kind of being the wallflower and being a little quiet and I'm like, you know what, I'm gonna still show up and be there, still be my firecracker self when I get there. And leading things when it comes to, hey, who's watching all the kids? Cause it’s a family reunion. Who's watching all the kids while the millennials go out to the club? I'll be leading that. And then when it comes to like serving our elders, I'm ready to make sure they're served and taken care of.
I was listening to Ellice when she was saying planning different things she produces. I am in the stage where I'm like looking forward to going to events where I don't have to put things together. As you all know, I do this for the Sister Circle, but I just want to be quiet and enjoy the event and not plan the event. I'm looking forward to that. I am an entrepreneur, whew. I have to take the lead and just go for it and just show myself that I can be the lead and it's okay. Gorgeous also mentioned something. As I get older, becoming more mature, and as a parent I talk so much. I'm like, I just wanna be quiet and be that wallflower and relax.
Panelist [16:43]: I have noticed in all of my friend groups I'm the leader, and I attribute that to (talking astrology) I'm a Cancer sun with a Leo moon, so trying to be very nurturing all the time and also boss lady energy. And so recently though, with one of my friend groups, the best way I can describe them is high school and post-college. I met half of them through my friends that I knew when I was younger and so that's the group. And I was a leader in this group, and I noticed (to Ellice's point) that I was the one always planning and coordinating our events.
And I decided to take a sabbatical from this role, but I did not tell the group that I was doing that. And I noticed because I do it in every other category or in every other relationship that I have, where I'm leading, I'm leading, I'm leading, I said, “oh, if y'all wanna be together, somebody else plan it.” But I didn't tell them that. And so recently, we got on a call that I planned because I took a year off from planning with these people. So I planned my first event of this year and they said, oh, Fredia, we missed this so much. We would really appreciate if you did this more. And it was the first time I said, okay, y'all, I'm happy to do this, but the next one, if you want this to happen, I need someone else to plan one. I need to see someone else take this up because the reason I stepped away from y'all is because no one else was doing anything. And they said, but you didn't tell us. You didn't tell us you were upset. And then you left us for a year and now we done missed out on a year of sisterhood. And I said, well damn, you're right.
So, this book made me think of that. And also, to the folks who identify as multiples, I realize I don't wanna be the leader in every group. I'm about to start being a wallflower in some groups, I'm gonna be a firecracker. You know, I need to diversify how I show up. Because I noticed I'm over-indexing in this leader category. And as Ellice said, as a producer, coordinating and scheduling every day, and as Nyesha said, coordinating and scheduling for other people, I need to figure out other ways to show up and feel like that's enough. Because a lot of times I think if I'm not leading, if I'm not directing, people aren't gonna have a good time, or it's not going to happen. And allowing other people around me to rise to the occasion and do it their way without thinking that my way is better.
Dr. Joy: More from the conversation after the break.
Panelist [19:25]: So we touched on the Ss of sisterhood, where we show up in our friendships. I'm curious, what else has the book taught you about friendship?
Panelist [19:37]: One of the things that I've felt like it really validated and put in really good terms for me is that I had started, many years ago now, thinking in my life cocentrically. And not as a pyramid, where this is on top and everything else flows from it. I decided that they had to be circles, like it just was serving me better to have things not have this hierarchy. Like I said, to see that written out, it really validated the choices that I've been making and made me feel like, yeah, this is putting into words what I have been trying to do. Because especially I'm at a stage in my life, obviously much different than you all, where I'm about to have an empty nest. My son graduates from high school, my daughter's in college. And I feel like the decisions that I made when they were small are coming to blossom because I was like I cannot make them my everything. They are the most important things in so many ways, but there's gotta be, like I said, a way I started thinking about it as circles that overlap, intertwine. And that there's no better, worse, there's no scale like that. They're all things that bring value to my life. My friends, my family, and not just my husband up here and the kids, cuz that's just, to me, setting yourself up for… not necessarily failure, but just not the richest life you can have.
