Jamee Pineda 0:15
Hi, I'm Jamee Pineda and this is The Decolonizing Medicine Podcast. I am a queer non binary trans person and my ancestors are Tagalog and Chinoy my healing arts practice is located at Fruitcamp in Baltimore, Maryland. My guest for this episode is Dr. Justina Kamiel Grayman. Justina is an artist who studies, practices, and processes for designing beautiful spaces of deep connection home and family. With a BA in Psychology from Stanford and a PhD in psychology and social intervention from NYU, Justina's studies have always centered on understanding how we communicate with each other in ways that build power, connect, and mobilize us. Justina is currently developing Raw Movement. Raw Movement provides tools, resources and research labs for dancer choreographer artists leaders to explore and practice co designing spaces of deep connection, home and family.
Hi, Justina, welcome to The Decolonizing Medicine Podcast. How are you doing today?
Justina Grayman 1:47
I'm doing okay. I'm a little tired at the moment. But happy to be here.
Jamee Pineda 1:52
Yeah, happy to finally talk with you on the show. I feel like I always encounter you through Clarinda's Matriarchal Business stuff. And you always have super insightful things to say. And I'm like, I want to continue this conversation.
Justina Grayman 2:08
Well, thank you.
Jamee Pineda 2:09
So yeah, so I'm just really glad to have this space with you. So I want to ask, I want to start off with like, just a quick introduction. I'll have you just quickly introduced yourself and your work. And just share, share a little bit more about like what your projects look like right now.
Justina Grayman 2:31
Sure. I forgot. This is where you ask questions about me.
My name is Justina I identify as an artist. And I make art. And one of my main projects right now is called Raw Movement. And it's a whole big thing. It's an organization. It's a system. But it's bringing people together to co create spaces of deep connection, home, family. I'm all about the family vibes. And all about discovering how we come together and connect. And all of the messiness that's involved in that.
Jamee Pineda 3:30
Yes, thank you. So I saw this quote on your website a while ago, and it just, I just thought it was so interesting. And it says, "I longed to make the darkness beautiful. I have felt myself floating in the unknown, the space, the darkness, tormented has only been the touch of a hand that has released me from that terror. Connection has saved me and it has been divine." And I'm curious where you are now in relation to that statement.
Justina Grayman 4:03
Yeah, I, Jamee, I read that question. When you sent it a million years ago, and I was like, Oh, we put that up. I have no idea. And then maybe something will come out. But I don't know. It's still true. I mean, it's still Yes, that's fact. Um, I. I, I have I have an obsession, strong inclination towards the darkness and the beauty of darkness and the beauty of tragedy and the beauty of suffering and not in an indulgent masochistic way, but and just uh, wow, that is so crazy. It's so absurd this life is so weird. And in terms of that, I think my mind automatically goes, when you ask the question, it automatically goes to like this conversation that at least social media is having, or like mainstream psychology practitioners are having about trauma healing, but then my brain doesn't really want to go in that direction. You know? So I'm trying to, like follow my own thought pattern, rather than the mainstream thought pattern of how much of your trauma have you healed? You know? So I think for me, I would say that it's like, I'm right now I'm having a conversation with myself about the conversation I'm having. Like what I think that script that you're supposed to say, as a person, who is an adult, and who is in service of other people is, and yes, I've healed all of my trauma. And now I'm here to help you heal your trauma. And I'm very aware of that script that there is, and
Jamee Pineda 6:24
yeah, that script does not make sense to me.
Justina Grayman 6:26
Yeah, that is, and that's the conversation. I'm having in my head rather than, like, what is it really bring up for me, it doesn't really bring anything up that that quote, I think it's just like, yeah, that's beautiful. Like, that's, yeah, connection has saved me. And it has been divine. I've been terrified a lot. And that's so true. Yeah. It's just true, it it. It's like, I love that the statement is beautiful. And it's about the beauty of human connection. And that it's so extreme, the statement is so extreme, and it makes me realize how extreme my emotions have always been. And it's an it's, I love it. I think that's how I feel right now. I love it. I love that that is that the statement is true. I love that connection exists. And that I've settled, I increasingly settle more into being deeply connected to myself and to other people, and to whatever my purpose is, and whatever unknowns there are. And perhaps, that allows me to be with that statement and not have it be like, Oh, my God, like I've been terrified. You know, because I definitely was more like that before. But I would actually say, mainstream psychology made me more like that, like, oh my god, okay, like, I have this job with that. And people would say that I have this, you know, diagnosis. And, but before I was just like, yeah, I terrified, I was terrified. I completely froze, or, you know, but it was just like, whatever, you know, it was normal. And I think that the statement is, for me, is a normalization. And that's what Raw Movement is. And that's how I am in the world. Just like yeah, death happens. Yeah, like, you know, I was, I was just thinking to myself, I always have a conversation in my head before I have a conversation about the conversation. And I was thinking, you know, most of my life, I'm pretty neutral. Like, I don't have a thing, I don't have an emotion about it. It's just, I'm just observing. And that's, that's what I feel the statement. I've talked so long about this.
