What Is Trauma Informed? Please Read This Article Before Moving Forward if You Have Not Already. Trigger Warning On This Essay As well.

“Uh, I hate to ask this, but uh. I don’t really do “free” anymore.” That’s how I started the conversation about getting paid in return for talking about my cannabis use. Clearly, I haven’t been paid as much as I should have, but I just want you to know, that if Doctors, Cops, Lawyers, Teachers, Mental Health Professionals, Cannabis Shop Owners, or anyone on this planet asks you to speak about your experience with your trauma, you deserve to:


If they knew the emotional labour it takes to plan to talk about the shit that destroyed your life, then to actually give the talk without throwing up, then to actually survive the next 12 hours to 4 months of dealing with the ways you’ve been traumatized by opening up those wounds for THEIR education, they wouldn’t fucking as you to do it. If they actually cared that is.


Unfortunately, when it comes to talks, seminars, videos, docu’s, etc, there isn’t enough money to go around, so people often assume -wrongly- that you’d rather educate people for free, instead of not at all. They’re wrong.

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” —Malcolm X

I don’t often quote Malcolm X, for no other reason than we didn’t agree on a lot of things. The way that he handled his business, so to speak, startles me, even today. Largely because in almost every case he was right. He said a lot of things, that people didn’t like, and he didn’t mince his words.

For those that were alive when he was murdered, it was traumatizing, and the few that still talk about it are now accused of making money off his work.

Um…no. All people, everywhere, regardless of race, creed, nationality, colour, orientation, or organization, have something in their life, or their past that has traumatized them. And to prove that people who don’t understand our trauma want to and want to care, they ask us to speak, but they balk at the idea of paying us.

Trauma-Informed Care understands and considers the pervasive nature of trauma and promotes environments of healing and recovery rather than practices and services that may inadvertently re-traumatize.


The problem with this definition is that it really doesn’t say anything. “It’s knowing how not to retraumatize you,” ummm do you understand that by asking us to speak for free about what we’ve been through, when we’ve written blog posts, written books, and created clothing lines to support ourselves that you ALREADY don’t support, is fucking traumatizing?

There’s a cycle that victims and survivors go through, and every cycle is different for everyone, but many of those cycles have similar issues:

  • Poverty
  • Hunger
  • Disability
  • Marginalization
  • Isolation
  • Stigma
  • The never-ending fight not to end your life

Oprah herself could show up here, and rather than talk to her, I’d ask her to sit the fuck down, shut up and just watch me, because I have 0 words to explain just how fucking bad it is in my head. I just don’t. There’s nothing I can say that would make ANYONE on this planet, understand what I’m going through, but y’all want me to work for free?

At the very fucking least it’s disrespectful, at the most it’s just disheartening. It’s exhausting to try and explain that I/we can’t just pack up and move away from all the things that trigger so many of us. We can’t even open the fridge some days without realizing that if we want to eat we have to keep it clean, because honestly, we’re so fucking tired of going outside to take the garbage out. D

Do you know what that feels like? “I can’t clean my house but I’m supposed to educate you for free about my life because YOU don’t fully understand what it means to be “traumatized,” by existing on this planet.”

Um…sure. No problem. Pay me so that I can hire help.

“Well, we were thinking we’d promote you for free.”

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