Panelist [20:56]: Kia, it's so fascinating that you came to this conclusion to implement this into your life. Was there a catalyst for this moment? How did you come to this understanding of the circles instead of the pyramid? Was there a moment that is distinguishable for you?
Panelist [21:09]: No, I cannot say that there was any aha moment. It just became more and more apparent that, like I said, I come from a relatively patriarchal situation in terms of the very stereotypical head of household. And not in a bad way, but in a way that I was like, I'm going to learn from this. And I've been very fortunate that I have a partner who's very respectful of that and very supportive of that because I came to this conclusion with him. And not because he was a certain way, but because this was a man who was like the fullness and richness of your life is very important, whether or not we're together or not. So you need me to do whatever is going to fertilize and help that bloom.
Panelist [21:50]: It's so funny when Dr. Joy put it and she said she's gonna say the most cliché thing that therapists say. Everything starts with our earliest experiences. My goodness, this has come up in individual therapy, of course, and now recently group therapy, cuz I've been in group therapy for about four or five weeks. And we all agreed that, you know, our early experiences help us understand why we're going through what we're going through now, why we're seeking growth in different areas. Me specifically, asking for help was something that I did not grow up doing. My mom told me to figure it out. And collectively in group therapy, we said that a lot of family members told us that. Me specifically, a teacher told me to figure it out. And I'm like, you're my teacher, aren’t you supposed to help me? Actually, she was one of my favorite high school teachers, but that was her way of telling us use the internet now (you know, the internet was booming) and just be creative.
And we didn't know how to ask those things back then and I can say for myself, speaking to my mom, if she told me to figure it out, I had to go figure it out. So now being an adult, as you were mentioning, Fredia, planning these things, rather than going to ask someone, I will spend 20 minutes on Google trying to find an answer. So now I'm getting like, no Nyesha, don't do this. Thankfully, I've made friends from the Sister Circle, from Three for Thursday, in Georgia specifically, where I can ask questions when I need help. That's just a small example, but there's so many examples that I can share that my childhood just shaped who I am. And I'd love to touch on the point of being a mom now, my childhood showed me what I don't want to show my child and how I want to be here for her. The other day, my five year old told her other mom, I can cry because my feelings are valid. And I said, yes. Clap, clap, clap, snap, snap, snap, all that. There was no debate. We said yes. And she said all feelings are valid. And I'm like, did I tell her that? I think I did. If I didn't, I'm happy wherever she heard it from. It could have been in YouTube. But I wasn't told that when I was younger.
Panelist [23:45]: I think that's really insightful. Like everything starts with our previous experiences, our childhood experiences. And it reminds me, on page 88, Dr. Joy writes about trying to figure out how your own stuff is interfering with being able to hold space for someone else. And I think that's one of the biggest things that this book kind of knocked me over the head with. Is like everyone wants to be a great friend, but sometimes we have to realize when we're giving advice or when we're showing up for someone, how our past traumas, our experiences, our other relationships might be blocking or kind of blurring our vision. And one of the questions that she asks on that page is, is the situation my sister is confiding in me about too much like what I've experienced in the past? Am I really listening to her or am I replaying my own situation?
And I found myself on both ends of that spectrum. So someone talking to me about something they're going through and me feeling really triggered and having a lot to say about it but not backing up and realizing a lot of what I have to say is kind of based off of my own hurt and something I may have gone through and I may have experienced, and I'm not really listening to her and like holding space for what's going on with her cuz I'm so clouded with my stuff. And so I think what you said, Nyesha, really recognizing what you wanna do differently in a situation when you're giving advice, but also realizing that to really hold space for someone and for other people means that you kind of have to let go of your past hurt. And you can always be a friend from an informed place, but I really think a lot of times we get so wrapped up and so attached to our own hurts in the past that we're not able to really be there for other people. So I think that's something the book has really made me think about a lot. And I love this book cause I think it's encouraging us to take our friendships just as seriously as we take our romantic relationships. And so a lot of those questions kind of prompt me to continue to do that.
