Summer joy ’17

I’ve revisited this collage several times this year. s t r e t c h…

All summer, 
I will look at myself 
in the mirror and say, 
“your joy matters…”

I’ve mentioned before that this school year at work was a very trying one. I am a mental health counselor/clinical art therapist and positive youth development practitioner based in a Chicago high school (CPS).

I am committed to the youth I support, but real talk, this is very hard work and this school year stretched me in ways unimaginable. This was my school’s 3rd new administration in 3 years and with each changing administration there’s a new way of doing high school leadership. Chicago Public Schools are very much so about B.A.G. behavior, attendance and grades, so it is always a challenge advocating for and fitting socio-emotional growth and development and school-based counseling into the education system.

Trauma-informed…value-based counseling…thoughts/actions/feelings…social justice…restorative justice…strength-based…student/youth-centered…do no harm…GRIT…resilience….emotional intelligence…comprehensive sex education…etc…allllllllll buzz words, but more real talk, I practice these things and so much more. I am invested in these things and soooo much more. I believe in our youth.

At this point, I am an ole head at the school because in the midst of change I provide familiarity and comfort. The program and support I offer is known, so much so I have students who are not in my program come to me for support.

I’m good at what I do and I do not say this with grandiosity, I say this with gratitude. I say this because my gifts and expertise have made room for me. Though underpaid, I am fulfilled by doing direct service. I’ve put a lot of time, energy, effort and money into education and professional development. It is important to me to be such a well-rounded, cross-sectional and interdisciplinary helping professional so that I can best meet my students where they are. I thrive having an array of tools in my toolbox.

Anyhoo, the Universe wants me to be both well and happy, so this summer, I will be consumed with being joy-filled, practicing self-care and decompressing; to this end, I will write about all of my blooming, summer Black girl magic and reviews…and, I will post about all the amazingness, adventures and shenanigans I plan on getting into this summer, but they will be far shorter than usual anddddddddddd, as per usual, I will not mull over editing them.

My life is full and for She Blooms Black, without apology or without shame, I do not extensively edits my posts. I write because this is who I am and what I do. I have a blog because I wanted to create a space for myself and for other sistas to share our truths and our matterings. I want to express my Black girl voice and I am want to process publicly.

My blog is not about being well put together.

And though I absolutely respect and love editors and editing, and I’m a hellava editor as I’ve done it for many, I just don’t want to be caught in that editing cycle with She Blooms Black. If my posts are ever just downright awful though, do not hesitate to let me know, I will clean it up for clarity sake, not for perfection sake.


nicole jhan’rea



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