Updated: Jan 28
An inside look into my life and thoughts as I go from surviving to thriving. Answering the questions you're too polite to ask.
This blog has been a long time in the making. It seems that my entire life I've been drawn to figuring out life's big questions, and helping others to as well. Think what is the meaning of life to life, love, and pain. What is purpose or how do we chase happiness?
For someone who immigrated to the U.S. as a baby I always had more questions than answers. My parents had fled to Sudan as refugees from Tigray, Ethiopia in their young teens due to genocidal war and famine. Somehow in that chaos these two amazing people met, and were brave enough to have me, and courageous enough to start their lives over again in Oakland, CA (a story for another post). My father had loving called me 'his root' at my birth thus my second name Rutha, and who could for see what that journey of being 'Uprooted' would be. He planted that first seed of purpose in my life to be a root, and I've spent my life trying to understand what that meant not ever dreaming it would manifest into this.
Jewelry from Te'shelima - https://teshelima.com/
Journey to Healing
My journey to understanding my purpose, to become a root, came through my healing and diving into my inner work of self discovery. Which comes down to being willing to be uncomfortable, and looking my insecurities in the mirror instead of hiding from it. One thing about being uprooted is that we're often a fish out of water and uncomfortable situations are a dime a dozen. Because of that, I learned over time how to study a place and the people in it. It was how I learned to see the world and my place in it just to find out that the world was trying to bury me.
As we moved further away from Oakland, I was the glaringly different one in every space. Even in a room full of ethnically diverse people, I'd often be the only black girl, the new girl, the immigrant. Somehow all of my identities were othered, looked down upon, and tokenized at the same time. I had to dig through every layer and find of what they didn't want me to realize, these were all man made identities and I wasn't beholden to their narratives. We can absolutely do something abut them! So my healing work became uprooting myself once again, but this time internally excavating those unhealthy narratives from my roots while I simultaneously create a new healthy home for myself through practicing self love.
For as long as I can remember I've known that this world was beyond unfair and that I deserved better. Actually, that we all deserved better. There was never a reason, or I should say, a good reason for all the suffering. Outside of natural causes there weren't amazing explanations for any of our suffering. Indigenous people, like me own, have been and continue to be systematically displaced and eradicated to maintain a system that benefits the few on the suffering of the many.
It's been with this perspective that I've moved through life, always imagining creating a space where I didn't have to feel trapped in that reality. That there was power in changing ourselves, and that would in turn change our communities as well. That together we could create the world that valued us, were we could be seen, and live authentically. I hadn't seen to many spaces that did this for African diaspora, especially the Tigrayan/East African community I belong too. Not ones were people would address trauma, culture, or show up vulnerably. It's no surprise that mental health was a taboo topic growing up, and so my studying Psychology or being interested in this work seemed ridiculous to some. Flash forward to years of random therapy sessions with friends, strangers, and of course my family, I finally stopped putting off sharing. Once I started sharing it would always resulted in an inquiry about what I'm doing in life, if I was a teacher, therapist, social worker, or encouragement to take this talent to bigger space and stage. It was in that in those interactions that I discovered my gift of storytelling, for leadership, and transformation. As I continued practicing that in other community spaces the affirmations become louder, and vision became clearer that I needed to build a community for all of us that I've met along the way who are also on their journey.
When COVID-19 hit I had no more excuses for putting it off, and with the encouragement of my cousin Robell, I finally decided to start what became Uprooted. A place where we can share all of our stories and learn with one another. To create that safe space for us. Uprooted Network transformed from what I planned as a physical cafe into an expanding global community with the opportunity 'to be the change' and positively impact the world. In every way, Uprooted is an open space to create, and collaborate with peers as we find all the ways we can better our communities, and bridge the gap for all of us that find ourselves in the diaspora 'uprooted' from the lives we should have had.
Come along to do the work and heal yourself. I'll share my story as you learn to share more of yours. The goal is to explore as many perspectives available, and do our part to make this a better place for all of us. So if you're READY TO HEAL come along and 'Find Your Way Home'.
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