Writing Black

Setting boundaries is good for your mental health

Episode 31

Maiysha brings on NYT Best selling author Nedra Glover Tawwab, a family therapist who just released her new book Drama Free: A Guide to Managing Unhealthy Family Relationships. Maiysha and Nedra discuss the importance of setting boundaries in all your relationships which includes family, personal and work. They also delved into the importance of mental health, especially in the Black community and the loneliness epidemic.


Panama Jackson [00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio Black Podcast Network. Black Culture Amplified. 

Maiysha Kai [00:00:06] Hello and welcome to another episode of Writing Black. I Am Your host, my Yoshiki Lifestyle editor here at theGrio. And today we have with us a guest who is really having, I think, a tremendous impact on us communally and individually. She is a licensed therapist. She’s also the author of not one, but two bestsellers. Most recent is Drama Free A Guide to Managing Unhealthy Family Relationships. The first was Set Boundaries, Find Peace. That’s right. We have with us Nedra Glover Tawwab. Welcome to Writing Black. How are you? 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:00:42] I am well. Thank you for having me. 

Maiysha Kai [00:00:45] Joining us from Charlotte, North Carolina, which is beautiful country. I was so excited to have you on the podcast because I think it allows us to talk about something we don’t talk about enough, which is mental health. We happen to be having this conversation during May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. But obviously these themes that you are exploring are universal and you have managed to put out two bestsellers on this, on these topics within the space of two years, which to me indicates that these are conversations we need to be having. And they never get old. And they are they’re obviously bigger than than just Black folks. But we will be focusing a lot on Black folks in this conversation. But tell me about the process, about bringing your practice to the page. How did this we’ll start with Set Boundaries. Set Boundaries, Find Peace, which is your first bestseller, came out in 2021. How did that project come about? 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:01:42] Oh, I feel like that book just was an outpouring of over ten years of being a therapist. It was, I would say, maybe a little easier to write than Drama Free because it was so much content to pull from from my years of of practice. I think us therapists, we, you know, we develop our style and we repeat the same things over and over or, you know, maybe remix some say them a different way and Set Boundaries, Find Peace was a whole lot of that. A whole lot of what happens when we have these boundaries at work. What happens when we have boundary issues with social media. What happens when we have a partner who is, you know, maybe using their phone too much. All of these cases that I’ve seen and heard about over so many years. So, you know, I think writing it all down is not just helpful in a one on one space between therapist and client is help is helpful for so many of us. I think that’s why the book did really well. It’s it’s helpful for me to hear it because I’m like, Oh wait. And that the person who’s doing this thing. So for other people, you know, to hear it, they they’re able to see themselves or at least the other people in their life in this book, in the work of boundaries, is not just this thing of, oh my gosh, I need to say no. It’s so much more, you know. 

Maiysha Kai [00:03:09] Yeah. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:03:09] Before this book, there was a lot of boundaries are about saying no and, and being able to to say yes and this sort of thing. But it’s like it’s also not inviting problematic people to your event. It’s also not telling business that you don’t want to be share with everyone. It’s also closing your laptop when you no longer want to work. There are so many things that are about boundaries that maybe we didn’t have the information around until now. 

Set Boundaries, Find Peace Excerpt [00:03:42] People don’t come to therapy knowing that they have boundary issues when they walk in the door. Boundary issues are disguised as issues with self care, conflicts with other people, trouble with time management, or concerns about how social media impacts their emotional state once they finish their tales of resentment, unhappiness, feeling overwhelmed and codependency, I say to them gently, “You have an issue with boundaries.”