Jamee Pineda 8:55
Oh, no, that's totally great. There were two things that you said that I want to circle back to. The first one is the, I guess, stereotype or the expectation that if you're doing healing work, or holding healing space for people, for others, that your trauma has to be healed. And I just like I yeah, I that, that expectation. It bothers me.
Justina Grayman 9:30
Jamee Pineda 9:30
It bothers me because it, it assumes that like, trauma is like this linear thing that happened in the past. That you like you have a trauma, and then you feel it, and then you're fine.
Justina Grayman 9:46
Haha! You're fine. Everything's fine.
Jamee Pineda 9:49
When has that ever been true? You know, like our traumas like they stick they stick with us, even if we have done healing. They're like part of us. They inform how we interact with the world. And not that I wish for people to be traumatized, but like it has also given me my own trauma has also given me lived experiences that have made me more sensitive and more informed as a healer, and continue to right? It's always there. And if you have marginalized overlapping identities, I feel like that there is always traumatic stuff happening around you. And so it's not so simple as like, you're just you're cleansed, you're pure. Yeah, those things happen. The healing for yourself and for others often happen concurrently.
Yeah, there's an obsession with purity and becoming clean, or Yeah, becoming like, wiping all the dirt off of you. You know, like, wiping so hard, like scrubbing so hard that like, it becomes it becomes crazed, you know, like you're scrubbing the dirt off but then it's like you're giving your you're like giving yourself bruises. And you see blood, but you're still going, you know. So-
Can I just have a TMI moment right now? I like the first thing that popped into my head when you said that was like wiping your butt so hard that you like get raw and you bleed.
Justina Grayman 11:30
Oh my god. I love that you just said that.
Jamee Pineda 11:38
I mean, I literally my job is literally talking about poops and periods all the time. So I have like, No, I have no filter when it comes to that stuff. I'm like we're talking about poop now, right?
Justina Grayman 11:55
I love it. Yeah.
Jamee Pineda 11:57
Abrasive wiping get a bidet. It's worth it.
Justina Grayman 12:01
A bidet! That's whenI know I will have reached the pinnacle of just my life when I have a bidet. That is, I will have made it. Okay.
Jamee Pineda 12:13
I have a cheap bidet. That was like $20.
Justina Grayman 12:17
Oh, really? I feel like in my mind they're so expensive and like luxurious.
Jamee Pineda 12:22
No, I don't have like this, like fancy Japanese robot toilets. But I have like a bidet attachment that you just you just hook up to your toilet.
Justina Grayman 12:32
Oh, okay, this is accessible.
Jamee Pineda 12:34
Yeah, it is so much more accessible. And I'm like, very, not handy. And I was able to figure out how to put on there.
Justina Grayman 12:44
Jamee Pineda 12:44
So I'm throwing it out there that your dreams had come through a lot sooner than you were expecting.
Justina Grayman 12:53
That's true. That's always true. And this is an optimistic moment brought to you
Jamee Pineda 13:00
Exactly. No more sad poops.
Justina Grayman 13:07
Jamee Pineda 13:08
I really like that tangent.
Justina Grayman 13:11
Now I can't remember what was what we were just talking about.
Jamee Pineda 13:15
I was gonna say like, there was like a second thing that I was going to point out that was really deep, but my brain just let go of it and prioritized bidets, so I'm gonna move on and ask you a different question.
