In 2022, we found new ways to GetSomeJoy.
We hosted Literary Therapy Pop-Ups and swapped recipes and family traditions in Community Cook-alongs. We fostered affirming connections through mental health check-ins and cultivated spaces to calm down, create, collaborate, and cry.
And we shared lots of fried chicken stickers.
This is how we centered joy in this raggedy moment in history.
Literary Therapy Pop-Ups: 6
Fried chicken stickers shared: 300
Mental Health First Aiders trained: 200+
Janet Jackson mentions: 789,000
Community Mental Health Check-Ins: 36
Literary Therapy Exploration Workbooks published: 11
The category is: PUBLIC VULNERABILITY
We started the year by wrapping up our four-part Fall/Winter community writing workshop series, “Literary Therapy: Caregiving, Shame, Self-Love, and Recovery.”
The last two sessions in our our writerly feelingstravaganza, “Accountability, Supportive Rituals, and Self-Sabotage” and “Recovery, Self-Loathing, and Self-Love,” offered more space to explore and celebrate ourselves through introspective creative writing and group discussion. For the series, we produced four digital Literary Therapy Exploration Workbooks so attendees could write their way to clarity at their own pace. In total, over 500 people from over 20 countries joined us to reflect, write, connect, and work through spiritual ashiness during our Summer and Winter sessions.
Joy all over the world
Alex referenced his work with GetSomeJoy and its role in his recovery journey in an essay for Food & Wine, “Safe at Home,” which ran in the February 2022 issue alongside his Curry Chicken and Sweet Potato Galette recipe.
A healing circle
As part of the Twitter Spaces Spark Program, Alex continued his weekly GetSomeJoy Community Mental Health Check-Ins and Resource Exchanges on Twitter Spaces. While offering space for folks to vent, celebrate themselves, and engage support in 24 sessions, we also connected with passionate new collaborators and collected delicious new recipes.
A cross-country adventure (with snacks)
Alex spent five days driving 7,860 miles across Janet Jackson’s America from Brooklyn, New York to join Enesha and our GetSomeJoy Ambassadors LaTrece James, and Chanon Stringer at the 2022 Black Joy Parade in Oakland, California for our first Literary Therapy Pop-Up. Over 100 people reflected and wrote about what they’re doing to getsomejoy on our six-foot-tall Community Literary Therapy Wall in the parade’s inaugural Healing Village. Ashanti was there, but we still had a good time.
Check out our Black Joy Parade recap here.
Learn about our Community Literary Therapy Wall right here.
Sharing food, sharing joy
That same weekend, we made curry chicken and rice during our Black History Month Virtual Community Cook-along for the Educational Opportunity Fund programs at Mercer County Community College and Georgian Court University in New Jersey. While Alex led the cooking demonstration, Enesha facilitated a conversation exploring family food traditions, how preparing and sharing food supports mental health, and comfort foods that represent joy.
Nobody mentioned brown rice.
Write your way through it.
One time, we developed a four-part Literary Therapy Writing Program for the Dominican Writers Association, “Literary Therapy: Joy, Grief, Healing, and Recovery.” There were snacks and tears and life-changing revelations.
Literary Therapy Week 1: Joy, Boundaries, and Restorative Practices
Literary Therapy Week 2: Grief + Post-Traumatic Growth
Literary Therapy Week 3: Intergenerational Healing and New Narratives
Literary Therapy Week 4: Recovery + Self-Love
Literary Therapy by the Lake
Our Community Literary Therapy Wall moved from the Black Joy Parade’s Healing Village to the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library. People stopped by during March and April to reflect and share what joy means to them and how it looks, feels, smells, and tastes.
Hey there, Inner Child.
Sometimes, you just need to draw your feelings. We kicked off our Art Therapy series with a family-friendly Coloring Session and mental health check-in with Black In The Garden's Colah B Tawkin, creator of the Black In The Garden Coloring Experience. Everyone left with wellness resources and some creative coping strategies.
Listen to Alex on Black in the Garden:
Literary Therapy for all
Enesha hosted a Literary Therapy Pop-Up at the LavaMaeX Pop Up Care Village that provided hot showers, employment aid, clothing, legal aid, haircuts, housing aid, massages, and more at Oakland City Hall. Community members wrote about meals and activities that bring them joy
A mobile Feelingstravaganza
Our Community Literary Therapy Wall moved from Oakland Public Library’s Lakeview Branch to the Elmhurst Branch, where it spent the rest of 2022.