Maiysha Kai [00:04:10] Yeah, you know, it’s so interesting because I like to think I’ve done some work, right? You know, like I’ve been in therapy, I’ve had several therapist. I, I believe in it. And I took your quiz in this book. And as you you know, as you notes early on in the book, as we like to say in inter-community, there are layers to this, Right. As you just said, it’s more than just saying no. You know, and sometimes when we say no, we’re also cutting ourselves off from things that I think, you know, that binary that a lot of us tend to live on, it once again proves a dangerous when when we think everything has to be a yes or a no, when, you know, it’s about being thoughtful. Like, I was surprised, I guess, you know, I was pleasantly surprised to find most of my boundaries are healthy, but I’m still a little more porous than I would have liked to be. And I was even rigid in ways that surprised me. These are all terms that are used in Set Boundaries, Find Peace. And I really appreciated the check in, because I think a lot of us don’t get the check in all the time. But I also love that you drew a very clear and direct correlation between our inability or reluctance in some cases to set boundaries and our mental health in the in the broader scope. You know, how that contributes to these very common things that we’re seeing anxiety, depression, both of which I am intimately familiar with. And why was that such an important message I think to get out, because I do think it was so tactical. I was actually kind of surprised at how fresh it sounded to me, because it does feel like common sense when you think about it. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:05:51] Well, you know, I think mental health, although it’s gaining some traction in terms of us talking more openly about it, it’s very separate from the things that is actually a part of. It is actually a part of our relationships, a really big part sometimes it’s actually a part of how we show up at work. It’s a part of how we show up with our partners, but it’s often separated. What I hear about in therapy, yes, we talk about anxiety. Yes, we talk about depression. But the majority of the conversation is about relationships, your relationships with people, your relationships with stuff, how your childhood impacted you, what your siblings did, all of this stuff. And that’s why I’m hearing about the depression, the anxiety, the mood issues, all of these other things. And so for me, it’s not really that separate. It’s actually more intertwined than we actually think because we like to think of mental health as this stuff over here. When it’s all in us, we all have mental health. Now, do we all have diagnosable, you know, treatable things? Depends on how you look at it. But most of us, you know, can benefit from talking to a therapist or even thinking about mental health in a more holistic way. The way that we think about maybe physical health or, you know, other other areas of our life, we like to separate it when actually it should be more inclusive. 

Maiysha Kai [00:07:30] I totally agree. And, you know, you hit on something, you know, when you were kind of doing that rundown of things that affect us. One of them being our childhoods. I know it is often a trigger point for a lot of people, you know, childhood, whether or not you had a traumatic childhood or not, you know, like being able to have those discussions. I know for myself, being in therapy, I would have a guilt or a reluctance if I had to, like, talk about, you know, my parents, my parents are great, but it’s like where they are, they flawless people? No, of course they’re not. You know, And I think. That is one of the things that I love about your second book, Drama Free, You know, not understanding or gaining, I guess, gaining a better understanding of. How we imprint so early, Right. And then how we how affected we are, even by like the slightest little nuance things that, you know, when we’re younger, we’re not necessarily able to identify with how things are set up. But we know with Black families in particular, you know, we are very like, don’t tell our business. Don’t you know, when you’re approaching Drama Free. How were you able to kind of tease out some of those nuances? Because some of them are cultural, some of them are very, you know, very intimate, very cultural, very entrenched in terms of what we consider to be healthy family dynamics. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:08:58] We have to disentangle this idea that mistreatment is love and over giving is how we show up in families as a part of our culture. I have, you know, personally and professionally seeing, you know, many sides of family dysfunction. And often what I see is, as you mentioned, the cultural around the cover ups. Right. You know, we don’t talk about these things. We don’t know these things. Yes, these things happen. But your parents loved you. And you know, more than one thing can be true. Your parents could have really loved you and dropped the ball on these things over here. It doesn’t mean that they’re terrible people. It just means that, you know, there were some issues around these things right here. And what we like to do is kind of categorize for ourselves and for other people what’s a big issue versus a little issue. And I’ve seen people have a response to a parent being physically abusive or even a parent not showing up to their graduation in similar ways. Right. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:10:12] And so we like to say, well, this thing is well, they didn’t beat me. It’s like, well, that doesn’t have to be the worst thing that happens to you. It could be they didn’t listen to you or give you choices or they were overbearing or they’re still overbearing or, you know, there’s so many things that can happen and it’s really based on you and how you’re made up as to how you respond. And what we like to do within families is kind of, okay, well, this isn’t as bad as that, and this is how we should respond when in actuality it’s like whatever you’re feeling is what you need to feel. Whatever you think is a big deal is the big deal. You know, so I don’t have to say yes. Okay, this was your terrible life thing. It’s like, what? Whatever you say is your experience is your experience. And within family, sometimes there’s conflict. You know, I’ve heard from siblings like, well, I don’t agree with how this person, you know, perceives then or I don’t agree with. You know, and it’s it’s really not about that. That’s really a way to be more divisive. Instead of just listening to understand a person’s story. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:11:19] There is healing possible when we are open to listening and we actually block a lot of the the healing, we block the the resolution that could occur, the progress that can be made by denying, by covering up, by minimizing, by telling people how they should feel instead of embracing how multifaceted we are as humans. You know, sometimes we do make mistakes. I’m a parent, you know, and I don’t think I’m a perfect parent. My kids, you know, they’ll be telling me a fact that I’m like, no, no, is this. And then I have to go back and apologize like girl you was right? Yeah. You know, I didn’t know. You know, I thought I was right here. I am an adult with my tall legs and, you know, whatever. And you walk around with your little body you were right. Look at me wrong, you know? So it happens. And to have someone, you know, maybe honor that for us that I didn’t know. I didn’t have the tool. When I think about the ages in which I expected my parent to make these, you know, very adult like decisions. Oh, my gosh she was 26? 

