BY JENNA TORRES
My transformative healing journey starts well before Standing in Our Power. My non-profit was in shambles and so was I. At 20, I had never worked such a high-stress job. I had poor boundaries, and I took my client stories home with me at night. I had little leadership support after the transition, and I wasn’t coping well! One of the Program Managers for a grant we accepted listened to my concerns. She directed me to Standing in Our Power’s retreat for an opportunity to do some transformative healing.
When I got out of the car, I could see a beautiful farm: clean air and the smell of great fresh food. The Watershed Center was wonderful. The beds were cozy, and the staff was welcoming. For the first time in my entire life, I had the chance to look inward. I cried and cried and cried. I cried for all the times I was ignored, verbally assaulted, disregarded, insulted, and harmed. I cried because I gained a family that understood how, as a black woman, the world often looks different. I cried because I had women who had my back for the first time. I left feeling whole, seen, and loved. I was revitalized. Ready to hit the ground running to help my community once more. They gave me exactly what I needed not to leave my job!
About two years later I was invited back. This time to learn the SiOP methodology and how to apply it to our business— a great idea! I think this process is so vital to my community as we harbor trauma from the past and the living our everyday reality. This cycle was different. Standing in Our Power was very intentional about providing opportunities for growth such as with the Facing Race Conference.
The conference centers on furthering the advancement of people of color. At that conference, I learned a lot. I thought the most helpful workshop was about the anti-blackness within latinx communities. I am multicultural, and the insight it gave was very helpful. I also really love the idea that other T3 members and myself had an opportunity to present on our experiences. BIG “shout out” to the Facing Race Team!
Standing in Our Power has given me the holistic support I needed to continue to do my harm reduction work. As I worked with people who are involved in the sex industry, I quickly learned what comes with the territory; no one can teach you this unless you have lived through these levels of trauma, abuse, internal conflict, and external conflict. By being with SiOP, I was able to inquire about tools to take care of myself and my community. I have better boundaries, teach my community about honoring my boundaries and creating their own boundaries for wellness. I can have an open dialogue about pain and trauma. I can even give my communities support around conflict. I was able to infuse love into them in a new way! Infusing love into a community that has been abandoned and disregard is a fine line. Love in a community that is traditionally isolated can make setting boundaries be perceived as being loved less. In reality, I have learned that setting boundaries are acts of love for myself and my community. Communicating this to my community has made us all grow! No value can be assigned to this lesson.
I went from going to therapy twice a week because I was too triggered to do my job effectively, to learning to center myself and set boundaries in order to love my community better.
I had such a great experience with SiOP that I recommend them time and time again. I want to help and expand this process because it is so needed. They gave me the confidence to create my own business. They truly go above and beyond to give support. I really appreciate them for everything they have done for me. They continue to create space for me and everything I come with…honestly, on some days, that is all I need to stand in my own power!