The beauty of this platform has provided me with the opportunity to meet several individuals who are doing incredible things.
Alicia Auld is such an individual.
While working on healing herself from her trauma, she has given the opportunity for others people to do the same.
One of the most beautiful things about the human experience is the ability to uplift others.
With her platform Hey Sis! Let’s Talk! has opened a channel for many to work out their trauma.
And you’ll be surprised to know who helped in her journey.
Go ahead and read about this week’s Woman Crushing It Wednesday… Alicia Auld! @heysis.letstalk
Alicia, I met you through Instagram. Hey Sis, Let’s Talk! I thought that name was very interesting. But before we get to that… Every super hero has an origin story. What is yours?
What is mine? Okay, what is Alicia's origin story? So let's go back to childhood. So my parents are Jamaican. I grew up in a pretty strict household. My mom is super Christian, workaholic. Whatever their vision of their child, how they should be was for my whole life to be a nurse and I don't like blood. So I don't know how that's happening. But even as a kid, I was very creative. I gravitated toward the arts,like dance, drawing, singing. I could sing at one point in time, but now... It's not happening. Only in the shower, the acoustics (laughter). Acting was my love. As a kid, I thought I'd be this famous actress and that I’d move to Hollywood. That was my thing for the longest time. But going back to my origin story, as a kid, I did ballet. I did ballet for many years. But in the ballet world, I was the token black girl. And let's be honest, there are certain rules and how they expect you to look. And I developed super early. So my body was always something talked about as a child. Whether it was my wanting to go to dance class or whether it was my family get togethers, I was always a chubby child and coming from a Caribbean family, you know they don’t hold back nothing. So through that. I developed some insecurities. I had an eating disorder that lasted 13 years. And that brings me to here... My journey and just healing.
That's pretty dope. So an eating disorder that took 13 years. That in itself, to me, I find it a little scary, but you managed to overcome. What was the support system, like in terms of you being able to overcome this? Or were you left to fend for yourself?
You know, what it was? I didn't really get help, until I was probably 26. Because my whole life, it was the norm. I would see my mother do certain things.Like not eating before events or not eating the whole day. For me, that was just the norm. It was the norm. I didn't really understand that I had it until I was older, in my early 20s, late teens. I would go into fitting rooms and bawl my eyes out because I didn't like how I looked. I would avoid going to restaurants with friends because I didn't want to eat. Eating and how I looked consumed my life. My day would depend on if the scale told me I lost 10 lbs. Someone I dated at the time pointed it out to me telling me that this was not normal and that I should just go out and eat freely and not worry about if I was going to gain 10 lbs. So my boyfriend at the time actually looked up eating disorders and support groups for me.
That's good. And from there, you started getting help.
I got the help. I went into a support group with other adults. It made me realize that I was not the only person that goes through this.
Alright, awesome. Awesome. I feel that, with regards to healing, that there’s a connection to spirituality that comes along. Can you speak on your connection?
I'm very intuitive. So I do believe intuition is real. And I listened to my intuition a lot. I was never religious, even as a kid. Like I told you, I grew up in a very strict Christian household. I was not. My mom... She tried. She tried, but I just couldn't connect. To me, religion was very controlling. It's such an easy question but... Spirituality is how you connect to your soul. How you connect to others. How you connect to your heart. I think it's all intuition. I do believe that there's a higher being. But I don't think it's how we're portrayed. Because think about it. Creator, right? If God is this man, you need men and women to create so could he be both? My spirituality to me is just how I connect with others, how I connect to my heart, how I just move through the world and what grounds me.
Nice. Ok. So, you when you talked about your aspirations, you mentioned being into the arts. What got you started in helping others?
I feel like when you're in the arts, you naturally have a healing spirit. I feel like they're intertwined. You naturally have a very healing spirit about you.
Okay. So, with that said, going back to the question (laughter).
So the question I had asked is what got you started into helping others.
