I was eleven years old, my mom was away and I was living with relatives. I was in the care of someone who loved me dearly, and always treated me kindly but there was no real direction or guidance. There were two other people who had different roles in my care taking; one for school related issues and the other for what I would call etiquette and life lessons. To me, these two were one in the same and now, looking back I don't really get their perspective on things nor do I agree with their way of doing things. As an eleven year old I had a very inquisitive mind. I read countless amounts of books and I was also a dreamer. So, what I could not get from books or from myself, I would seek from the adults around me. I think the younger generation of Caribbean kids can be my witness when I say that asking certain questions to certain people will get you into trouble. My question to my loving care giver was about babies, not where they came from but what was it like to be pregnant? How did it feel? Was it painful? In today's world that question is normal, back then when I asked, it sent everyone into an uproar. They wanted to know why was I asking such a question? What could I possibly do with that answer? Was I thinking about having a baby? Was I thinking about sex? WHY WOULD I BE ASKING ABOUT PREGNANCY? I was met with such hostility, anger, belittling and sarcasm that I no longer wanted to ask anyone anything about anything. Following my question fiasco I literally felt like I had a scarlet letter on my face. I was treated as though I were this wild, boy crazy prisoner who at a moment's notice would just lay down with a man, have unprotected sex and be pregnant. Yea, that was he beginning of my love affair with poetry. It was the only thing that I could do that would allow me to escape from the harsh words, shady attitudes and the deep loneliness that I had inside of me.
The years progressed and although I was reunited with my mother, I still never overcame my sense of isolation. I longed for my friends who always made me laugh and feel better. The fact that these friends were boys made my mother nervous and suspicious andnever wanted me to talk to them too much because after all, talking leads to pregnancy... My relationship with my mother grew into something volatile, unhealthy and a desire for me to leave and never return. It was based on a lot of speculation from her part and a lot of lying on my part because I didn't want to be in trouble, yet again. There were never any loving sit downs or actual questions of what was wrong, but just endless name calling, accusations, put downs and no place for me as a person to live. What I needed at that time, and really from the time I was 11 years old was someone to trust. Given the question fiasco and several other adults who claimed they were trustworthy but turned out to be absolute liars and any trust I had was all gone. No one was worthy of my trust. My trust had died and the only thing that kept me going was writing poetry.
Flash forward to the present and I am clear that some issues have gotten handled and others not so much. I now have mastery over asking questions. I will ask anybody anything about any topic, no one will ever be able to silence that again. On the flip side, my issues with trust and internalizing are still being worked out. I am clear that my mom did what she thought was best. I am sure these other adults in my life did what they thought was best as well. However, thinking about that really does not solve my issues. What I am constantly working on is MYSELF. I am constantly battling issues of isolation and trust. I am very trustworthy, I am the keeper of many secrets for a lot of people. I take trust very seriously but I do not think that I have been truly trusting with more than two people in my whole life. Trust goes hand in hand with vulnerability. In order for me to bring myself to TRUST someone I have to be willing to be vulnerable with them and that is something that I am working on diligently. In order for me to be as authentic as possible, I must be willing to put it all on the table. The biggest thing that I have to keep telling myself is that I am safe. I AM SAFE. I stopped feeling safe when I was 11. I stopped feeling protected when I had do defend my innocent questions against people's perverted minds. I had to fend for myself and protect myself so I withdrew and I hid behind my poems and I built walls around myself so high that even right now I am still processing what I did. Trust and vulnerability is about feeling safe.
As a life coach, not only is it my mission but it is my DUTY to ensure that my clients feel safe. They come to me for answers but in order for us to unlock those answers we must dig and digging can reveal some nasty wounds. Once people crack those wounds open, the tears come because the unleashing of the original hurt is fresh. I myself, even now typing this my tears flow because I still have some healing to do. I have to keep reminding myself that I AM SAFE. Not only am I safe but I am protected. I am protected because I can say what is so for me. I can say that I closed myself off as a child and continued building walls because I did not want anyone to get close enough to hurt me. I also realize that by keeping people at a distance that I am not allowing them to see a very young, hurt me, vulnerable me, I entombed my little 11 year old self inside of these enormous, stone walls, barricaded by steel, barbed wire and every thing else because I was protecting myself. In 2012 and all the other years to come I am committed to giving myself the space and opportunity to heal by allowing people to see me.