Maiysha Kai [00:12:31] Right. Right. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:12:32] Oh, my gosh at 32? You know, what a thing to have to decide. So I have compassion and I may have a issue. So there’s room for both. And we can give our family members grace and still be true to ourselves and honoring what our stories were with them. 

Maiysha Kai [00:12:56] Now, I want to delve into that a little deeper. We’re going to do that in just a second. When we come back, with more Nedra Glover Tawwab and more Writing Black. We are back with our guest today, Nedra Glover Tawwab, who is the author of Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself and Drama Free: A Guide to Managing Unhealthy Family Relationships. These are both New York Times bestsellers, and they’re both so necessary. We were just talking about family dynamics and, you know, we’re having this conversation as we’re coming up on Mother’s Day. Father’s Day, and obviously your books are written for adults and adults are going to be engaging with this. But I think it’s so telling that, you know, so many of us are still living out those childhood dynamics that you were describing with, you know, now as adults with our adult parents even. And, you know, and there’s still that the dysfunction of that even dynamic of like not allowing each other to grow and evolve and change and challenge each other. What kind of success do you see when you’re able to open those conversations or even when you know, like, I love how you were just describing apologizing to your child? That is a huge thing. I don’t know that everybody knows how to do that gracefully. But can we speak a little bit to the potentially transformative aspect of that? 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:14:19] Well, you know, I think that there is some. Disadvantage to being the person who is always right. It doesn’t leave any room for improvement. And as long as I am living, I could be wrong. I can be wrong, make a mistake and not get it right. And when an adult can show a child of any age, you know, whether your your child is 27, that you don’t have all the answers. That really frees them to not have to have all the answers. To not have to pretend to be a know it all. Because we really don’t know at all. You know, it’s a lot of pretending and it’s a really hard facade to keep up. And it’s really freeing not just for ourselves, but for other people to be open to doing things differently. It is the saddest thing on earth when there is a person who refuses to change, who refuses to grow because there is not many people who can be in that space with that. You know, we have to be able to evolve in our relationships. One of the bigger challenges that I see is for adult children who want to really be adults and their parents are parenting them as if they are children. You know, as if, you know what they say goes in someone else’s house. And so there is you know, it’s like, wait a minute. 

Maiysha Kai [00:15:51] Else must feel good now because you, you know. Yeah. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:15:54] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Wait. Now, you trying to raise your grandkids and they got parents. 

Maiysha Kai [00:16:00] Right. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:16:01] You’re trying to teach your children what to do. And they got. They all want jobs, houses and cars. Oh, wow. You know, and some of that is based off of, you know, the love of having lived experience. And, you know, parents will say, well, I can see it going this way and this is what they need to do on a marriage. And I think a little bit of failing is good for all of us, even if I know where I think I know because sometimes I don’t even know, even if I think I know what is best for you, it can be wrong. I don’t know how something is going to work out for you. Now, there are some areas of true caution, but I find that the parenting dynamic has to shift when people become adults and as they are, you know, gaining more independence away from you, the parenting cannot be the same. And what we’re starting to see more of with millennials and certainly the generations after millennials is they want that autonomy and the autonomy not being able to have it and have parents who are like, you need to do this. You need to get politics and do this thing. People are like, You know what? I’m done with this. And this is really unfortunate because there is this sticking to old school way of being that is no longer working for the relationship. 

Maiysha Kai [00:17:25] Right. Right. I mean, I think we’re seeing this all over. I mean, you know, I love that your second book tells deeper into the family dynamics. But I do think that that’s the way that I agree, that that’s the way that all of us are set up. You know, that’s that’s our first modeling of how any kind of relationships are supposed to work. 

