This month, I set out to explore the confluence of womxn, diversity, and mental health in the wellness space, and I couldn’t have done it without the beautiful perspective of Constance Hosannah, the co-founder of We’re Okay Fam.
We’re Okay Fam is a women’s empowerment healing collective that’s founded on the principle of “Empowering women, one conversation at a time.” It’s a really nurturing space that amplifies human stories and perspectives that we all, ever in our echo chambers, need to open ourselves to right now.
The wellness space is changing now more than ever, with a rallying cry for diversity and intersectionality at the forefront of that shift. I spoke to Constance about how We’re Okay Fam is carving out a place in that world, and exploring how they can be ever-expansive in their advocacy of inclusion and awareness.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this interview. Tag me in your Instagram story with your takeaways, and as always, happy reading xx
As a founder of We’re Okay Fam, a women’s empowerment healing collective, you share incredibly real and powerful stories of vulnerability, loss, and difficult journeys. These stories cover the full spectrum of life and give women a platform to share, feel collectively, relate, and heal. I myself have shared my story there 🙂 Can you share your own story of how and why you started this platform?
I can trace the birth of We’re Okay Fam back to December 2018, when I became engaged to a man who had a litany of health and legal issues. Emotionally drained and lost after 2 years in this relationship, our engagement ended abruptly, about 2 weeks after he got down on one knee. This experience left me devastated, confused, and depressed.
For a month and a half I grieved, and this was an enormous struggle for me. I don’t think I ever cried so much in my entire life, to be honest. I felt guilty for having wrapped so much of my identity up in one individual. I could not have gotten through it without Kate (We’re Okay Fam’s co-founder) and the rest of my support system. I started blogging about what I was going through because writing felt like a really powerful outlet for my grief, and I was motivated to help other women who might have been carrying similar grief to cope as well. This was the beginning of We’re Okay Fam.
Today, we use our platform to highlight stories that are hallmarked by authentic sharing. Kate and I ask all of the ladies who we feature to be as honest and as vulnerable as possible in their sharing, as we understand how honesty is so key to our own growth and to the growth of others, and conversely, how detrimental the lack of authenticity can be to others struggling through similar situations. In addition to sharing the stories of other women, Kate and I post our updates stories and struggles regularly. We love how empowering our little community has become.
What was your experience like running We’re Okay Fam during 2020? Were there any shifts in how you showed up for your community, and how it evolved over the course of this explosive year and ahead to 2021?
Running We’re Okay Fam in 2020 was a challenge (to say the least). As our Instagram community grew, the two of us were going through huge life shifts in our own lives, behind the scenes. I have a 9-5 job and Kate is getting her Master’s degree, so delegating tasks, even with the help of our amazing ambassadors, was a real struggle. And with the pandemic on top of that, there was a whole additional layer of collective, emotional tolls taken that none of us were able to foresee.
In 2020 we launched virtual healing circles for our community, which have been such a blessing during these challenging times. We are in the midst of planning even more monthly programming and making some of that programming free, with the specific aim of everyone being able to attend, regardless of financial burdens. We are hoping to incorporate another 1,000 women into the community by the end of the year!
How does We’re Okay Fam fit into the larger context of wellness and mental health, as you see it? Especially in the Instagram space?
We’re Okay Fam is unique because it gives women a certain level of anonymity and freedom that they might not have in their day to day lives. We never ask women to share in any specific way, and we give them the option to submit photos of themselves or not, if that makes them feel more comfortable. Recently, we decided to encourage women to post anonymously if that serves them better.
As it relates to mental health, we believe that sharing and owning your narrative can be incredibly cathartic. That is why we often advertise WOF events as ‘an impetus for healing.’ In WOF healing circles, women often uncover deeper issues they didn’t initially realize were there. And while Kate and I are not formally trained mental health specialists, we are both very heavily involved in advocacy work in our professional lives, and WOF has been driven forward with that in mind. Self advocacy is perhaps the most successful and rewarding tool a woman can have in her arsenal.
On Instagram, we are also combating stigmas around mental health, body positivity, wellness, and so much more. We want women to feel empowered to live their lives as they see fit, regardless of the pressure they may receive on social media.
Let’s talk about diversity (or lack thereof) in the wellness space. How is We’re Okay Fam acknowledging and addressing this, and where does it fit in your larger mission?
Diversity in the health and wellness space is lacking greatly. Wellness is largely impacted by a variety of factors which are intersectional, and yet a lot of the guidance we receive comes from white, cis-gender, secular accounts that deliever content geared towards similar-looking women of middle-to-upper class society. By subscribing to those biases and by not considering other types of women, you ignore anyone who does not fit into one or more of those categories.
Even though I like to believe that so much of that is unintentional, it doesn’t change the fact that’s it’s incredibly prevalent. Diversity, although often associated with race, is typified by so much more. As such, we welcome all voices that desire to be heard, so long as they are respectful and add perspective to the space.
As we go into this new year, how are you thinking about diversity and inclusivity, and what can we all be doing, as mostly females and many entrepreneurs with platforms who are readers, to be expanders going forward?
It is important that we move forward with expanding the wellness space to include a diverse array of perspectives. Listening to and amplifying the voices of others is so necessary, and we strive to use our platform to amplify voices of all kinds. We also have aligned ourselves with womxn’s and race-based movements that we feel to be of core importance, and encourage others to as well.
Having socioeconomic diversity is important to us too, which is why we’ve made the commitment to hosting free events so that womxn of all socioeconomic levels are included, always.
We also utilize our ambassador program to welcome all kinds of women into our administrative community and our sisterhood.
…And if any of my readers want to submit their stories to We’re Okay Fam sisterhood?
Sisterhood, yes. Kate and I are best friends first, sorority sisters second, and co-founders third, and WOF is really a sisterhood, curated with that history in mind. We want to be a support for women who might not have that network surrounding them in their personal lives. We hope to hear from new voices always, and you can reach out to us via Instagram or via email at email@example.com to submit your story.
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