Justina Grayman 13:26
Oh, well, you the first point was about assuming that trauma needs to be healed. And I want to actually jump back because it's something I think about a lot when I'm being annoyed at social media and the conversation on social media. And and that's like the assumption that trauma is separate from you. I'm not talking about like, after the integration phase, you know, trauma healing, like there's supposedly the stages of trauma healing, and then you arrive at integration where it's a part of you. I'm not even talking about that. I'm just talking about the experience of trauma itself. Like the fact that trauma has a name. And it's not just like life, like the fact that it's, it's viewed as an obstacle, and not as an inherent part of existing as a human being where there are other human beings and it's just normal. It's just normal and it's and for me in my personal life experience, it is not...I've learned that it has not been, I hesitate to say this, it has not been an obstacle. Like it. All the traumas I've experienced have shown me who I was already born as. My uncle, my cousin actually, told me on the phone recently, when you were a kid, the vacuum cleaner would come on. And you would immediately start running and screaming, for anybody to come and hold you, you know, you needed comfort. I was always that I was always that way, it was only a matter of time that something was going to happen. It could have been a myriad of things, but something was going to happen that disrupted my sensitive nervous system in a way that was predictable, you know, the more that I just casually look at astrology and numerology and whatever. It all just says how you're gonna develop, how you're gonna develop, and what challenges you'll have and all of that. And there was never a scenario where I was not going to be someone who is very reactive to fearful circumstances. Not everybody runs when a loud vacuum cleaner comes on. Not everyone goes to stay with their parents for two years during a global pandemic, you know, like, it's not necessarily the pandemic, that is traumatizing me. It's the reaction between the individual and that environment always. And I think that the conversation around trauma healing is as if trauma is something that should have never happened. And it's just kind of like a pick your poison kind of situation. It was always going to be something. It just happened to be, oh, it was your father doing this, or your mother doing this, you know? And that's been my life experience. But whatever. It could be completely off me.
Jamee Pineda 17:12
So is it so for you? It sounds like it's more, it's less about the traumatic event, but more about how you're wired to interact with the world. Is that right? Is that clear?
Justina Grayman 17:29
Yeah, I think that the way that we react to the circumstances of our lives, say something about who we are, because people can experience the exact same event and they all experience it differently. They all come to different conclusions. It all impacts the nervous system differently. You know, it says something about where you are already vulnerable, where you are, where you're easily socialized, or impacted, or influenced. It differentiates people. I think our environments, trauma, suffering, whatever differentiates people based on who they were in the who they already were. I don't know if what I'm saying is making sense. But
Jamee Pineda 18:26
How has this relationship with with trauma, your relationship with trauma, how has that impacted how you co create spaces with folks for connection, for movement? I'm curious about that.
Justina Grayman 18:51
That's a good question. I kind of wonder what your answer to the question is, maybe that will help me think about the question. I think yeah, yeah, you go so that I can I can go off of what you say.
Jamee Pineda 19:17
Yeah. So how I would answer that is it like for me, like a lot of not a lot. Some of my trauma has been interacting with medical systems that are oriented towards cis het normative standards, and so by default, it becomes transphobic or queer phobic. And so as someone who does healing work, those experiences inform how I create safety for my patients and also for me, and it's, it's from like, an infrastructure level with like, filling out when people are filling out forms, like how am I asking those questions about their health history-
Justina Grayman 20:15
Jamee Pineda 20:15
-in a way that is like, respectful and affirming of their identities. And then also like for me, like as a practitioner, like, who, who am I cultivating as like, the community that I want to work with, like, I'm not going to want to work with people who are going to be like, racist towards me, or who are going to be really transphobic like, I'm going to, like design, my marketing and my outreach towards people who are going to be affirming of my identity as well. And who are going to be a safe, who are going to be safe for me to work with. So that's how some of my trauma has shaped my work. What else? Oh, yeah, like trauma from just being severely burnt out from working in toxic environments, has also shaped how I work. I don't want to grind. I don't want to work in a way that is hurting my health. You know, like, it's not just about like, how, how much money can I make? It's also like, How can I live and work in a way that doesn't require me to have all of these coping mechanisms? That doesn't require me to constantly need healing beyond basic maintenance?
Justina Grayman 21:48
Yeah, that that was an excellent response, Jamee. I'm impressed, like, bravo. That was well though out. I could not have come up with such a well-rounded answer. This is why I love conversating.
Jamee Pineda 22:16
It's either that or toilet humor, and I don't have a lot in between.