Visit our Community Literary Therapy Wall:
Oakland Public Library - Elmhurst Branch
1427 88th Ave, Oakland, CA 94621
Okay, but how’s your spirit, though?
And we hosted the first in a three-part Spiritual Wellness Series in collaboration with cultural worker, spiritualist, and coach Hakim Pitts. They created a dynamic, transformative, affirming experience that explored restorative spiritual practices through an African Diasporic, BlackQueerTrans + Disability Justice lens and offered space to find clarity, community, and relevant resources.
We waited a few days to let things settle in after each session, and supplemented each workshop with a communal debrief/check-in on Twitter Spaces for folks to unpack how things hit and exchange additional resources.
Actually, that wasn’t okay.
Enesha facilitated a Twitter Space for Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day with clinical therapist and holistic healer Nia Ridgle of RC Wellness Brand. Gems aplenty. During their chat, Enesha and Nia shared their personal professional experiences and insights, plus signs and symptoms of narcissistic abuse and recovery strategies.
Imagine not dreading meetings
Want to incorporate some joy and community building into your meetings? In July 2022, we launched a Virtual Literary Therapy Board via Miro that facilitates collaboration, normalizes conversations around wellness, and gets people talking about joy.
Joy in unexpected places
Over on HopIn, Enesha shared 5 Ways to Inspire Joy and Connection at Your Next Event or Meeting using our Virtual Board.
Less Raggedy Workplaces 101
Because a miserable manager leads to miserable associates, we collaborated with the Greater NY Chamber of Commerce on a webinar, “Prioritizing Mental Health and Joy at Work” for entrepreneurs and corporate and community leaders.
Check it out here on Chamber TV.
Spreading joy in the streets
Alex gave a talk on joy and community building before hosting a Literary Therapy Pop-Up at the Harlem stop of the Darkness Rising LIVE Tour, which ___ in all five NY boroughs.
Because kids have ashy spirits, too.
We kicked off the new school year with a pair of academic-flavored emotional potlucks: Literary Therapy for Students and Literary Therapy for Teachers + Administrators. Everybody got a digital workbook and some tools for thriving.
Let’s form a care coalition
Alex co-facilitated the first in a series of Mental Health First Aid Trainings to support New York City-New Jersey area artists, entertainers and industry professionals, alongside Stoney Dvornik. The initiative offers trainings at no cost through the Kate Spade NY Foundation’s link-up with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, Entertainment Community Fund, Soho House New York and Love IV Lawrence. Learn more right here.
Let’s talk about loss
What rituals, resources, and perspectives have helped you cope and find joy after experiencing loss? We invited Issa M. Mas, author of Grief Thoughts: Brief Anecdotes About Profound Loss, and Black In The Garden’s Colah B. Tawkin to our GetSomeJoy Twitter Space to share tools for thriving and insights on working towards being okay while rolling in the deep.
And over on Twitter, Alex started crowdsourcing grief and loss resources.
The kids are (working together to be) alright
Alex leaned into his experience as a Youth Mental Health Aid Instructor and Former Young Person as he joined artist, scholar, mental health advocate Jasmine Lewis; Pediatric and Adult psychiatrist Dr. Hisla Bates, MD; and therapist Isabel Nappa, LSW, MSW during “Vibe Check: A Community Conversation about Mental Health.”
Youth advocacy organization DoSomething created the space “for young people to discover strategies and resources to support better mental health for themselves and their peers.” Check out the DoSomething Vibe Check Guide, which equips young people with tools to have meaningful conversations about mental health.
Because life is raggedy sometimes
After pulling together submissions from generous folks from across Janet Jackson’s Internet and making time for mourning, we published our first multimedia grief and loss resource, “griefKit: Crowdsourced tools and consideration for raggedy times.” It has articles, books, communities, podcasts, poetry, music, movement, recipes, and other considerations for using creativity and mindfulness to navigate the ups and downs of loss.
You can download the full digital tool or browse the griefKit by section here.
Because kids have big feelings
We kicked off our joy-infused collaboration with Haldane Elementary School with the first of three Literary Therapy for Students sessions, including custom Literary Therapy Exploration Workbooks, a Parent/Caregiver’s Guide to Literary Therapy for Students to support growth outside the classroom, and lots of fried chicken stickers.
Because the holidays are hard on so many of us, we dedicated our December Community Check-In to sharing tools, considerations, strategies for navigating suicidal ideations.
And then we rested.
Get joy-flavored stories, events, resources, and updates from the GetSomeJoy community.