Assétou • Poet and Coach

Assétou is a talented poet and personal coach I was introduced to online by a friend. Their poetry, which explores womxn empowerment and liberation, is moving and powerful. The first time we met in person, I was amazed by their height. At 6’4” they towered over me and I remember thinking they were a literal goddess, which is also how they describe themselves.

Assétou, who was born and raised in Denver, shared that they have spent the majority of their life seeking healing. While the journey has been a long one, after 7 years they are now doing it for others — and still for themselves. Throughout their journey, Assétou learned that the places in their body they most feared were the same places where their power had been locked away. By unlocking those doors, they have uncovered a life much greater, freer, and more fulfilling than they ever thought possible. This discovery has created in them the desire to unlock and unleash this freedom for the world. Especially their Black siblings in Denver.

Assétou is a world traveler, explorer, and their most recent adventure has included wandering hidden gorges and walking barefoot through freezing water in Scotland. In Denver, they can be found working with Black femmes, helping them heal the deep and old wounds that are keeping them from stepping into their innate magic and full selves.

When I asked Assétou to describe Denver in one word they replied, “home.” Keep reading to find out what it means to be Assétou in Denver.

Who are you?

I am a Dark Goddess Healer Poet Witch. I am the dark, I am the void, I am the in-between, the ‘not yet, and the no longer.’ The moment that is neither caterpillar nor butterfly, just the goo in-between, with no one there to trust or fear the becoming. I am Hel, Het-Heru, Nebt-Het, Bast, and Nut. I am a starless night, a planetless galaxy, the largest womb ever known.

What does it mean to be you?

It means to be a vessel for divinity. My purpose on this planet is large. It is international. The message that I have is international. This means I stir things for people often. This means I am a walking trigger. I am a dark-skinned, 6’4″, female-presenting, gender-queer, pansexual, polyamorous womxn. I am everything that modern culture is afraid to see in itself. I am that kind of mirror. Even my lightest footsteps will wake you. I have voyaged to the depths of myself so often that it is easy to see into the shadow and hear what someone is hiding, especially from themselves.

What does it mean to you to be you here?

In Denver? It’s GMO infested soil. Which is to say, it’s unnatural, but it’s home. I still get my nutrients from Denver’s streets. I am watered by the sun showers, lit up by the skyline. This is where I am lost. This is where I am found. It is, especially as of late, my whole world. Perhaps it’s Stockholm syndrome, but I love it here. My friend has this saying, you can either succumb or surrender. So here I am, Denver. This place is not really made for me but makes more space for me than other places in the world would.

What do you love most about living in Denver?

It’s home.

How have your experiences in Denver shaped you?

My experiences in Denver are me. I have lived in other places, traveled the world, but all the stories in other places seem like supporting details. As if they were just the thing I experienced so that I could bring back the knowledge. This is where I first heard Spoken Word. This is where I was molested. This is where I rode my bike 7 miles singing at the top of my lungs with a joy that filled the world. This is where I’ve felt every emotion I’ve ever felt. It is nearly impossible to separate me from this city and I still feel otherworldly and out of place all the time. I don’t mind that feeling. The more outlandish I feel, the more permission I have to be myself. It’s freeing, and heartbreaking, and I’m sort of in love with the tension.