Justina Grayman 22:20
No, I agree with you. Not agree, but the way in which my experiences and suffering has informed Raw Movement and just life is very aligned with what you said in terms of who I like to work with. And I kind of, I call myself a mystified child. And that is, you know, deeply sensitive, like, I wouldn't, I don't even want to qualify it but mystified human beings. And I think recognizing that out of mainly religious trauma that I experienced, I wouldn't have known. But I felt this sort of existential, "spiritual" connection or whatever, had I not been traumatized at a young age with all this religious stuff. It was a major arrow towards my, I hesitate to say wisdom, but my just the way that I am in the world, which is mystified. And so who I work with how I see myself being oriented in the world and also my needs, and that's, and that's why I love trauma, Jamee, because
Wow, "I love trauma"
It's because I have always been a person who is extreme. I will take I'll make a learning lesson, can I say that, out of anything. And that includes obsessively researching my own experiences and what went wrong. You know, like, what, what happened to me I used to walk around being like what happened to me? I thought I had a normal childhood. And you know, diving, it's all of this work and realizing, oh, like you have, like a lot of emotional needs. You have an excessive emotional needs like way beyond, like, probably no parent could have met your emotional needs and learning the nuances of what I need in daily life. And that includes like, a ton of space and freedom. And not working a lot like, like you mentioned. So many times in my life, I've been like, I'm going insane, you know, and it's just like, you're working too much. I didn't know that, you know, I just like, you know, I get obsessive about things. And then I'm like, "AAAHHH!", but when it's like, when you don't make sense, life feels like it's chaos. And I feel like that's how the first half of my life has been. I didn't understand myself. Everything was like, "Ah! What is going on?" Now I feel more chill, because like, oh, yeah, that's, that's why that happened. No, that's okay, just do this. You know, I wrote this thing in a, I have this little vision binder, in my room. And I just wanted to read it real quick. Because I, I read this. I don't know, pretty often. And it's something I wrote about, the purpose of my suffering. And I feel like it's resonant. Maybe it summarizes what I just said, but whatever repeating things is good. I love repeating things. So I wrote, the purpose of your suffering and stories of suffering, to enable you to connect to others. To understand yourself, be aware of yourself and learn the nature of life. To become present to your individual and collective unmet needs and organize for them. That's really important to me because one thing I say about myself is that I am deep connection. So whatever I'm experiencing is a magnification or amplification of what is going on in the collective realm. Because I am deep connection. So if I instead of vastly personalizing all of my experiences, I zoom out and look at what it is that we need, and my visions for my own future and what I want that is a vision for the collective to show you wisdom and truth and that the fear is never real. To show you who you really are, only someone so sensitive and existentially connected can react how I did. Only someone already deeply connected, already questioning, open in awe. My suffering showed me the natural talents and gifts I was born with: being mystified by life in awe of and accepting the unknown, being deeply connected to all people and seeing everyone as family. Suffering shows us who we really are, what is really true about life, and most of all, tells us what to do, and what we need and want.
Jamee Pineda 28:06
Wow, there's a lot there.
Justina Grayman 28:07
____________just pop it in.
Jamee Pineda 28:18
I am thinking about how a lot of times when I'm talking to patients about pain that they might be experiencing. It's like changing that relationship to pain. as something that is it's data. It's like what is this telling you about your body? What is this telling you about your experience socially, financially if you are feeling a discomfort or you're suffering and somehow it's not just about that sensation? What is the bigger thing that might be happening that we need to pay attention to? And that it like, what you're saying, I feel like that connects to how I relate to pain sometimes. But I'm also seeing how you're just accepting this role as being a microcosm for the collective around you. And that they're like, You are separate sort of, but you're also like, very, like you were saying deep connection. And I think that that is the most natural thing in the world. Yeah. Like we are, we are an ecosystem within ourselves. But then we're also all parts of an ecosystem. And it just I'm like, Yeah, of course. Like that is so logical, like everything in nature functions that way too.
Justina Grayman 29:57
Yeah. And um, Unfortunately, the way that we're socialized in this culture and many individualistic cultures is that we are that we are that we are separate. And my individual experience has nothing to do with your individual experience. And we all have anxiety and we're all depressed. There's, there's something wrong with all of us. And it's like, what? That doesn't make any sense though, you know, it's like..
Jamee Pineda 30:32
Right, like, if we're all depressed and anxious, something is wrong. But not like on an individual level only.
Justina Grayman 30:44
Yeah. And that's why I think that it's a whenever people tell me what I'm doing is radical, I'm like, Oh, yeah. It just makes sense to me. It's just like, yeah, co create spaces that meet people's needs, like the thing is about meeting people's needs. It's not about whatever, there is no goal, you know what I'm saying? It's like, it's, it's, um, I don't know what I was gonna say. But the tangent that I was going on is that we often don't get to this way of thinking, this paradigm of suffering, being about information and data gathering, about what to do, because the current systems that be are systems that induce powerlessness. So we automatically discount that a situation can be used for power, or can be used to increase quality, quality of life help us achieve whatever we want to achieve, like create more love, you know, people are just so hopeless about the prospect of love in their lives. And and that's sad.
