#BlackGirlHealing: “I Have Been Afraid That Stress Will Kill Me”

I have been afraid of leaving my mother to bury me; to leave her knowing that she’s not only had to bury her parents, her brothers, and countless others but also her daughter and that that death was 100% preventable.

And these fears have been a chain around my neck. These fears have been a secret choking on the very marrow of my life. These fears have paralyzed me and I have had to fight it and that fight also stresses me and that stress is just another nail in my coffin.

I don’t want to pay for these fears with my mother’s tears or my son’s college fund.

One October morning in 2014 I was lying in bed, literally trying to wrap my mind around my life when the thought popped in my head that I should go for a walk. I wanted to go for a walk but I didn’t want to walk alone. So I logged onto Facebook and discovered that there was a group of women walking on Belle Isle in exactly 30 minutes. I jumped up, threw on my sweat suit, and headed out the door.

Wanda Olugbala GirlTrek Detroit

I expected to meet up with a couple of women who like me just wanted to go for a walk that day. I did not expect that I would be welcomed into a sisterhood of acceptance. I did not expect to meet a complete cheer squad who just wanted me to be the best me.

READ: Walk & Talk: The Power Of Walking As Therapy

No one berated me for regaining the 40 pounds I had worked so hard the year before to lose. No one talked about how bad sour cream and cheddar potato chips are for me. No one asked me when was the last time I checked my BMI. We were just 12 Black women going for a walk on Belle Isle with self-care as our goal.

At the time I was feeling pretty low. Life just was not doing what I thought it should be doing. Beside that I’d made the radical choice to separate from lifelong friendships. So after the year I had just undergone walking with Girltrek was one of the most liberating experiences of my adult life.

From the moment I stepped out of my car, these women who I did not know from Eve accepted me. They cheered me. They approved of me. I didn’t have to change any aspect of me for their affection. I didn’t have to loose 10 pounds or smile through the pain.  No one asked me about my meal plan or my master plan. We were just walking and talking about how we wanted to be free. Talking about how doing one thing everyday just for me is the best thing I can do for anybody on any given day.

Since then I have become a full fledge member of a MOVEment. I am GirlTrek.

Wanda Olugbala GirlTrek

I have to be honest, as much as I walk with GirlTrek and I walk every week especially on #SuperHeroSaturday I don’t have an amazing 80-pound weight loss story to tell. I still weigh what I weighed on that faithful morning back in 2014.

What I have lost, however, is my suspicion that Black women can’t work together. What I have lost is the idea that one woman taking one step can’t make a difference. And what I have gained is a sisterhood that stretches across time zones and embraces me with all my crinkly parts, loving me back to the truth of who I am.





– Wanda Olugbala, GirlTrek Detroit

BlackDoctor.org is excited for this content partnership with GirlTrek to feature #BlackGirlHealing, an initiative created to document the narratives, struggles and successes of Black women on the journey to living their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through the habit of daily walking. This initiative will further the mission of decreasing health disparities and stigma among women and girls, and further the conversation that self care is a revolutionary act of love. 

Watch for more inspiration!