Panelist [25:44]: One thing this book has taught me and shared with me is a toolkit of language to have difficult conversations with people and Dr. Joy broke it down for so many scenarios that I can anticipate having. So for me, I'm turning 30 this year and I'm at that place where people are going to start having more children, more marriages. And then, you know, for this thirties decade, there could also be divorce, there could also be parental loss. There's just gonna be a lot of things that I anticipate is going to happen to and around the people that I love. And I just wanna share one of them, which was: If you've noticed a change in your friend since your engagement or wedding, (she writes), hey, I just wanted to check in with you. It feels like something's been off ever since I got engaged/married. I know this is a huge change for all of us, is there anything you wanna check in about? There was one for that, there was one about having a baby, if your friend is having a difficult time conceiving and you're really excited but you know they're dealing with something.
And at this place in my life and in reading this book, it affirmed for me that the friends that I have will be open to these kinds of conversations. And that we can get through them and the power in that as opposed to what I may have done in my teens or in my twenties, which is just fade away. But in reading this book, I realized, oh, I'm gonna need these friends throughout this decade, through the forties, through the fifties, this strong sisterhood. And having this language to identify these conversations, and as I think Ellice, you pointed out an aspect of curiosity and almost like an optimism that this conversation is going to go well because I know my sister and I am proactively speaking about it. It just made me feel… not like I'm excited to have these conversations because I'm not, but feeling empowered that I actually can navigate them well.
Panelist [27:43]: I think you spoke a huge point, Fredia, in the ability to navigate it well and being
able to speak to it well, because I think that that's a common fear for a lot of people. Like what do I say? I don't want them to think I'm jealous, I don't want them to think or feel no type of way, or I don't want this to make our friendship change. So it's like having that optimism I think definitely is a key factor and a key point. And I was gonna speak to that part of the book too, that was the part I was gonna highlight. But no, you definitely hit the points that I was gonna hit on. So yes, I agree with you on that one.
Panelist [28:22]: And at a certain point, I know she says that the validation of change being okay. That sometimes you have to leave the people where they're at and that's okay. And I think just having that put out there in explicit terms was really helpful because, you know, you go back and forth about different things and there are certain situations that are not salvageable, and that's okay. And you have to be at peace with the ending of it, that there's not necessarily going to be closure with it and that's okay. And like I said, as somebody who's very solution oriented, like you tell me something and I'm going to ask you, A, B, C, D – that acceptance of things is something that I definitely have to be very conscious of because it's difficult for me.
Panelist [29:07]: Kia, you brought up closure, and when Dr. Joy wrote closure is not something other people give to you, I put the book down. I said, wow, okay.
Panelist [29:18]: On that same note, there's an author called Cheryl Strayed that I'm pretty sure had said “acceptance is a small, quiet room.” And I feel that so much because acceptance isn't this great big feeling. It's “okay.” Like, you know, it's not an oversized emotion necessarily. It can be something very muted and only, like you said, like closure, it's cousin, right.
Panelist [29:41] Fredia, when you mentioned that line, I'm just like, it was like a “gotcha, sis, like you need to figure this out.” And not in the most common way, it doesn't come from the other person. After being on Three for Thursday with Dr. Joy for almost two years, she's sprung this up many times. So, you know, working on yourself will help you heal. If you're expecting it from the next person, then it’s gonna take a little longer (and these are not her exact words), that process is gonna take a little longer than you expect. And it just, woo, that line. And I went back to it and like, yeah, period. She said it.
Dr. Joy: More from the conversation after the break.
Panelist [30:29]: So for our next question, it kind of touches a little bit on what Fredia mentioned earlier about approaching conflict in friendships. And she's talked about how she implemented that in some of her own friendships. So I'm curious, what have you guys taken from the book and how have you already started to implement it in your own friendships? I'll start. So similar to Fredia, I really love the section about conflict because, as I said before, I am the firecracker but also the peacemaker. And I think I've always struggled. I've been good at being confrontational, but struggled to have like a soft and caring aspect to it. And so I really appreciated a lot of the prompts. I guess they take an approach that's not confrontational. Because Fredia read the prompt about someone getting engaged and seeing their friend be distant, you can be like, “you're being really shady ever since I got engaged, I don't like that.” Instead of realizing, like where is this other person operating from? They may be hurt. And so I think what the book has made me see are ways I can continue to exude softness, but also continue to approach conflict in a healthy way.