Drama Free Excerpt [00:17:42] From a therapist perspective. Many of the issues in marriages, friendships and other relationships were birth in our families. People may lament, not everything is about my family, but so often it is. One question that often comes up in therapy is who was the first person to make you feel that way? The answer typically goes back to the first experience occurring in the family. How people engage in the family is usually how they engage in the world. 

Maiysha Kai [00:18:17] As you also indicate, you know, when we are set up with those kind of dynamics, they find a way to permeate every aspect of our existence. You know, even in romantic relationships, in your work relationships. I mean, we’re hearing all of this stuff lately, you know, from the great resignation to, you know, workplaces being unable to adapt to remote work, all that kind of stuff that we’re seeing to me feels like a piece of what you were just talking about, which is when we get entrenched in a certain pattern and we’re not willing to adapt as necessary. I mean, do you is that is that fair to make that comparison? 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:18:58] Yes. And I think the way that we respond to people when it’s a strong charge against a person, that is often a sign that there is some undone work with some. Primary figure or some other figuring in your life? No, I see. Be like, oh my gosh, this person get on my nerves so much. And you may ask them, Who does that remind you of? Oh, they remind me of my brother. Well, he you know, your coworker is getting a lot of brother energy, and you’ve only known him one month. Here it is. You’ve had. 

Maiysha Kai [00:19:36] So much energy. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:19:39] So much energy. Because he does the you know, he does one or two things like your brother isn’t that something? So I think that’s what we do to it. We are just displaced and this emotion and we think, oh, my gosh, they just have that. And it’s like we have to deal with our issue around that person that is really causing the issue because it’s not the coworker, we’ll meet tons of people in a world just like this coworker. How do we deal with the brother? 

Maiysha Kai [00:20:06] Yeah. The original trigger, Right. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:20:07] The original trigger. The O.G. 

Maiysha Kai [00:20:12] Like that. Well, we’re going to talk a little bit more about Drama Free and Set Boundaries, Find Peace in just a second when we return with more Writing Black. We are back with more writing Black and our guest today, Nedra Glover Tawwab and her incredible best sellers. You’ve written two in two years, which kudos to you. That is like major. Maybe it would be fair to say three years, but still, you know, to have one come out in 2020, one to have one come out in 2023 and. You know, again, to have this impact on the community, I assume the community and beyond, because obviously Black people aren’t the only one buying these books back. I assume that you have other topics that you’d like to explore. You were saying how, you know, Set Boundaries, Find Peace that writing process was one thing and Drama Free was a little bit different. Well, what were some of the major I don’t want to say obstacles, but I guess challenges when you when it came around to making the sophomore effort was that the pressure of how well the first one it done or was it the subject matter or was it some combination of those and other factors? 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:21:24] I don’t know if there was pressure as much as I wanted to make sure I cover all of the things that I know are important for family relationships. It’s such a delicate topic. That there is a certain way that you you almost have to perceive when you’re talking to people about people that they love that are not good for them in some ways. Right. Or where there’s contention or where there is. You know, because as you mentioned earlier, there is this shame around talking about family relationships. I have to, you know, almost like coddle some of my clients, when they start to talk about because they’ll give all of these like, oh, you know, she’s wonderful, she’s great. I love her pound cake. She walk me the school and blah, blah, blah and dah, dah, dah. And then they’ll say this one bad thing and it’s like, I’m a terrible person. And I’m like, You just said a hundred great things about this person. I don’t think you’re terrible at all. I do think that, you know, people there’s nuanced relationships. And just because this one thing happened, it seems very impactful. It doesn’t negate all that other stuff. But let’s let’s focus in on that a little bit, because that’s a big thing. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:22:41] So sometimes, you know, it can be hard just to get to the space of. Acknowledging that you have an issue in a relationship with a person that you really love. And it’s not always, you know, trying to get this person to change. It could be, you know, you changing the way that you show up in the relationship. It can also be, you know, unfortunately deciding to leave the relationship, which there is, again, starting to be more support around. But, you know, for many years, it’s it’s almost like a parent, a sibling, a cousin or whoever, they could do anything. They could steal your car, they could stab you, they could do all these things. And it’s like you stop talking to your mom? It’s like, oh, my gosh, Right. You know,. 

