#SWAAYthenarrative

This Mom Traded in All Her Cleaning Products for Essential Oils

Lifestyle

I'm Farra, a mom in her early thirties, with three babies under three, and wife to a man-child whose real age is 30. I have a two-year-old daughter Quinn, and two six-month-old twin girls, Blake and Logan. I got into using essential oils around a year ago, after a friend raved about them on social media. When I finally decided to dive in, I wasn't entirely sold on anything – I just thought that the diffuser was pretty and figured it couldn't hurt to try natural ways to de-stress and relax. I had recently lost my dad and was reeling from that, in addition to being pregnant with the twins. I was hoping that aromatherapy might take the edge off my whirlwind of emotions.


Farra Rogers and her family

To be totally honest, I was pretty skeptical about oils actually "working.” I mean, I'm a nurse who wholeheartedly believes in modern medicine and for some wacky reason, I, along with many other people generally assume that you have to believe in either traditional or alternative medicine. Modern medicine is absolutely amazing and before it's existence, lots of people died who probably didn't have to. But guess what I have come to find out? It's also amazing that we can support our bodies with stuff that is not formulated in a lab but grown from the earth, like plant juice. And if we support our bodies to work in the way they are meant to, we will generally feel better (less stressed, more rested, happier, and healthier).

So, it turns out, it's not a hard line in the sand; yes, you can choose to support your body naturally and also be grateful for the availability of medicine when it is needed. Anyway, I got my premium starter kit, which I bought knowing I wanted to get rid of my beloved candles (most are really not healthy to burn in your home) and I still wanted my home to smell nice and have a relaxing effect.

I started diffusing and applying the oils topically, and began realizing these things were actually working. My toddler was sleeping, I was feeling less stressed as a grieving, pregnant, unable-to-drink-a-beer mom of a toddler, they were helping with pregnancy annoyances that I refused to take pills for, and even my husband was requesting them. In a nutshell, I loved the oils right away and I wanted all of them.

When I look back now, I realize that getting this little kit was life-changing, but, I didn't know that then. From checking out the oils Facebook groups that I was added to with my kit purchase, I started realizing that most of us are fed a lot of bullshit by means of advertising when it comes to buying products. Do you know that tons of items, even those specifically formulated "for" babies, are full of toxic ingredients! Did you know that companies can list "fragrance" as an ingredient and that this can include like, anything, including known carcinogenic garbage?! Some moms were mentioning this little app called Think Dirty so I had to check it out. Trust me, once you learn about the ingredients in your beloved products, you will think twice about everything you buy. When my first was born, I thought I knew what was best. I wanted everything to be specifically for “baby”- special detergent and body washes and sunscreen, etc. I figured, if I'm buying X product for $16,99 at a store, it must be safe and it must be better than the cheap stuff. Wrong.

I slowly started to learn that many of the products that I had been using for years were packed with chemicals and just flat out bad for human beings, not to mention even worse for tiny babies and vulnerable pregnant bodies. It's pretty infuriating to me, that as a seriously busy mom of three, I can't just sprint through the store and throw baby-labeled products in my cart. No, I have to carefully inspect the ingredients because for some reason it's legal to include hormone-disruptors (seriously?! I have three beautiful baby girls and I don't want their hormones effed with) and carcinogens in these things we need.

Luckily, I found out that I could make tons of stuff with my oils and a few other basic ingredients, so I started doing that. Slowly but surely, I also started replacing all of my other goods with Young Living oils- baby products, house cleaner, detergent, dish soap, hand soap, etc. I can read the ingredient list and when I look them up, I don't find scary as-shit-health impacts like "hormone disruptor" or "immunotoxicity.” Who knows what kind of long term effects the toxins found in most household name-brand products have on our bodies, but I don't want to chance it.

Essential Oils

I want to grow really old and wrinkly with my husband. I don't want my daughters to feel the awful pain of losing me too soon. I want to feel good and run around with my kids and grandkids till I'm 90. I want my girls to be happy and healthy and carefree for as long as possible. And if clearing out the toxic crap we put on and in our bodies can influence this, I'm all in!

For me, this journey started with a starter kit from Young Living. And I am so grateful for that. I want the same for all my friends, family and even the strangers I meet in Starbucks. Sharing about Young Living products came naturally to me because I feel so safe using it on myself and my precious babies. If you’re interested in learning more about my wellness journey, please feel free to reach out!

The 11 Oils Essential To Your Well-being

- Lemon - Use it for cleaning, detoxing, and flavoring your water.

- Digize - Great for supporting all types of tummy troubles.

- Copaiba - Works as an oil magnifier and for muscle support

- Peppermint - Muscle discomfort support, relieves occasional head discomfort, and clears your head.

- Thieves - Supports immunity and purifies the air.

- Frankincense - Calming, great for meditation, skin support, and good enough for baby Jesus.

- Purification - Use for clear skin, outdoor annoyances, and anything stanky.

- Pan away - Keep your joints and muscles happy.

- RC - Use it to breathe easy and for the side effects of germ season.

- Lavender - Great for sleep, skin, and basically everything else.

- Stress Away - Because drinking before noon isn’t always acceptable!

