Home in My Body Wins Artist GrantJuly 22, 2023
The Paradox of Being Both Visible and InvisibleNovember 24, 2023
I recently met up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. She was someone I had connected with a long time ago while we were both enmeshed in the wellness world through our businesses. I remember having conversations back then about the issues we were having with that world and discussing all the things we found problematic. I remember telling her how much I felt like I didn’t fit in that world.
When I came up with the rebranding from Judy Lee Photography to Social Healing Space, it was in this past spring when the culmination of everything that had been happening lead to the decision to close my physical studio, stop doing one-on-one client work in order to do community art projects, and a mission to “decolonize wellness,” which in simpler terms meant moving it away from an exclusively self-centered, westernized approach to a more inclusive, community-centered approach.
When I reconnected with this friend and we were done catching up with each other’s lives, we had both arrived in the same place, having decided that the wellness world was not for us, so much so that we both had visceral reactions to it. I told her that I didn’t like the word ‘healing’ in my rebranded name and once I said that, I knew I didn’t want to keep it. Which brings me to why I am writing this newsletter to you.
When we know we want to make a change, it’s so easy to get caught up with all the questions that surface. For me, it was anticipating people’s reactions with comments like “you’re changing it again?” or fear of people thinking I’m flaky, or the concern that I’m making things too hard for everyone else who has to keep up with these changes. Or the worst one, what if I’m making a mistake and it’s the wrong name? But the version of me now knows better and knows that none of that matters. This move to social justice and centering on community has really been about one thing… rather than looking at what is wrong with us, looking at what is wrong with the container we are in. It’s the recognition that all those harmful voices belong to the container, and that container gets more restrictive the more intersectional identities we live in. Making an impact on that container is the intention behind all the social justice art projects I am doing and the north star that directs this work.
So yes, I am changing Social Healing Space and will be rebranding to weBelong because the ‘healing’ implied too much that there is a ‘healer’ and that felt too ‘wellness’ to me, too self-centric. “We Belong” just feels better because if we look at questions of injustice or oppression or any type of exclusion or harm, at the very heart to it, at its essence, is the idea that some people get to belong while others don’t. And isn’t that what we all want as the social creatures that we are? To belong. To belong to society, to our communities, to each other, which, ultimately, helps us to belong to ourselves.*
The new website will be webelongseattle.com (haven’t started this yet) and Instagram handle will be @webelongseattle (because obviously, webelong is taken). I haven’t settled on a logo but it’s okay to not be totally ready and imperfect before making a change.
I’ve got lots of things falling in place (that hopefully some of you will participate in) and will write soon to tell you all about it.
*The wellness world would argue you need to belong to yourself first. Yes AND that comes from a privileged perspective because it places the entirely of that transformation on the self. Not everyone has that privilege.