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We Cry Alone – A Trauma Self-Reflection

Recently, I was introduced to the creative work of Takisha Brown.

She shared the following in her recent post on childhood trauma:

“We don’t talk about childhood trauma enough; people are so quick to judge someone when you have no idea what they have endured. These images are dedicated to you, whoever you are; I pray that you find healing ❤️‍🩹 And I’m so glad that you keep pushing 👏🏾 I’m so proud of you.

Note from Takisha: I did not paint these images; I generated them online using artificial intelligence. (AI) I’m learning AI and using my platform. These are not stolen photos. I’m sorry if I triggered anyone. I just had to bring awareness and let you all know that I see you. I may not know your situation, but I’m praying for your healing. Thanks for all of the love!”

She has several AI creations that are so moving and capture what many have gone through. And to say a picture paints a thousand words would be too small a number for what these images evoke.

In Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others, the authors wisely suggest that “the depth, scope, and causes are different for everyone, but the fact that we are affected by the suffering of others and of our planet—that we have a trauma exposure response—is universal.”[1]

Jennifer Baldwin, in Trauma Sensitive Theology: Thinking Theologically in the Era of Trauma, sees trauma at its most fundamental level as wounding. She bases this idea that the word “trauma” etymologically derives from the Greek word meaning “wound.”[2]

Trauma can come in many life experiences, but the bottom line is that it is a wound that fundamentally challenges our belief of who we are or how the world works. In Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others, the authors importantly add, “The experience of being alone in the midst of crisis is often more trauma-inducing than the crisis alone.”[3]

Trauma is individual and communal, but it is also isolating in that we don’t give enough space to hear the story, thus creating the added pain and weight of loneliness.

We need to be more trauma-sensitive and informed in our care for each other and ourselves. More to come on that topic later…

When I saw Takisha’s work, I immediately shared it with a close mutual friend and prayer partner of JoAnne and mine.

Her response, “Oh, wow, that is a very telling cry of so many black women’s hearts!”

Then she began to elaborate, and it was so beautiful, vulnerable, and powerful that I asked her for permission to share.

Part of healing in and through trauma is storytelling, not to re-catastrophize or to re-traumatize but to be heard, seen, loved, and healed. She agreed to share her journey with that hope. You are heard, seen, loved, healed, and valued!

WE CRY ALONE by Faye Johnson

I was asked to teach a message at our church, and I was feeling the full gamut of emotions. My outside appearance appeared strong, beautiful, confident, purposeful, and centered on the amazing gift we have in King Jesus. Nobody but Him saw the turmoil I went through to make the drive to church. 

I knew because of the attributes I listed as positive, others would look at me differently.  My confidence would be mistaken for pride.  My beauty would be distorted because of the color of my skin, and being a woman who is full-figured, I would be misconstrued as a glutton and lacked discipline.  So, I cried alone!  Inside this grown woman with years of experience in this thing called life.  I felt I was not valuable in the world’s (and sometimes the Big “C” church) estimation of who they say I should be.  The concern for me was that, on the outside, I had been misunderstood as being bossy, cold, and strong-willed.  

Only I knew the struggle with a poor self-image, not being appreciated or valued, was still inside of me.  With the pain and rejection I experienced, I wanted to be set free, but the child inside still continued to cry alone to the audience of myself.  

On the outside, we don’t want to cry or show tears because the hurt is so deep we feel like there are no more tears.  However, reminding myself I could be vulnerable to my Creator and Maker, I remind myself that he captures my tears.  So, I cried alone, knowing he saw me and loved me!  With each tear, I shed criticism from myself and others.

I cry alone to not walk in loneliness but desiring to set that child free to become the woman her heart longs to be.  I cry alone for justice and mercy to flow like a river instead of being logged and jammed by other peoples’ estimations or opinions.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I cried alone one more time.  I didn’t cry for self-pity or for someone to feel sorry for me.  I cried because I knew that little girl would grow up and see the joy and beauty of people and still choose to love.  I screwed up my courage, walked through the door, and I taught that Sunday.

And they cried.  But they did not cry alone; I cried with them.

I had a difficult time thinking of what cover picture (© Motoki)to use for this blog, so I chose an example of Kintsugi artwork.

For a great article on Kintsugi, visit

In brief, the word Kintsugi comes from the Japanese Kin (gold) and Tsugi (join), and therefore literally means golden joinery. The art of Kintsugi is called Kintsukuroi, meaning “mending with gold”.

It is often used as a metaphor of things we often want to discard but are fixable. Trauma can not be discarded; it is part of us, but it does not fully define us. It forms us, and if we allow the gold of God’s grace, community, and healing, we become something new. Not without cracks but still beautiful and never alone…because we are mended and healed together in our story.

You are loved.

[1] Jennifer Baldwin. Trauma-Sensitive Theology: Thinking Theologically in the Era of Trauma, (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2018), Kindle Edition. 455.

[2] Baldwin. Trauma-Sensitive Theology: Thinking Theologically in the Era of Trauma. Kindle Edition, 455.

[1] Laura van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk, Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others, (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009), 291.

1 Comment

  • Star Bishop
    Posted December 8, 2023 at 7:01 pm

    That was an amazingly accurate position on the trauma people experience as a child
    How it shapes makes and molds us
    There is Beauty in that pain
    No one should cry alone!! Unfortunately many do

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