5 Min Read
Culture

Black Wall Street: The Story of One Black American Superhero

Like so many millions across the globe, I deeply mourn the loss of one of our greatest real-life superheroes, Chadwick Boseman. To pay tribute and homage to him, my family rewatched his amazing performance in Black Panther. T'Challa was one of Boseman's most important roles both on and off the screen, as his portrayal of the heroic warrior and leader of the people of Wakanda inspired viewers of all ages.

Re-visiting the futuristic city of Wakanda on screen caused me to reflect on how Blacks in America once had our own version of Wakanda: Black Wall Street. Black Wall Street was the name given to the wealthy, thriving, Tulsa, Oklahoma neighborhood of Greenwood in the early 1900s. The nearly 40 square-block neighborhood had more than 300 businesses and over 1,000 homes, including several stately mansions. Like Wakanda, Black people in Greenwood built their own hospitals, schools, theaters, newspapers, churches, and everything needed for their community to flourish.

Tragically, he lost everything he built, as did the entire district of Greenwood, in the largest, government-sanctioned race massacre in U.S. history.

With only 42 years separating the moment Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and Greenwood's founding, the amazing feat of Blacks building Black Wall Street is something that required supernatural acts of real-life superheroes the likes of which we see onscreen in Black Panther.

One of these real-life superheroes and leaders of Black Wall Street was my great-grandfather A.J. Smitherman, owner and editor of the Tulsa Star. The Tulsa Star was the first daily Black newspaper with national distribution and was a source for Black people to stay informed about issues affecting them throughout the US. A member of the first generation of Blacks born free in the late 1800s, Smitherman attended La Salle and Northwestern Universities. After receiving his law degree, A.J. began his career in community activism, politics, and the newspaper business.

A fearless leader in the Black community not just in Tulsa but throughout the nation, he dedicated his life to empowering his race in all categories of life in every way: morally, economically, physically, and politically. A.J. fiercely and courageously used his newspaper and the power of the press to end a myriad of corrupt operations and develop his community. As one of the most influential founding fathers of Black Wall Street, his contribution and investment in Greenwood was and is immeasurable. Tragically, he lost everything he built, as did the entire district of Greenwood, in the largest, government-sanctioned race massacre in U.S. history.

Unlike Wakanda—the fictional land hidden in the mountains of Africa, mostly invisible to the outside world and protected from foreign threats—Greenwood was exposed. Greenwood was not only visible, but the 11,000 residents and their luxurious lifestyle were a constant reminder to their poor white neighbors across the tracks that Black people had surpassed them in economic empowerment and success. Eventually, the jealousy, greed and contempt for the growing Black economic and political power ignited a horrendously evil act of domestic terrorism by white Tulsans.

A.J. fiercely and courageously used his newspaper and the power of the press to end a myriad of corrupt operations and develop his community.

On May 31st, 1921, thousands systematically looted and burned down Greenwood in a 36 hour-long massacre resulting in the murdering of over 300 Blacks. Thousands more were detained in concentration camps where they remained for months through the freezing Oklahoman winter.

In a recent interview, I was asked what goes through my head when I see the racial unrest taking place today and compare it to what was happening 100 years ago leading up to the Tulsa Massacre. The short answer is that I am incredibly sad. I'm sad for so many reasons. One of the things I am saddest about is knowing that my great-grandfather and great-grandmother sacrificed everything for the betterment and empowerment of their race. And after all of these years, the struggle continues.

I believe that now, more than ever, it is so important to maintain not only our hope but our faith.

A.J. Smitherman's writings in both the Tulsa Star, and thereafter in the Empire Star, a paper he founded later in New York, reveal a man full of hope and ambition to make a difference and contribute to his race and his country as part of the first generation of Blacks born free. He worked tirelessly to this end until the day he died in 1961. Tragically, A.J. died still a fugitive of the state of Oklahoma, having been unjustly indicted by a grand jury for inciting the massacre. This is another point of tremendous pain and grief for me and my family. It is a travesty that he never saw justice in his lifetime, and he furthermore never saw his dream of racial equality.

But perhaps what saddens me most is the fact that I truly believe that in his heart, he still had hope that America was on a path to find its way out of its dark past and into the light of a new dawn. He hoped that the nation would one day become a country where his descendants would no longer be subject to racial hatred, discrimination, and economic disenfranchisement. And I'm certain that he believed the days that Black people would fear being lynched would be long gone by now.

One of the things I am saddest about is knowing that my great-grandfather and great-grandmother sacrificed everything for the betterment and empowerment of their race. And after all of these years, the struggle continues.

I can feel A.J.'s blood in my veins, and I feel a responsibility to carry the torch of the light of hope. I believe that now, more than ever, it is so important to maintain not only our hope but our faith. I'm very grateful for the attention being brought to the legacy of Black Wall Street and A.J. Smitherman. Knowing their story of success and triumph and how it tragically turned to massacre and destruction is vital to insuring history doesn't continue to repeat itself 100 years later.

One thing I know for certain is that building a brighter future will require all of us to summon our own inner superhero, like A.J. Smitherman and Chadwick Boseman before us, and work together to continue to fight for our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.