Maiysha Kai [00:23:27] It’s family. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:23:29] It’s family. And I’ve seen, you know, I used to work in Child Protective Services and I saw a lot of family members that need to cut them off because, you know, some situations are really dangerous for people. Not just physically, but emotionally, too, to be in the presence of your abuser, to be in the presence of a person who was constantly manipulating you. That can be more damaging than leaving the relationship sometimes. And that’s that’s a really hard thing to be in for folks. And, you know, it’s my advice is never leave the relationship. You know, that’s a place I let people arrive on their own because it’s a big choice. You know, my advice is how can we, you know, help you be in this relationship that you want to be in because people want to be in relationships with unhealthy people. They do. It’s just how do we get you to be in the relationship and maybe less consoled when they do this thing that they always do. How do we get you to be in the relationship and maybe less reactive? How do we get you to be in the relationship with reasonable expectations based on who they are? 

Maiysha Kai [00:24:48] Right. Right. I agree with all of that. And you got to see now I’m sitting here like, now I want to go into therapy. Bringing bringing this into the bigger picture. I mean, I think these are universal themes. I also think it is fair to say that we are. And you would know better than I would. It feels very much like we’re in the middle of a mental health epidemic in this country in terms of like on all levels. You know, we just had the surgeon general come out and talk about the epidemic of loneliness. That is becoming a huge problem. And it really can endanger our, you know, our lives, you know, to be lonely. We’ve seen an uptick in the last few years in suicides, particularly in our community, particularly those age groups are getting younger and younger. And I think, you know, obviously the systemic or institutional, you know, whichever way you’d like to say it. Aspects of being Black in America in particular are always going to, you know, be challenging to navigate. Are these topics that you’re interested in exploring or thinking of exploring in the future, or what, I guess, what topics are you thinking of exploring? Because I know I’ve heard you tease already that there are more books to come. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:26:15] Oh, yeah. You know, I really love. What’s coming up in the research about loneliness. I don’t think it’s new at all. We’ve known for years that elderly people go to the doctor because they are lacking touch, right? So they go to the doctor more often because they need that physical touch. So it’s good to see that information coming out in different ways. You know, I think we really need help with learning how to be in relationships with people. Unfortunately, many people who report lonely being lonely. I do wonder how they show up in relationships. I know people who are lonely and I often see how they show up in their relationships, which in turn may create some loneliness. I also think there is a challenge around us being able to go emotionally deeper with people, you know, some some key relationships they lack depth. You know, and if you’re not getting any meat in your relationships beyond. How are you doing? And. All right. I see you later, girl. You’re going to be lonely because there has to be some some loving care. Someone tending to your feelings, not just saying how you doing as a as a passing statement, but really caring about how you’re doing, really checking in on you. So it’s not always like, oh, my gosh, lonely people don’t have anybody else. Sometimes they don’t have any sort of meat to their relationships. The relationships are very shallow. You know, I think particularly with Black men, there is a huge issue around them being able to be emotional beings in their relationships. And, you know, I think all of us sort of shaped this from the mothers, to the fathers, to the friends, to the girlfriends, to the wives, to the, you know, boyfriends or whoever. Like we’re all in this space of being able to nurture more emotion from men, to nurture more emotion even from women. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:28:37] You know, this whole idea that women are so emotional. Well, I have seen that men are very emotional, too, but they do not have the space to express it. What they are more likely to express is anger, because that’s the emotion that we are I don’t want to say we’re comfortable with because it is scary, but it’s a emotion that will push them towards more so than, you know, expressing it through tears or expressing it through conversation, expressing it through, you know, maybe helping them tap into some joy. You know, there are there’s a lot of work that I think needs to be done around allowing Black men to be emotional beings. Yeah. Yeah. But the the loneliness stuff I think is really interesting. I would love to see, you know, more things about loneliness. But I would say my prediction is maybe all of us, we have some people. So it’s not that we’re without people. We are without healthy relationships, we are without healthy connections, we are without healthy conversations in our relationships. There are so many people in relationships that they’re not talking about anything physical, anything of substance. You know, it’s is often a while to me when we have all these people around us and our go to is is the Internet for the company, Why can’t we talk to the people around us? You know, and for me, that means when someone is telling me something, how do I appropriately receive that information? How do I tap into what you know, like yesterday someone said something to me that I was like, you know, I don’t even know how to respond to this yet. Let me think about it, because I don’t even want to say the wrong thing. Give me a few days. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:30:33] I need to think about how I need to respond to this thing because I want to be gentle and kind and nice and also pay attention to what you’re saying in a loving way. So, you know, sometimes will just, oh, man, you know, stuff like that happens. We’ll all sort of statements don’t help anyone. You know, what might be more helpful is to say, I don’t even know what to say to that. That seems really tough. You know, so really thinking about how we allow people to show up with us is important because it can be us. It’s not always that they don’t have people. They may not have you as a person. Yeah. So there is a lot of power and thinking about, you know, when my friends expressed something. How do I keep that conversation going? How am I checking up on that friend who lost her mother last Mother’s Day? How am I checking up on this person who just had a surgery? How am I being there for this person who is a new father? How am I being there when my brother comes to me and says that he is having a tough time at work? That is really going to be the way that we make some progress in this loneliness epidemic. 