And I think something I think about is back in 2020, I had a friend who I approached about… Very similar situation, not hearing from her, especially during the pandemic. We lived around the corner from each other, we were the only people in our city. And I remember I had a lot of pent up aggression about that situation. But something from like six months ago and then something from two weeks ago, and I was realizing I came to her and I was at level 10 and she didn't even know that something was wrong. And so I constantly think about also looking at my own past hurt and like what feelings with my friends haven't I resolved in approaching any conflict? Because, like Nyesha said, the past really does inform everything we do and how we operate in every relationship. And so if we're not taking the steps to address conflict as it's presented to us, we can have a lot of pent up aggression. So that softness and that care to our friendships can kind of be lost when we want to resolve conflict if we're not really checking in with ourselves. And then if we're not thinking about where is the other person on this scale? Have we talked about this before or is this like a new issue that I'm bringing up to them? And so the book has really helped me. I've started to be a lot more self-aware when approaching conflict. But who else? I'm curious.
Panelist [33:00]: I think for me, it’s just a reminder to be intentional and that to continue to cultivate new friendships, new relationships. That it doesn't have to be static, that it doesn't mean that you're gonna necessarily feel the same sense of kinship with people who you've known for decades. But the way to cultivate anything, like I said, is to be intentional about it and to really be open to continuing to be there for the black women who I might encounter in more casual situations. To be, like I said, really purposeful in cultivating relationships with them, which I think I have been, but it's just a reminder to go that extra mile because we are all we’ve got.
Panelist [33:39]: I think for me, it definitely reminded me that my close friends don't live here in Atlanta. And so it's like, oh, you need to like find and put yourself back out there now (especially since things are a little bit more safer regarding the pandemic) and meet more people. Like, granted, I know people, but I need to like spend time and engage. It's like I haven't fully invested like I should and so it was a huge reminder of like, if you want things to look different, you want that support to be more immediate and accessible to you instead of long distance, then I have to show up and really put forth effort.
Panelist [34:17]: What said, Gorgeous, made me think about a song I learned in elementary school, and it was, “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.” I love that song, I don’t know if y'all learned that. It's a very California school song. Anyway, I also just moved to a new place, I'm in Washington DC, and realizing the same thing. I actually need to not be team “no new friends.” And if I want DC to be as wonderful and miraculous as other places I've lived, like New York City or the Bay Area, to be as fruitful and bountiful, I have to take that extra step and work on those relationships. I will also say this past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Los Angeles to celebrate my friend's 30th birthday. And weeks leading up to it, I was very reluctant, I wasn't sure if I was gonna be able to go, and I just wasn't sure if I was wanting to spend the money and do all those things. And then I think it affirmed for me that the right friends and the commitment to the right friends really just energizes me in a way I can't even describe. So spending one weekend with her makes me feel like I have the energy for March and April and May. It was just that kind of experience and how real sisterhood, whether it's seven years old or whether, you know, it's just seven months old, really impacts my health. And I think that's also one key takeaway from the book.
Panelist [36:01]: Black Women make me feel healthier, safer, more able to be myself and to be in this world. And I had never thought of it like that. Even growing up, going back to what we were talking about, our experiences are shaped by our past. I remember elders in my community telling me things like, oh, you know, don't keep your friends too close, or don't tell your friends about your money. Don't tell your friends about your man. And then one day I was like, do you have friends? Do you have friends? Because what you're telling me is to fear the black women that are around me. And granted, caution is necessary. Everyone cannot be trusted. But I am so deeply moved and poured into by black women and so that's what this book reminded me of. Just the power of friendship in a way that I had never thought about before.
Panelist [36:57]: Dr. Joy actually mentioned that. I forget which chapter, but she said after that girl's trip and you feel full and you feel whole. Yes, it happened for you, Fredia.
