By: Tameca N. Harris-Jackson (Dr. Tea | She | Her), PhD, LCSW, CSE, CIMHP
It all started with a little Black girl from a little Black town
I was a little Black girl from a little Black town in Virginia, where no one talked about sex (educationally anyway) and there seemed to be a church on every corner. As children, my friends and I were curious, but we dare not ask. There was too much shame, and devil, related to sex and bodies. Even as children, any questionable discussions or behaviors quickly garnered forever-labels from peers and adults –“fast”, “Jezebel”, “slut”, "huzzie", “hoe”.
So I learned quickly – sneak. I snuck into the library to read books on anatomy and development. I snuck to watch movies and read “adult” magazines. I even snuck to watch this amazing little Jewish lady, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, talk about sex on Phil Donahue (I’m seriously dating myself here).
I stopped sneaking...I started helping.
Fast forward to undergrad. I was a psychology major eager to get into the helping profession. So of course, when my friends asked, I helped. I remember gently educating a friend when she was concerned she was pregnant after a night of anal sex. I remember learning about masturbation and teaching others. I remember holding space for friends who lost virginity, children, and part of themselves while they navigated relationships, academics, and missing home.
I was helping – but I wanted to do more. I wanted to help in the way that I saw Dr. Ruth help people on Phil Donahue. I wanted to help others with issues of sex and sexuality without shame. And I wanted to especially do that for Black women.
The Journey to Hope, Serenity, & Wellness
I was able to pursue my goal. I completed my Bachelor’s in psychology and went on to obtain my Master’s in social work, where I developed my clinical skills as a therapist. I later obtained a Doctorate in human sexuality. Along the way, I remained curious and learned about the impact of trauma and nutrition on mental and sexual health; the role of shame and guilt on sexual (dis)satisfaction; the importance (and skill) of communication for healthy and effective relationships; and the critical necessity to fight racism, sexism, homophobia, and other aggressions that perpetuate psychological and emotional harm for so many communities.
This work, this journey, these fights, have led to Hope. Person-by-person, relationship-by-relationship, I have been humbled to witness the healing through this work. And I have been honored to have others join me in the commitment to this work.
The team here at Hope & Serenity Health Services is committed to the mission of helping. Working together to remove the power of labels that no longer serve; helping all persons, especially women, find peace and pleasure in their bodies; and fostering a space that is unapologetically inclusive. To-date, we’ve done this via office visits and teletherapy, but now we’re aiming to broaden our reach with this blog. Hope, Serenity & Wellness is our virtual “Donahue”, where we will share fact-based information and resources related to women’s mental and sexual wellness. I invite you to join us - read, ask questions, subscribe, & share.
And to all of the actual and akin-in-spirit little Black girls in little Black towns who are sneaking to know more – I’m here to tell you that your amazing, brilliant, curiosity will take you far. Keep exploring.
-Dr. Tea -