Why did I start writing poetry? Why did I start writing period?
As a young girl, I lived with my mother and grandmother. Before starting school, my time during the work week was divided into two parts: Ma Ma (read Grandma) time during the day and Mommy time after she came home from work. With this type of system in place, it’s easy to understand how closely attached I became to two of the most important women in my life. However, I wasn’t prepared for what would rock my world years down the line.
I always thought that I’d spend the rest of my life in that house with Ma Ma and mommy. We’d always eat fresh, Southern biscuits that my grandmother made from scratch, or watch the Discovery Health channel every morning as my mother and I did faithfully every morning. I knew about Heaven, but I never thought I’d have to worry about it for myself or my leading ladies. However, the rose colored glasses where shattered at the age of 8. My Ma Ma went from walking in pain with arthritis to becoming immobile from the force of Stage IV colon cancer. I couldn’t really conceptualize it: Ma Ma isn’t going to come back from this.
I remember the day my mother told me that my grandmother had left to be with God like it was yesterday. I had spent the night over a friend’s house because the hospital had called my mother in about my Ma Ma. I didn’t know that’d be the last time Ma Ma would exist on this earth alive. I remember shaking my head no, squirming from my mother’s arms, and wailing with a force that even scared myself. I was angry. Confused. Hurt. Grieved in the fact that the Lord had snatched one of my sources of happy away from me. I questioned God for so long and cried harder than I could ever imagine doing. However, in the midst of all of that pain and suffering, I remember picking up a pen and paper before school one morning. I was noticeably withdrawn, crying softly as I wrote. The more I wrote, the more I found myself feeling a lot better. I kept writing until I finished the first poem I ever wrote. A rhyming letter that summed up all of my eight year old feelings into words. That was the day I found myself. That is the day I learned what existed at the intersection of art and healing.
Fast forward over a decade later, my love for writing as not only a means for healing, but also for activism and entrepreneurship, has never burned brighter. I look back on the reason I started to write and chuckle a bit. God took one of the worst moments in my young life, where I questioned Him, cried at Him, and spited His name, and turned it into a passion, or rather a gift, I’ve used to encourage myself, His people, my community and this society.
Looking ahead, it is my prayer that God continues to use me as a vessel to encourage, uplift and incite the social change we all want to see. Writing is not a uni-dimensional excuse to escape reality; it is a gateway to healing, hope, and ultimately, self.