WE are here to find the ME
Cérise C. Carson and Thao Ho catch up with each other and talk about mental health, community and her new podcast 'Within Element' where she explores intersections of race, ethnicity, heritage, mental health, self-care, self-love and eating disorders.
I remember that one night we met in the club and it felt like we were dancing forever. All of a sudden, I realized that you were dancing next to me. It's such a beautiful sight to see your friends dancing, having fun, enjoying themselves. Another evening with you I remember very fondly is the evening with Vicky after my break-up. Whenever I think of this evening with both of you, it fuels me intensely!
OMG! Yes! Thinking back to that club night, I had felt something in my dancing space, that felt unusually familiar and I saw you! That was amazing and a night to remember for sure! Going back to that very hard and emotional evening for you, I am happy I was there, honey. All you needed was space and allowing the process to take its own space. Dancing it out in the kitchen definitely helped with setting the mood for what you would eventually have to face alone.
I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health within BIPOC, or generally, marginalized communities. It’s a quite exhausting experience of being politically active in Berlin BIPOC communities, I feel. It seems to be more common now to actually ask how everyone is doing at the meeting and it does feel good to be honest about it but I wonder how much it actually helps to solely share and not work through all these feelings together.
Yes, within our communities there needs to be a lot of communication done. I think one of the issues is that there is a lack of mediation. I also made the experience that people vanish for months to recover from their burnout by themselves, in this way the community never sees them in these vulnerable states but probably assumes that they are doing fine. Everyone is on their own path of struggles and balance. Being politically active, can easily trigger a hidden or buried trauma. I wish we would start demanding mental wellness for ourselves to assure our mental health is kept strong.
Yeah, weakness has such a bad connotation, you always want to be the strong one, the angry one. It also has a lot to do with my upbringing that I tend to deal with my problems by myself. I still struggle to balance practices of self-care and community-care.
For myself, I realized that I enjoy being the mediator and helping people find themselves and each other again. Extreme stress phases that people doing activist or political community work experience a lot, really take a toll on their bodies. Your body definitely lets you know when it is being neglected.
I heard the first episode of your new podcast Within Element the other day and I really like how raw it is. When did you start this podcast and why?
I just realized that ‘we’ in Within Element is also in WEAK. This is beautiful!
WITHIN ELEMENT - WE - is a BIPOC community storytelling platform, based in Berlin,
highlighting the stories of real humans and real talk within the community.
Back in 2019 as a life coach and nutritionist, with strong emotions towards mental health
topics, I sought out like minded, collaborated and WE grew a following within the
community by regular workshops and collective activities.
As a single mother of an 18 year old, I was still missing the type of role models that were out there when I was growing up.Thinking back about the true essence of what those role models were to me, I opened my eyes to realise quickly, that they are out there! And I am friends with a bunch of them.
As my stay in Berlin had extended over some years, so did the group of beautiful humans I was able to meet throughout this time. These are talents from all backgrounds and occupations that inspire just by existence. These are humans that inspire me, give me food for thought, or are simply a beautiful presence in the spaces I share and cross paths with.
Turning WE into a social media storytelling platform for BIPoC’s within the communities, keeping mental health in the center of healing “US” as a whole, I share their stories, accomplishments and highlight regularly, why I have chosen them as my #rolemodelforthenextgeneration , always carrying the thought that "together we are stronger" and that appreciating others accomplishments is a strength we should mentally work on.
Through this pandemic, it seemed harder and harder to gather together as whole in a physical space, so I decided to create a digital version, a form that could suit what I was trying to inspire within the community. Still highlighting the accomplishments without taking away the emotional connection I have with humans and one would get with a physical meet and greet. That’s when the Podcast was born.
Why did you choose Astan as your first guest?
I met, or in a different sense experienced Anais Astan aka Astan KA, in person, at a Jam session called "Ausländer Futurist" with the musicians that were later to become Asphalt Djelis. Astan which is also part of Cult Sup, part of Sonic Interventions and has become family overtime as I have been guiding her process of the years, supporting her when I could and connecting on a much more healing level. Before her next chapter into motherhood, I thought she would be great as a first guest on this new platform, due to our connection and vocal interaction, creating a comfortable atmosphere not only for us, but also for the listeners. It’s all about reconnecting with yourself in order to honestly connect with others again.
Cérise C. Carson (she/her) is an advocate for diversity and deep connections.
Combining her unique lived experience with specialised training, she relates to
a broad range of humans from varying backgrounds, ages, experience and education
levels. Her own personal history with mental health and in recovery of
eating disorders, and professional story, reflect the diversity she recognises
and seeks to foster in others. With a background in graphic design, a skill
which has allowed her to create and utilise balanced imagery and typography
to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate humans within a
therapeutic setting. As a certified nutritionist and life coach she focuses
on the balance of mind, body and soul. By incorporating life experiences with
tools and methods, Cérise joins expertise and a high level of empathy to foster
spaces that feel safe.
Cérise on Instagram
Within Element on Instagram