Indianapolis life coach launches first emotional well-being app for and by women of color – IndyStar

Posted: September 17, 2020 at 12:54 am


without comments

Yoga studios, which are often hands-on, have had to make adaptations during the time of coronavirus fears, moving their classes online out of need. Indianapolis Star

As protests in response to George Floyd's death continued, Katara McCartys social media feeds were saturated with images and videos of police brutality.

It was like a brick on my chest, she said. Its my people. Its my family. It was traumatic to see those images and videos of Black lives being lost.

Soon after, McCarty was watching a live webinar, listening to Black leaders discuss how to respond toincidents of police brutality. One person spoke up, telling the audience they had to stop waiting for the government to show up to support them.

We have to show up for each other, they told listeners.

McCarty cried at their words. She re-watched the webinar until 1 a.m. before laying in bed, crying untilshe fell asleep. For weeks afterward, she asked herself what she could do to show up for her community.

Her answer came in an idea for an emotional well-being app called Exhale.

Life coach Katara McCarty launched Exhale, the first emotional well-being app for and by Black women. The app, which launched Aug. 25, offers content tailored to women of color to promote self-care, mindfulness and rest.(Photo: Provided by Katara McCarty)

Black, Indigenous, women of color are some of the most marginalized people in our society, McCarty said. What if I could create an emotional well-being app catered towards them?

Using her skills as a life coach in Indianapolis, McCarty,created the first emotional well-being app for and by Black women. The app, which launched Aug. 25, offers content tailored to women of color to promote self-care, mindfulness and rest.

The app came from a place of grieving, she said. It came from a place where I at times felt hopeless for my community. I wanted to lift some of the burden that we as a Black community are collectively feeling.

An avid user of meditation apps, McCarty felt disconnected from the apps she was using that didnt feel relevant to her experiences as a Black woman. Most of the apps she used were created by white people and didnt include otherperspectives.

I felt lost all of a sudden, she said. Because of what I was going through and what my community was going through, it felt like the apps were just out of touch with my experiences.

This disconnect is because women of color have different emotional needs, McCarty said. She said women of color, especially queer and transgender women, disproportionately face systems of oppression that harm their bodies and minds yet also have reduced access to mental health care and life coaching.

We carry a lot as Black, Indigenous, women of color, she said. We go unseen. Systems of oppression have caused us to be at the bottom of the barrel. We get left out of spaces and narratives. We are the most devalued people in society, and I wanted to create a space for us.

As a Black woman, McCarty has faced her own racial trauma from a young age, and she realized early in life that the color of her skin mattered.

McCarty is biracial. Her white mother left her at the hospital in 1972 before she was adopted by a Black woman.

Ive lived with that my whole life, she said. As a young child, I felt like I was too much of something to be loved by my white mother, that I was too Black for her and her family.

In first grade, McCarty made friends with a white girl in her class, who returned the next day to tell her they couldnt be friends because she was Black. Navigating life as a biracial Black woman also posed challenges, she said, and she often felt she wasnt Black enough. In her work life, she faced microaggressions and people who saw her as less of a leader because of the color of her skin.

From the time I can remember, I felt like I didnt belong fully, she said. I felt othered very early. That takes a toll on you.

Life coach Katara McCarty launched Exhale, the first emotional well-being app for and by women of color. The app, which launched Aug. 25, offers content tailored to women of color to promote self-care, mindfulness and rest.(Photo: Provided by Katara McCarty)

But her turning point came as she laid in the hospital just after giving birth to her first daughter. As she stroked her daughters face, nose and hands, she realized she had to process her own trauma.

It wasnt until I held her sweet little body in my arms that I realized I had to process what Id gone through to be better for her, she said. To be better for us.

So she turned to church, a life coach and therapy to process her experiences, slowly building a tool belt for managing her racial trauma.

Now I want to do the same for other Black, Indigenous, women of color, to give them tools for their own tool belts, she said.

In May, she started piecing together resources she gave her clients and writing guided meditations. Through the summer, she spent her days writing and researching from her patio and many evenings attending Black Lives Matter protests. She recorded audio from her closet, sometimes staying up until 1 a.m.

When the app finally went live Aug. 25, she messaged her biological father, whom she met for the first time a year ago.

Your ancestors are proud, he told her.

The app, called Exhale, includes five categories of well-being practice: guided meditations, coaching talks, daily affirmations, guided visualizations and breathwork exercises. In her coaching talks and daily affirmations, McCarty speaks directly to women of colorand the issues they face.

One meditation centers around microaggressions and begins by defining microaggressions, offering examples and giving the user time to identify which microaggressions they have faced.

I talk about us, our needs, our pain, our grief, our joy, our power, she said. I want people to feel seen and heard and connected, to see that there is a collective of us and that theyre not alone in their worries and fears and traumas.

Life coach Katara McCarty launched EXHALE, the first emotional well-being app for and by Black women. The app, which launched Aug. 25, offers content tailored to women of color to promote self-care, mindfulness and rest.(Photo: Provided by Katara McCarty)

McCarty said wellness spaces are often white-dominated and spaces catered toward women of color are rare. When women of color walk into white-dominated spaces, McCarty said parts of their experiences arent seen or taken into consideration. As a result, it can be difficult for women of color to feel they fully belong to white-dominated wellness groups.

When I show up as a Black woman to these spaces, it feels like theres a big part of me that isnt recognized, she said. Theres a part of me that I have to hang up at the door because I cant always feel like I can bring my Blackness into that space.

McCarty said George Floyds final words I cant breathe have stuck with her since she first watched the video of his death. For her, it is a somber reflection of the reality Black people have faced for decades. It also helped inspire the name of her app.

We havent been able to breathe for 400 years, she said. As Black people, were always holding our breath, holding our breath for the next viral video of police brutality, holding our breath for the call about our son or daughter. I just want people to be able to take a moment and just breathe and exhale.

Exhale is free for download on the App Store and Google Play. While some features require a $4.99 per month subscription, McCarty decided to make the entire app free at least until Sept. 30 following Jacob Blakes shooting shortly before the apps launch. To learn more about the app, visit McCartys website.

Contact Pulliam Fellow Christine Fernando at cfernando@gannett.com.

Read or Share this story: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/health/2020/09/10/indianapolis-woman-launches-emotional-well-being-app-exhale-women-color/5714522002/

See the original post:
Indianapolis life coach launches first emotional well-being app for and by women of color - IndyStar

Related Post

Written by admin |

September 17th, 2020 at 12:54 am

Posted in Life Coaching