Hey. so, this topic is close to my heart and a very sensitive one for me, so I’ll skip the pleasantries and get straight to the point.
About 14 years ago, I watched a documentary at NAFTI (film school), titled RIZE! It was a documentary of some young people growing up in the South Central side of LA (USA). These young people used dance as a form of expression to communicate whatever emotions they were going through, their struggles and the process of growing up in that part of the world. A lot of the emotions expressed were anger, anxiety, and pain. The dance moves were very aggressive and fast. They called it “crumping”.
After watching that documentary, I was very reflective for weeks. These were people I didn’t know or had any idea existed, but someway, somehow I felt a deep connection with each of them! I even felt that those young people expressed my exact sentiments at the time, through their dance. Those were tough times for me because I was going through my own issues at the time. I had discussions about the documentary with some of my classmates and friends then, but purely from a film perspective (artistic and technical components of the documentary). No one knew how deeply affected I was by the film.
Today, I happened to chance on RIZE as I was flipping through channels looking for something to watch. I am still watching it as I write this post. And those very emotions I felt the first time I watched it, came back! This time stronger and more intense! Yes, I feel anger, anxiety and a lot of pain as I write.
I am feeling these emotions because I have been through so much, psychologically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, socially and financially! There is so much stigmatization to most of the things I have been through, that it has been hard for me to openly talk about them. But like I said in my previous posts, some of my blog posts will be about these “unspeakable topics”!
I was born out of wedlock and thus did not grow up in a typical “family” setting. Despite this, I was, I am and always will be loved by both my parents and my family. They did an awesome job with me! At 8 years, a war broke out in Liberia where I was born! I saw and experienced things that were too heavy for any child to see or experience. My family and I had to flee from Monrovia so as not to end up dead! We experienced hunger or not enough to eat for days, we dodged flying bullets and my brother was almost taken from us to join a rebel faction, but for God! I saw too many dead people than believe I should have! I had nightmares till I was 12! But I told no one, until now!
Fortunately, my love for reading which my father cultivated in me, was what took me through those times. I read the Bible from cover to cover, twice! I did not understand what I read, but I read them as stories and poems. Maybe that is where my love for poetry comes from! I read a lot of history books, myths, and legends, and anything I could lay my hands on at the time. I believe my love for fairytales, fantasy and romance came from those! Lol.
Later in my mid-20s, I got pregnant out of wedlock, which was not how I planned my life to go. In all honesty, no one ever said anything to my face or point an accusing finger at me. But you know, unplanned, out of wedlock pregnancies are not things that people are proud about, so it was giving that I felt shame. Mostly, it was the disappointment I felt at myself that was the heaviest burden I carried. However, after 24+ hours of labor, when my daughter was placed in my arms, I knew I’d do it all over again even if I had a chance to undo it! She is one of my greatest blessings!! 🙂
There are some other things I have gone through, that I am not ready to share yet, which have affected me. The most recent one I have already written a post about. And like those young people in the documentary, RIZE, I needed an outlet to express myself. But since I am not blessed with “crumping” skills, and I have not met with nor do I have the luxury or means to meet with a shrink, blogging has become my therapy! I chose to share instead of “bottling up”! When shaken, that bottle can explode from the pressure, if you think I’m lying, ask a coke bottle. Lol.
Trust me, not all my stories are bleak and grim. In fact, the ones above all have good endings. Lessons were learned, they have made me the strong and resilient woman, I believe I have become. Now that I have shared, the credits on RIZE has rolled, and I’m coming to the end of my post, those emotions I felt at the beginning are all gone! In their place, I feel free and comfortable with the fact that, I am able to share my stories.