Maiysha Kai [00:31:56] I totally agree with you. You know, empathy, I think, is always the chord that I’m looking for between us. And just because we don’t experience the same things doesn’t does it mean we can’t extend empathy? You know, I love these books. I love that you are that your voice is out in the sphere helping to guide people through things and that these books are available to whoever needs them. I also know that you’re an avid reader yourself, and, you know, we ask every single one of our authors who appears on Writing Black, What are you reading? What do you read? What do you love? What books really had an impact on you? 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:32:34] Oh, I am in between books right now. This year I’ve been reading a lot of novels. So, yes, I’ve been reading more novels this year. I am needing to get out of the the the self-help and business category. I’m like, Oh, God. Oh, my self-help business that I’m just like, What is Latifah doing with her friends this weekend at the beach? That’s what I need to read about. So I have been doing a lot of I believe her name is Taylor Jenkins. She and. Yeah. 

Maiysha Kai [00:33:13] Uh huh. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:33:14] Yeah. So I’ve. I’ve read a few of her books. The one about the Malibu Rising and Evelyn and the Dresses. 

Maiysha Kai [00:33:25] 7 Husbands of Eveyln Hugo. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:33:27] Yes. Yes. Seven husbands of. Yes, Yes. That book. I’ve. I’ve read that. And they both were amazing. All right. You know, I think I’ll be revisiting Big Brother Malcolm Gladwell. So I think I want to read Outliers again. I want to read Tipping Point. Again, I find a lot of joy in reading things that I’ve already read and found to be really good because I’m constantly at a different stage in life, you know, as a new year, a new season. I don’t know what I’ll get from Their Eyes Are Were Watching God, I don’t know what I’ll get from the Color Purple, you know, at this time. I will reread some some old favorites. But I do want to say I have read one book is not out yet. It will be out May 16th. And it is by Rachel Cargle. Reimagining, that book was so good. I just love her. Yeah. So I’m excited for the world to have that. 

Maiysha Kai [00:34:29] Well, I am thrilled. I don’t know when we can expect another book from you. And I know that that’s a lot to demand because these are deeply researched and deeply thought through. But I do want to thank you so much Nedra for both of these books and for our listeners again. The books are the most recent one being Drama Free: A Guide to Managing Unhealthy Family Relationships and Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself, which, listen, I needed it. It showed up when I arrived. I’m really big on I, you know, it’s just like searching for a therapist, I guess. But I do think that the the the book arrives for the reader When you’re a reader, the book arrives for you. And I know that this is a book that arrived for me at the right time. And so, yeah, I was so thrilled that you were willing to come on and discuss your work with us and discuss your thoughts and and give us such an honest take on on what we should be thinking about as we try to create a healthier world and healthier relationships with each other. So thank you so much Nedra glover Tawwab for appearing on Writing Black. 

Nedra Glover Tawwab [00:35:31] You’re welcome. Have a great day. 

Maiysha Kai [00:35:37] Well, this is the part of the episode that I love to do. Every week, you know, I love to talk about other books that relate to a guest that we’ve had on writing Black. And in addition to Nedra Glover Tawwab two books, Set Boundaries, Find Peace and Drama Free. There are several books that I think we should all be getting into this Mental Health Awareness Month. One of them is Black Imagination. I love this book because it’s so inspiring. Natasha marin does this as a social experiment where she really, you know, goes around, interviews people and talks them and then puts these all together in a really small book, a volume of of amazing thought. And it’s so empathetic and it’s so wonderful, and it’s so affirming. I highly recommend. 

