What does it mean to be healed?

A journey I’ll be on for the rest of my life

By Amy Ma


I was healed the day I first saw a therapist. No, it was when I stopped wishing I could magically become white. No, it was the anniversary of that day, when for the first time, he didn’t even cross my mind. But really, it was none of those times. 


What does it mean to be healed? I think of boundless love, perpetual light, a person full of art. At 20-years-old, what I know best about being healed is that I might never get there. But maybe there is no final stage of being “healed.” Part of healing is understanding that it’s a journey I’ll be on for the rest of my life. For me, that journey began when I was able to connect with my family and cultural roots

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Growing up Asian-American, specifically Chinese, I was taught that there was never anything to be healed. I was lucky to be in this country where my success would be a direct result of my hard work. I tried to assimilate into predominantly white schools, excelling in classes while trying to distance myself from my family’s history and culture. How could I explain something I didn’t even understand myself? I was unknowingly repressing a deep generational trauma. For most of my life, the words “beautiful” and “euro-centric” were synonyms. 

To me, healing is learning, unlearning, and relearning who I am. Healing is being willing to start over every day or every five minutes. Healing is buying myself coffee because I absolutely deserve it. Healing is interrogating my own privilege to gain a critical appreciation of self. Healing is actively putting myself in spaces that encourage diverse backgrounds. Most importantly, healing is understanding that it takes time. And I have the rest of my life.

Wake Mag