#BlackGirlHealing: The Healing Power Of Sisterhood


Iresha Picot-Wagner GirlTrekWhen I got the call from my mother that my younger brother was in jail, I felt that the whole bottom of my being fell out from under me. We had gone through this “jail” stuff before, during my adolescent years, with my father who spent years in and out of prison. My father had been out for years at this point and doing well in his recovery. My brother, awaiting the arrival of his son was in anticipation of new fatherhood.  I was working as a Behavior Health Clinician, actively involved in Prison Abolitionist, Reproductive Justice and Anti-Police brutality work.

Life was good for all.

Then my brother was sentenced to 15 years in prison and all of the doors that I had felt was shut and sealed from the years that I spent as a young girl with a father incarcerated, flew back open. All at once.

I fell into a deep, dark depression. I stopped doing the organizing work that I felt most proud of. I ate fast food two to three times a day.

I had a bad pattern of eating food and staying barricaded in my home.I only left my home to go to work and back home.

I drank a lot of Mountain Dew to numb the pain that I experienced with my brother’s incarceration. With the food intake and lack of exercise, I gained a significant amount of weight and became ashamed of my weight gain.

My mother, who was also struggling with her weight, started going to the gym with great results. This encouraged me to sign up at my local YMCA in my neighborhood.

Literally overnight, I went from being a person who rarely ever exercised, to someone who started taking Zumba several times a week, water aerobics, belly dancing, and now spinning and step aerobics.