Maiysha Kai [00:36:22] Dance for Joy An Illustrated Celebration of Moving to Music by Aurelia Durand. You know, this is a great book just for that pick me up, just remembering why we’re here. What we’re meant to do, how we’re meant to do it, and how organic joy can really be. You Are Your Best Thing. This was edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown. Vulnerability, shame, resilience and the Black experience when we talk about intersectionality and mental health. This book is so gorgeously written, these essays and they’re so I think, you know, when we talk about empathy especially, you will see yourself in this book somewhere and it is such a wonderful navigation through some of these very common feelings that we have. Real Talk: For When There’s Nowhere to go But Up. The book is Black Pain by Terri M. Williams. For those of you unfamiliar Terri M. Williams has a phenomenal resume as a publicist and yet felt that her life was really empty at a point. I think that so much of what we talk about when we talk about mental health has to be about knowing that we’re not alone, knowing that those feelings are not so isolating because other people are feeling them, too. And I think Black Pain is an excellent book to get into. So I hope that this month you are attending to your mental health. I hope these books help and I hope you know you are not alone. We’ll see you next time on Writing Black. Thanks so much for joining us for this week’s episode of Writing Black. As always, you can find us on theGrio app or wherever you find your podcasts. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:38:11] I’m political scientist, author and professor Dr. Christina Greer, and I’m host of The Blackest Questions on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network. This person invented ranch dressing around 1950. Who are they? 

Marc Lamont Hill [00:38:24] I have no idea. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:38:25] This all began as an exclusive Black history trivia party at my home in Harlem with family and friends. And they got so popular it seemed only right to share the fun with our Grio listeners. Each week we invite a familiar face on the podcast to play. What was the name of the person who was an enslaved chief cook for George Washington and later ran away to freedom? In 1868, this university was the first in the country to open a medical school that welcomed medical students of all races, genders and social classes. What university was it? 

Roy Wood Jr. [00:38:59] This is why I like doing stuff with you, because I leave educated. I was not taught this in Alabama Public Schools. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:39:05] Question three. You ready? 

Eboni K. Williams [00:39:06] Yes. I want to redeem myself. 

Amanda Seales [00:39:08] How do we go on Kwanzaa to like these obscure stories? This like the New York Times crossword from a Monday to a Saturday. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:39:18] Right or wrong, because all we care about is the journey and having some fun while we do it. 

Kalen Allen [00:39:23] I’m excited and I also a little nervous. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:39:26] No need to be nervous. And as I tell all of my guests, this is an opportunity for us to educate ourselves because Black history is American history. So we still have some fun. Listen, some people get zero out of five. Some people get five out of five. It doesn’t matter. We’re just going be on a little intellectual journey together. 

Eboni K. Williams [00:39:41] Latoya Cantrell. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:39:44] That’s right. Mayor Latoya Cantrell. 

Michael Twitty [00:39:46] Hercules Posey. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:39:47] Hmm. Born in 1754 and he was a member of the Mount Vernon slave community, widely admired for his culinary skills. 

Kalen Allen [00:39:54] I’m going to guess AfroPunk. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:39:57] Close. It’s Afro Nation. According to my research, and Samuel Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon. 

Jason Johnson [00:40:06] Wrong. Wong, I am disputing this. 

Latosha Brown [00:40:10] Very, very, very rare 99.9999 sure that it is Representative John Lewis, who is also from the state of Alabama. That let you know, Christina, we got some goodness come out of Alabama. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:40:22] There is something in the water in Alabama. And you are absolutely correct. 

Diallo Riddle [00:40:25] The harder they come. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:40:27] Close. 

Diallo Riddle [00:40:28] Oh, wait, the harder they fall. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:40:30] That’s right. I’m one of those people that just changes one word. I mean. 

Roy Wood Jr. [00:40:35] I just don’t know nothing today. I’m going to pour myself a little water while you tell me the answer. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:40:40] The answer is Seneca Village, which began in 1825 with the purchase of land by a trustee of the A.M.E. Zion Church. 

Roy Wood Jr. [00:40:46] You know why games like this make me nervous? I don’t know if I know enough Black. Do I know enough? How Black am I? Oh, my Lord. They. They. We going to find out in public. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:40:55] So give us a follow. Subscribe and join us on the Blackest Questions.