White people are begging to heal from trauma but they hate to admit the “t” word – SASSY SUNDAY 26 of 52

Reverend SASSY SHORTS is in the house!

I just watched the trailer for this new show: “The King of Staten Island.” WHEW. Heavy duty. Ouch. Reality TV. Trauma. Trauma. Trauma.

Aside from feeling sympathy for this young actor whose father in real life died in the twin towers on 9-11, all I could think is: We are addicted to shows about trauma. But not just any trauma. The sensationalized kind. The kind that “could never happen to us.”

We are using actors to touch our own trauma, to help us process our pain. That’s why they get paid so much. They have a HARD job.

I know this because I help people process their trauma and help them reconnect to themselves so that their light can shine and they can feel comfortable in their own skins. I do this because humanity benefits tremendously from the personal power of someone who is deeply connected to themselves. I do this because it brings me tremendous joy.

When I see true empowerment grow in someone as they heal their trauma – it’s like watching the most gorgeous sunrise ever. The colors are stunning. It’s MAGICAL. And it’s continuous.

Trauma happens to everyone. I don’t know one single person who is exempt.

Then why are we white folks so scared of it? Why are we so insistent on keeping it in the shadows?

I just saw a black musician being interviewed who titled his last album TRAUMA (According to Wiki, Trauma is the seventh album by rapper/producer DJ Quik). He had experienced DOZENS of people die by the time he was 25. I felt RELIEF at his willingness to speak the word. TRAUMA.

Hanging around “good people” who DON’T admit to their trauma is like hanging around someone who’s bleeding and crying but who is pretending they are not bleeding. So not only can you not help them, but they can’t help themselves. It leaves me feeling powerless.

Their cries can look like: overwork, addiction (who isn’t addicted to something, let him or her cast the first stone!), pretending to be happy, dis-association from their own truths, being abused “again” and feeling continuously disheartened.

PEOPLE WHO DON’T HEAL AREN’T AVAILABLE FOR DEEP, MEANINGFUL FRIENDSHIPS, CONVERSATIONS AND JOY BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO BUSY RUNNING AWAY FROM THEIR PAIN OR FROZEN FROM IT. Which means that they can’t be truly available to be with me in my pain. Because that would force them to have to face their own. This is the value of Emotional Literacy. When we can be with our own pain, we can empathize with the pain in others. We can heal together. And we can share JOY!

I recently heard a black woman in an interview say that white people don’t understand “black joy.” Oh, holy yes. We white people are usually left out of “black joy.” We aren’t invited to the party. I blinked when she said it. I felt a visceral sense of “truth” that she was speaking but I couldn’t put words to it. I still can’t quite name it for you, but I hope you get it, too. I think part of the reason they have “black joy” is because they can name and face and GRIEVE their “black trauma.” “Black joy” is NEEDED in order to survive ongoing GRIEF, anger, rage and other unpopular, darker, shadowed emotions.

What’s up with us white people? Are we too arrogant? Too ignorant? Too afraid?

We are certainly too traumatized because anyone in that amount of denial has to be. I feel compassion for us. As well as an unwillingness to stay silent about it.

What we don’t transform we transfer. And I’m not willing to be part of a generation that transfers trauma to the next generation.

One benefit of healing TRAUMA is that at some point, we are brought straight to the GATEWAY of spiritual liberation. Facing our fear of death, our terror of annihilation, our anger and our rage – invites us to experience that which is just beyond the darkness. We get to know our indivisible, indestructible, invincible selves. Our spirit. And this is the “sense” I have about “black joy.”

In January, I wrote about Black Mamas who I admire (see link below).

When people don’t heal their trauma, it’s most often because they weren’t taught how. My graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy came from a deep yearning to find answers to create more joy within families. What I have learned is that we need to SHOW our children the “energy” of healthy parenting.

If you don’t have parents who showed you this energy, you can borrow the “energy” from role models such as these mothers. They exemplify deep loyalty to their children, deep willingness to heal their own trauma, and deep faith which carries them into the land of so-called miracles. These woman – some rich, some poor – truly believe in possibilities that are outside of the realm of normal. Their wholeheartedness and steadfastness is worthy of admiration and I look to them for hope for our future.

I believe in white people and in black people and in people of all colors.

I believe in our capacity to heal.

I believe in JOY.

I invite you to step up with me into greater courage. With deeper faith. With more empowered vision. Let’s look forward with a belief that TRUE JOY is truly possible for ourselves and for those we love. People who value JOY are people who value justice, equality and doing the right thing.

I’m standing strong with you.

Much love,


ps. Shout out and THANK YOU to Kam Showers, my closest black friend who has been so generous and willing to share her truest experiences with me. Thank you for your honesty, your presence, your love and your JOY. I adore you!!!

January’s blog post about black mama’s is here: https://joybasedliving.com/2020/01/24/3-black-mothers-whom-i-admire-and-adore-and-mark-twain-too/

Reading recommendations: Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou and Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. Great writing. Great stories. Great relationships. Great legacies.

This parenting video from the Smith’s is outstanding. These are people who are willing to look closely at themselves and those they love, and to make changes as they go. This takes HUGE courage and love and commitment to deeper values. And to JOY.

Debbie Happy Cohen, author and coach, is the founder of Joy-Based Living. Her Master’s Degree is in counseling, specializing in family systems, healing emotional trauma, and practical spirituality. Also affectionately known as Happy D! and Reverend SASSY SHORTS!, she lives on Lookout Mountain in Alabama, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her books include Reach Your Stars!, SANCTUARY, It’s All About Kids: Every Child Deserves a Teacher of the Year, and I Don’t Think So! Her social media playgrounds as well as the SANCTUARY ebook can be found right here.

A great resource for parents and teachers is COURAGE TO CONNECT, a curriculum I co-wrote with a great teacher, Amy Gregory. You can find our link to it in the JBL store.

JBL Trifecta

Are you still here? You still want more? Well, okay…

7 thoughts on “White people are begging to heal from trauma but they hate to admit the “t” word – SASSY SUNDAY 26 of 52

  1. Powerful. Empowering. Puttin’ it out there. Once again.
    White, Black, Brown, Yellow, Red… We stand strongest when we stand together.
    Thanks for shoutin’ it out, Debbie…
    You ain’t alone…
    Rock. On.

      1. By the way, “Congratulations!” on getting halfway there! (26 outta’ 52, I mean!) You Got This, Debbie!) 😉

    1. Aww thanks so much for letting me know. It’s nice to meet you, Chris. I think that whenever we speak our truth, the chord will resonate with others because it comes from the heart.

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