Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

GirlTrek's Stress Protest

On a visit home to spend time with my grandmother last summer, she lovingly took my hand after looking at me for what seemed like an eternity and said, "Baaaaby, that stress is gonna kill ya. You are looking like a worn out shoe. That stress gonna turn ya ugly from the inside out. You hear me." My vanity kicked in immediately and I replied back with a laugh, "Mother, well I need to make some changes quickly because we don't do ugly, right? Our playful banter stayed with me long after I left my hometown. If my grandmother was bothered, it was not good!
My son at his graduation before being deployed.
At that time, my family was in the middle of two deployments a few weeks apart and we had a college graduation right in the middle. My youngest son, USMC, and my nephew, Army, were headed overseas and I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. The aching in my heart had penetrated my bones. My baby boy was "chosen" for a special mission and he needed his family support. I needed to be upbeat because he did not need to see me falling apart.
I spent weeks wrestling with fear and worry and tried not to show it. I would lock myself in my closet praying for his protection and safety. It was during this time, fellow Marine moms called me up to tell me to "walk it out." "You got to shake this and be strong," I was told. I took my stress levels seriously and took inventory of what was bringing me joy and what in my life that was throwing me out of sorts beyond my son's deployment. I also went for my annual check-up. After my exam, my doctor voiced sternly what I knew, "Stress and high blood pressure can led to a stroke or heart attack. You must do better." She was right!
I immediately started corrective actions.  I stepped up my game and began walking with bolder, more  determined steps to help decrease my stress levels and to rid myself of the extra baggage in head. My extra baggage came from many factors and I addressed them one by one. I put my volunteering life on a diet and started managing who and what entered my sacred space. I even paid attention to my media consumption. I could only watch #Maddow twice a week!
In my attempts to be very radical about my stress, on Labor Day Weekend in 2017, I joined hundreds of Black women in the mountains of Colorado to stage a #stressprotest. Members of GirlTrek flew to the Rocky Mountains from all over the world! There are no words to describe accurately the magic that happened on that mountaintop.

We spent the four day weekend reflecting, being nurtured, resting our weary souls, rejoicing at the breathtaking views, absorbing the serenity of the mountainside and relishing in the peace and tranquility found at Estes Park'sYMCA. We vowed to take care of ourselves and to put health first. Since my weekend in the mountain, I have traveled to meetup with several members of GirlTrek who have staged #stressprotest weekends on hiking trails and mountains to reclaim their minds and health.  For those who did not attend the event in the mountains, they had hundreds of  #stressprotests in their own neighborhoods. The #stressprotest was covered by nation media outlets, online, print, and radio, and thousands on social media cheering for women, Black women, wanting to take care of the themselves by dumping stress! 
At Living Your Best Life Radio Studio.
Saturday after the show walk with Grand Prince.
In the spring of 2018, I joined 100,000+ Black women who took the GirlTrek's Harriet Hall of Fame: 100 Mile Challenge to take charge of our health by addressing issues that maybe self-inflicted, environmental, work related or relational that can take a toll on our physical and mental health.
My Marine cheering me on after a walk!
 I made 2018 my year to advocate for my mind, body, and soul, first, and to partner with others who are determined to be change agents in our community for our sisters' health and well being. #stressprotest 

This story was previously published in February 2018. 

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