Okay, so naturally, I've always been that friend that people call when they have problems They never really called me for advice, but if they had a bad day, they knew I’d make them laugh. I was always that friend. Originally I took the performing arts program at George Brown because I had big dreams of being an actress. During my time, I found that random people were stopping me on the street and having heart wrenching conversations with me, telling me their life story. From there, I looked to get into the social work program. I never got into that. Then fast track. I had my son. And when he was 3 or 4, I thought about going back to school. So I took the Child & Youth Worker Program. I thought that I was meant to start at the beginning. And I loved it. My focus was more on helping the youth and their families. And then that branched out to many other things. And that really got me into it. Because as I was learning about certain things, I started healing myself. I started questioning my childhood and understanding my parents and why they were the way they were. And that helped me as a mother and understand my child, and kind of correct myself when I wasn't trying to repeat certain things I was taught.
This is pretty cool. Do you have a story that made you feel like you were doing what you were supposed to?
Do I have a story? I do. I do. So the pandemic happened in 2020. And so for me, I'm very big on I have to be busy. If I'm not busy, I feel like I'm worthless. I don't know if it's the black experience and how we're taught. But my mom's a workaholic. She was non stop. My father worked 10 hours. My dad was the more nurturing of the two. I realized with me and my trauma that , I never healed from them. I suppressed them. I would disassociate myself from them. I would talk about certain things like my eating disorder and my sexual trauma, I would talk about it as if I wasn't talking about myself. I'd talk about it as if I was talking about someone else. So I never healed from them. So my friend put me on to Natasha. And we clicked and she became my life coach. As I would talk to her about my issues, she asked me why I was not sharing this. And my answer was that I don't talk about it, because black girls don’t have eating disorders. And she told about that many black women felt like me. And the more I opened up with her and got her leadership and guidance, I thought that I could do this. And the more I opened up with her, the more I opened up to everyone else, they began to tell me that they could relate to what I’m saying.
This is dope. And all that through, you're meeting with Natasha Helwig.
She's dope. Honestly she's dope.
Yeah, you’re not the first person to testify of the goodness she’s giving out. This is pretty cool. How does dating look like when you're healing from generational trauma, eating disorder and sexual trauma?
I have not dated in a hot minute. My last relationship was 6 and a half years long. And it was abusive. Physical abuse. So I've been taking a break from dating. I was a chronic dater, from 16 to 30 something, back to back. I didn't know how to be single. I felt like I always had to be in a relationship. So 2018 till now, I've been good. I've been living my best single life. Looking back at my dating life, I found that with me, I was picking up the same type of man. But since I've been healing through that, my type wasn't my type anymore. So I'm asking certain questions. I'm kind of guarded… No not kinda. I'm guarded. The walls are up and I'm questioning you like it's an interrogation office. I'm guarded, but it's growth. I feel like I've grown so much. And when you're in this journey, you grow a lot. And you attract people that are meant to teach you. And instead of me looking at a man and seeing him as being mine like a possession, I'm learning that he’s an experience. And it's okay to have this experience and if this experience is done, that's okay, too. I don't have to come with the dramatics. It was great. On to the next.
I like this idea of people being an experience. That’s nice. What are the misconceptions that people have about you?
I think people think I'm simple. I feel like when people first meet me, they think I'm simple. There's no depth to me but there's layers. They think I'm surface level , shallow or even naive.
All right. What would you like people to know about you?
That there's layers to this!
(laughter) There's layers and I'm a wealth of knowledge. And once I learn something, I can't keep it to myself. I gotta tell everyone what I learned. I got to get everyone on what I'm on. That's my thing. I love to educate. I love to make people feel good. When you're in my presence, it’s all positive vibes. If I'm having a shitty day, I'm not bringing my shitty day to you. I'm all about positive vibes. You know, I want you to feel your best self when you're around me.I am a whole spectrum. I am love, joy, peace, and I can be facety or is the correct term sassy? If I care about you , I will go over and beyond for you. I love to love. I love to show others they are appreciated regardless if I know you or not.
