A group of old and new friends is slowly working through a powerful book by Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. During our discussion Tuesday night, I recognized how much training for white body supremacy was incorporated into containing and controlling my I-have-big-feelings-ness as a kid and how much I want to break the hold of that in my adult existence.

That work for me this week included collaborating with friends who raise and care for growing humans to see what feelings their kids need help normalizing and expressing. The result is this “If you’re happy/grumpy/sad/scared/lonely/wild/sleepy/bored/silly and you know it” video. I had a lot of fun playacting all those feelings, but the most important part for me comes at the end. Sometimes, I have to sit quietly and breathe long enough for my feelings to reveal themselves. I believe that’s necessary for us to do as adults, especially as we work to break down big systems outside the walls of our homes and inside the walls of our own bodies. I also think it’s vital to allow our kids the same space.

We have so many big feelings. How do you feel today? Are you happy? Grumpy? Sad? Stop, breathe, and let the feeling bubble up and tell you its name.

If you’re happy and you know it, shout hooray
If you’re grumpy and you know it, make some noise
If you’re sad and you know it, cry boo hoo
If you’re scared and you know it, hide your face
If you’re lonely and you know it, reach out
If you’re wild and you know it, drum real fast
If you’re sleepy and you know it, give a yawn
If you’re bored and you know it, great big sigh
If you’re silly and you know it, dance about

If you don’t know how you feel, stop and breathe I
f you don’t know how you feel, stop and breathe
If you don’t know how you feel, and you really want to know it
If you don’t know how you feel, stop and breathe

If you or your kids stumble over naming emotions, the Children’s Involvement Team of Sheffield, UK has provided a helpful feelings chart: http://www.sheffkids.co.uk/adultssite. I used it last year as a prop for Karaoke Visiting Hour and now it hangs in the space where I do online storytime.

Breathe, friends. ♥️

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