#BlackGirlHealing: “I Decided Fear Would Not Rule Over My Life”

Jenica Ervin, Sole Sister #1.

How much loss can one woman stand, and still find herself standing – strong, powerful, inspired, and hopeful – when it is all said and done? Jenica Ervin can tell you that it’s more than you could ever think possible. “I have been through the fire,” the Wilmington, Delaware resident tells BlackDoctor.org. After the tragic loss of her only sister and a number of family members and friends, Jenica found support to move forward and look fear in the face with the help of GirlTrek. Here she shares her powerful testimony in her own words. 

A few years ago, I was introduced to GirlTrek by Gloria Johnson and other amazing women in Wilmington, DE. Originally from Southwest Florida, I searched for something more in my newfound residence and GirlTrek provided that. GirlTrek came at a very pivotal time in my life. I was on my way to becoming a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), had left my job in corporate America, was recovering from a second knee surgery, was considering graduate studies, and battling depression. Every day I struggled to function.

The obstacles did not stop. I sustained debilitating injuries due to an auto accident and was unable to exercise. As a curvy CPT, this was a blow to my self-esteem and brand. Although I received positive feedback for breaking barriers in the fitness industry, I received negative feedback as well.

I have curves for days in which I am not ashamed of and legs that are strong enough to press over 500 lbs. You must have thick skin to make it in this business. I was often bullied by male trainers and females, but I always found a way to rise above the negativity.

Today, I am still jumping over hurdles. I said, “Goodbye” to a promising body building career, medical school no longer sounded fulfilling, and I lost more family members than anyone could imagine. I lost my one and only sibling, Brittany, and her friend, Shaniqua “Niqua,” to a gruesome and selfish crime about nine years ago.

“Britt,” as we called her, was outgoing, loving, and an extremely gifted psalmist. I remember traveling from Miami to Naples on Alligator Alley and receiving several calls. I remember the tone of my cousin Lonnie’s voice as he asked me, “Where was my sister?” I remember confirming the news to my auntie Jewel and the weeping on the other end of the line.

I remember my friend, Becky, crying hysterically in the car while accompanying me home; however, my sole focus was to make it home to my parents. I remember arriving at the crime scene and trying to cross the caution tape, but was stopped by the police. I remember Niqua’s family were already there. Lord, I remember. I remember the investigator stating that they had someone in custody.

I will always remember that sorrowful Saturday on October 25, 2008. Rumors soon circulated and I found myself constantly on news boards responding to inaccurate information about my sister. I needed to honor her. Eventually, the opportunity arrived to confront their killer in court. This came on the exact day my stepsister died in a car accident. This was another blow to our family.

My heart pounded as they led my sister’s murderer out in front of me. I remember taking a deep breath and resting my hand on my uncle’s leg to calm him down. I remember consoling my mother as she heard details of the grizzly crime. I remember he acted in the most inappropriate manner. I remember addressing him. I remember losing a piece of my heart.

Shortly after, I lost an aunt whom I couldn’t revive after finding her unconscious, a friend, and the same uncle who was with us in court on sentencing day.

I have been through the fire.
I have emotions that cannot be ignored. These emotions or feelings of sadness were magnified after my second knee surgery. I gained weight. As soon as I was cleared to exercise, I joined my co-ed softball and football teams, I hit the gym, lost 40 plus pounds, became a Certified Personal Trainer, launched a business, and walked with my teammates, the Delaware Sole Sisters. GirlTrek positively impacted lives throughout the community and changed them for the better.

GirlTrek empowered me in such a way that I began taking more risks and decided that fear was not going to rule over my life. No, I would not let the fear of being a curvy trainer deter me from helping others reach their goals. I was fortunate to have joined an awesome team, the Delaware Sole Sisters. We walk for our health and inspire others to do the same. We are more than just a walking group. We have individuals with fitness levels of all kinds and our activities are not limited to walking. Lives are being changed on a daily basis.

Our team is an unstoppable force. I’ve witnessed how Charlotte’s life was transformed by GirlTrek; a leader was birthed. I observed how “KD” charged us to love the skin we were in. I watched “Char” become the “Our Melanin Is So Ah-mazing” ambassador. Victoria became stronger and began conquering the “Big Hill” at Glasgow as if it was an appetizer. I witnessed the rising of many stars.

I know I couldn’t have completed all the above without God, willpower, and a great support system. I will not give up and neither should you. I’M NOT PERFECT BUT I’M HERE FOR A PURPOSE. My wish is for you to find yours. I can’t think of a better time to join GirlTrek. I urge you all to lace up your sneakers and walk. This is the season to take back your communities, become a positive influence, and light up your neighborhoods with that radiant blue shirt.

[WATCH] See #BlackGirlHealing in action at #TEDMED2017!

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. Join the movement at www.girltrek.org.