That's cool. Tell me. What is a legacy that you'd like to leave?
This question I always find so hard. Because when people think about legacy, you think of what am I giving my children? I don't think of it like that. I think more of what are people gonna remember about me? What is my son going to remember about me? What lesson have I taught him that he's gonna hold on to? And I feel that for me, I want people to understand that you can be exactly like me. Have your insecurities and go through trauma. If you had met me a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been capable to do this. I thought I was worthless. But even going through that, if someone's had my experience, looked like me, talked like me, I’d want them to know that you're so much and you can do this because I did it. Follow your truth and you can do anything. You belong at every damn table you want to be at.
This is so dope. If you were to meet an 18 year old this Alicia, what would be the advice you'd give her?
You’re dope! Follow your dreams! Because what you're not going to do is sit down and think what if. Just remember that you're dope. Don't let anything hold you back. 18 year old Alicia was super insecure, to the point that she wouldn't show off her arms because there’s stretch marks on it. My girl show them off! No one cares! Embrace everything about you. Be confident. Trust me, you’re dope. You’re a joy to be around and you are love and joy and light, and all that great shit, even on your worst day.
That’s dope! Let’s talk about your brand.
Okay, so Hey Sis! was created in 2020.
How did you come up with the name?
It was actually my brother, because every time my brother had to talk to get my attention, he’d say Hey yo! Hey Sis! Let’s Talk!
I thought it was catchy. If you want to grab someone's attention, you say hey sis, come over and talk. And for me, it's not giving the leeway to say, no. We're having this conversation now. So come over here, grab your chair, and let's do this. And that's the energy I wanted. It was really for me to create a safe space for myself really. And to share my stories. And once I shared, I felt like it was helping with my healing. And once I shared with others, they would tell me their story and we would heal together. It was me creating a safe space for everyone to come and just share their story. So that's how Hey Sis came to be and I was really focusing on body image, self love, self care. Those are my three things I used to struggle with. I do have moments of struggle. But we're learning and as I'm learning, you're coming on the journey with me and we're learning together. So then I had my first event on August 19. It was a workshop about black woman and body image. A lot of people came out, about 60 people. And I just shared my story about my journey and body image. My events people cry. Like it's really emotional. The tears come up, which I love. Because that means you trust me. You trust me so much that you can be vulnerable and I love it. Everyone just shared the story. And it was in that moment that I realized everyone has been through this. I'm not the only person. I'm not the only black girl that's been through eating disorder. I'm not the only black girl who has moments where she doesn’t like her body. I'm not the only black girl whose mother was very critical of her body. My mom was super critical. But I realized that my experience was normal, in a sense. Everyone else had experienced it too. So in January, I took a Self Love Coach course and now I’m certified to be a Self Love Coach. And then I got into the whole self care thing. I really focused on that with black men. That was like my real focus, because a lot of men messaged me about it. So in March, I decided to dedicate every Sunday to black men and self care. And every week we focus on something like emotional, mental, spiritual and physical. And every week, I'd have someone come on and they'll share their expertise on the matter. And it was really good. I felt that maybe people wouldn’t want to be involved or want to talk. But people were talking and sharing their stories. It was good. I'm gonna bring it back.
One last question. Yeah, this is the last question. So what is your support system looking like now compared to 10 years ago?
You know what? I've always had a really amazing support system. My eldest brother and I are super close. He's my best friend.
Yeah, I seen that! He’s on the Lives and...
Every live, Trevor is on. He is my biggest cheerleader. I love him. And, even though my son's father is not in the picture, it doesn't affect my son as much because my brother is so hands on with him. If I can't go to the parent teacher interviews, my brother is going. My brother is very involved. As much as me and my parents have our issues, they have been very much involved. I've always had a really great support system. My friends are like my sisters and brothers. So when it comes to support, I've always been blessed with that. So I've never had an issue of support in that aspect.