Panelist [37:06]: And a reminder to respect and take some things from elders and to discard others, right? You have to figure out what to take and what to leave behind. Because I know the same is true in terms of generational things. I remember I was at a family wedding and a woman who I love dearly and respected so much, when she found out… I was like excited to tell her, oh, I work with all black women. And she was like, how's that? And it just felt very like, this is a black woman who I've known. Because she was bringing her own previous experiences, and I was like it is truly wonderful. And like I said, this is somebody who has always been very supportive of me and just so inspirational, so to hear her try to give me her hurt in some ways or to color my experience with hers, I felt just, like it was very eye-opening to me.
Panelist [38:00] So for our closing, we'd love to hear, why do you think this book is important to have in the library of another black woman? Why would another black woman want to have this book in her library?
Panelist [38:20] I think it would be important because this book is something you can grow with. In the sense of starting maybe as young as 18 or young adulthood, throughout the transition of adulthood. It grows with you. And you can always reference that, depending on the chapter or phase you are in in life, in how to navigate different relationships and situations.
Panelist [38:43]: Every black woman needs this book in their lives because, as Fredia mentioned earlier, there's a toolkit on how to approach different conversations. And rather than going to someone who has not seen the research and done the research themselves, the toolkit is there. As well as if you want to be seen and if you want ideas on how to grow, Sisterhood Heals will definitely give that to you.
Panelist [39:04]: I think the word decolonize is thrown around a lot. Decolonize your fitness, decolonize different aspects of your life. But I don't think people necessarily know what that means or how to do it. And I think that this book really is a key towards how to take frameworks that weren't meant for us and really apply them in ways that can benefit us and allow us to grow. So like I said, I think that that's one of the buzzwords that you hear people talk a lot about. But just see ways in which you can heal, but that are outside of the standard ways that we've been taught.
Panelist [39:39]: I think Sisterhood Heals is important in another sister's bookshelf because a lot of life can feel like we're just winging it and I don't think our relationships have to feel that way. I think sometimes we talk a lot about friendships being natural and connections being natural, and that's great and that's fine, but to maintain and to grow, it does take a lot of hard work. And I don't think it's wrong to listen to a podcast episode (Therapy for Black Girls), to read Sisterhood Heals or to go to a talk for Sisterhood Heals book tour. And get your friendships together and really like check yourself and say, how can I be a better friend? How can I be a better sister? And so I encourage everyone to buy the book, to read the book, to share a copy with a friend. Because friendship doesn't have to be hard, it doesn't have to be this big secret or something that just happens and unfolds naturally. Like 30, 40 year friendships really do take hard work, and I know everyone wants that.
Panelist [40:36]: Beautifully said by all of you, by all of us. Sisterhood Heals is available for purchase at all book sellers as of June 27th, 2023. It has been an honor to talk with you about this book. And prayerfully, we'll be able to do this again because this was just scratching the surface of the incredible work Dr. Joy has done to put this book together for all of us to enjoy and grow from. So thank you all so much for joining us.
Dr. Joy: As many of you may have been able to tell, I was not a part of the conversation the team had, and I'm so honored and touched by all of their takeaways and the stories they shared. A huge thank you to Kia, Gorgeous, Fredia, Ellice, and Nyesha for letting us inside their book club. I would also be honored if you would take a moment to pre-order your copy of Sisterhood Heals right now as pre-orders are incredibly important to the life of a book. They are what demonstrate that there is interest for a particular topic, and really indicate to bookstores, publishing companies, etc., that you want more of a certain thing. Pre-orders let stores know how many books to have on hand, and I want as many sisters as possible to be able to find out about Sisterhood Heals, so please help me out by making your pre-order today at Sisterhoodheals.com. And then text two of your girls to encourage them to grab it as well.
If you're looking for a therapist in your area, check out our therapist directory at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/directory. And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. This episode was produced by Fredia Lucas and Ellice Ellis, and editing was done by Dennison Bradford. Thank y'all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.