Jamee Pineda 32:17
Yeah. Words of Wisdom
Justina Grayman 32:23
Jamee Pineda 32:51
I want to shift gears a little bit, and talk with you about our community shout out. So every episode, we do a community shout out to uplift groups, or individuals of the global majority, aka bipoc, who are doing decolonizing work. And just encourage listeners to redistribute resources to them and increase their visibility. And I'm curious who you would like to highlight for this episode?
Justina Grayman 33:26
Well, you know, Ryoo,
Jamee Pineda 33:28
Justina Grayman 33:29
I was talking to Ryoo yesterday. Ryoo is the creator of party noodles, um, @partynoodles on Instagram, and they're very aligned. And they are, you know, party noodles is about celebration of all parts of ourselves. And there's a playfulness about the celebratory parties that they host and informality that I love. One of the things I've been reflecting on is that wise things seem dumb. And, and it's like, oh, it's playful. And it's it's maybe childlike and, but it is so wise. It's so like, Oh, I just like ARGH, just like that groan. It's just so substantive for me. And I Ryoo doesn't find that to be an insult. But it's, it's the most it's the biggest compliment coming from me. And I think that's all I'll say, but yeah, there's a radicalness to being free and celebrating and playful.
Jamee Pineda 35:12
So like the wisdom of playfulness and silliness and doing things that don't make sense.
Justina Grayman 35:20
Yeah, it in a flowy just like take things as they come spontaneous type of way. It's it's called freedom.
Jamee Pineda 35:31
Oh, that?! What are you talking about?
Justina Grayman 35:35
Oh, like Yeah, so that's my that's my shout out.
Jamee Pineda 35:46
Okay. I will I will tag you in the show notes so folks can click on their Instagram handle and read more about the work that they're doing. Justina, do you have any projects or events that you want to let us know about? How can folks connect with you and learn more about your work?
Justina Grayman 36:12
I feel like I kind of kind of said nothing about what I've done. I've said a lot that is related to the underpinnings of what I'm doing. But yeah, Instagram my handle, it's @justinagrayman. And then my organization, let's call it for today, Raw Movement is @raw_movement or rawmovement.org. Did I answer the question how can people follow up?
Jamee Pineda 36:47
Yeah you're getting there
Justina Grayman 36:49
Oh, and what's coming up? Is that am I supposed to answer that too?
Jamee Pineda 36:53
If you'd like if there's like something that you want to promote, you can totally do that.
Justina Grayman 37:01
Nothing concrete. Yeah. On Instagram or on the website, you can join the email list and be notified of labs and gatherings where it'll be pretty much movement somatic lover type people who want to come together and CO create spaces of deep connection virtually or in person things will be in New York City. And yeah, I'm also starting to do consultations, individual and organizational um for people who are dreaming of or creating leading spaces of deep connection, home family. I use all of my trauma and the trauma of my ancestors too and all the things I've discovered about my own needs and and you know, my experience of building these spaces of deep connection to ask questions to people who are doing the same thing that can help us in inquiring about deepening those spaces of emotional safety and connection and trust and love. Dare I say love? Dare I say love.
Jamee Pineda 38:30
Awesome. Thank you so much, Justina. I really enjoyed this conversation.
Justina Grayman 38:35
Jamee Pineda 38:56
We are in the metal season of Chinese medicine, but water season, aka winter is just around the corner. Our bodies are reflections of our geography, climate, emotions, and so much more. If you want to learn more about what the heck that means, and tips on how to live in alignment with the seasons, you can check out my zine collection, or sign up on Patreon to get access to the educational modules. I have two experimental offerings to share with my Patreon community. I'm trying out bonus podcast episodes. And these are going to be raw, unrefined and unedited on Patreon. I'm aiming to have them out every new moon which means the next one should be out on November 23. Do you struggle to keep up with routines that central your well being and self cultivation? This is certainly something that I experience. Sometimes those practices get deprioritize when I get sucked into capitalist habits or sometimes I do Forget, I've decided to approach this issue with curiosity and experimentation. In October, I started hosting a group devotional medicine space. It's a very casual combo of strategies from body doubling, parallel play and co working. For now, it's going to be weekly on Sundays at 5pm. Eastern Time on Zoom, and you can get access to it through patreon.com/jameepineda healingarts. I'm not sure how long I'll run these experiments for, we shall see, and I'll let you all know that as a reminder, Patreon funds go towards captions for this podcast and to scholarships for Qigong classes that center queer trans, black indigenous people of the global majority.
Maraming salamat for listening to The Decolonizing Medicine Podcast, music is by Amber Ojeca, Hedkandi, and Rocky Marciano. Big thanks to Cuán McCann for audio engineering all of these episodes. Last but not least, thank you to all our listeners and supporters out there. Ingat!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai