By Stephanie Barbee | May 27, 2023

I grew up in Arkansas, the natural state. There were parks and beautiful outside spaces. Actually, I spent a lot of my time outside, in the woods that surrounded the house I spent most of my childhood in. When I started dating, my partner loved fishing. We would go fishing with his grandfather, most of the time not catching a thing. One time when we went, a water moccasin (a river snake) kept coming close to where we were, assumingly because I was pregnant. “Nope”,” nah”, “I’m good, luv, enjoy”, fishing was not the place for me. Fast forward 15 years later, and my current partner also loved fishing. 


This time, it’s different for me.


I graduated with my MSW in 2015. To be honest, I always felt ‘unprepared’. So much of how I heard and saw therapy being done was different than what felt right for me. I knew about yoga as a practice but learned over the years about a whole therapy type called mindfulness. During the pandemic, like most of the rest of the world, I was forced to dig deep to find ways to get from one day to the next.   As I did these things, I noticed that I was able to move through stuff. It wasn’t necessarily easier or lighter, but I was willing to keep going. I started to understand that nothing lasts forever, and I learned that through mindfulness. DUH! That’s what fishing is for my partner. A mindfulness activity. 


Over the last few months, my partner has started to fish more frequently. The weather is just getting decent here in St. Louis, so it’s only about every other weekend that’s good. We’ve found ways to go together and plan time for him to go separately. He goes with his brother sometimes, and there are other black men who want to go. 


I was the first to be ‘hell to the naw naw naw’ when it came to fishing. And I still have that response sometimes, but I also see the value for my partner. He gets to have space to think and not be distracted by the latest on social media or the news. He’s in his own world, giving himself time and space to do something he enjoys. I’m glad to step aside for that for him because he definitely stepped aside as I made space for mindfulness practices. It’s really about learning and growing together, whether in a partnership, a friendship, or reading this blog. 


Can’t wait to see what you do with your empowered version, Black man!

About The Author 

Stephanie Barbee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri. She serves primarily Black Queer people who seek to understand their identities, overcome traumatic experiences, or explore how to move through a world that sees them as invisible. She is also a speaker, trainer, and consultant. She can be contact through her profile here: https://www.cliniciansofcolor.org/clinicians/spectrum-of-healing-llc/ 


Stephanie Barbee

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