On My Mother's Couch

By Zakkiyyah Najeebah, Black Girl In Om Art Director

It was just last week that I finally admitted to myself: I have, in fact, not healed in the ways that I had “planned” or set up for myself. Yet, I’m taking the necessary actions.

My healing process was not brought on by a “plan”, but by a heightened awareness of myself and loved ones who hold me accountable for my actions. An extension of my healing process involves openly admitting what it is I’m taking strides to heal from, that being:

Internalized self hatred


Defeatist mentality

Spurts of depression

Inflicting emotional and physical abuse in my romantic relationships

Do we talk enough about what it is we are actually healing from? Do we share how some of us are actually in the process of healing ourselves from our own self harm (spiritually, physically, and mentally)? It’s critical that we be bold and honest about our truths and how that contributes to our transformation.

In the realm of self-care and self-love language, I hear the term “heal/-ing” quite often. As if the process or act of healing is some romanticized notion in which you are left unscathed or have created a type of “normalcy” for yourself. I used to think that even yoga and meditation would act as a sort of erasure for pain and suffering, rather than utilizing those methods to confront my fears and traumas. My process also involves:


Considering the consequences of my actions

Writing myself love notes

Speaking words of affirmation for myself

Speaking my truth, even if it scares me

Practicing small acts of kindness that embody what I would like to receive from others

Learning how to listen…tentatively to others and myself.

I have not perfected any of these, but the feeling of progress definitely puts a smile on my face.

“Healing” is one of the ugliest, most painful proactive processes I’ve ever endured. Healing isn’t just something that’s discussed amongst your peers or in groups…it’s what you do. It’s what you practice. It’s how you feel. It’s what you care about. It’s how you dictate your choices. As someone, like most of us, who is healing from various things, this act of self preservation requires brutal self honesty. In order to heal ourselves and aid in the healing of those around us, the ugly parts must be exposed. Re-emerging and the process of transformative healing aren’t meant to be pretty at all. It’s meant to be bare, honest and self revealing.

I took it upon myself to produce these self portraits at a time where I had finally reached the point in which I was ready to uncover the ugly…embrace it, and shift it. It was on my mother’s couch that I, only partially, began to heal…