Between two worlds
In my matric year, one of our English assignments was a creative writing essay. We had a number of topics to choose from and were asked to prep the essay idea beforehand and write the essay in class. It was part of our final year mark and it was the first time in my life that I was captured by writing a story. Turns out, I was pretty good at it because won the creative writing award for that year and had my piece published. When I wrote the piece at 18, it helped me heal and work through some deep, childhood issues and trauma’s and started me on my journey of writing to heal myself. Writing is now part of my daily life and my healing process. Along with these weekly blog’s I write, I also deal with big feelings and hurts by writing letters. These letters are rarely ever read by the person they are addressed to but the writing of them, the expression of my emotions and my perspective is a HUGE part of my processing and healing journey. Even in this very new pregnancy journey, writing love letters to the child I’m knitting together inside of me is an important part of my process. I find writing so cathartic, calming and releasing. More often then not, I end up in tears when I write because I’m much better at expressing my feelings in the written word than speaking them. I sit down to write, get all my feelings and opinions out, have a huge cry and feel cleansed, refreshed and open afterwards. Writing is definitely part of my healing therapy and I am so grateful to have this outlet for all my emotions, big or small, happy or sad, simple or complex.
Today, I’ve chosen to share that very first essay I wrote 17 years ago with you. This is the experience that deeply connected me with writing and began a lifelong journey to heal through expressing my heart.
Between two worlds - Dominique Walker 2003 (17 years old, Northcliff High School)
It was a humid November evening. Sweat drenched my tiny body as I sat in the dark. The family, minus my father, had just come home from church. Dad had been crying and wanted to talk to Mom, alone.
Tom and I were watching “Goof Troop”, and he, like a regular older brother, ordered me to go and fetch him something to drink. I trudged sleepily down the dark passage and into the bar, where Mom and Dad were “talking”. Something in the air told me that there was trouble coming. Maybe it was the absolute silence that descended on the house as soon as I looked at my parents.
My father’s eyes were red and puffy, and for the first time in my life, I saw my mother had been crying.
“Your father has a girlfriend. He’s not going to be living with us anymore. Do you understand?”
She said it gently and slowly so that my ten-year-old brain could absorb the turning-point of my life and try to understand it. I felt a tiny sensation in the pit of my stomach. As the realisation hit me, that tiny sensation turned into a nauseating cramp of understanding. I couldn’t talk. I tried to, but nothing, no sound came out. I felt a tickling in my eyes then all of a sudden my cheeks were soaking.
I ran from the bar and passed my brother on the way.
“What’s wrong this time, Cry-Baby?” he painfully hit me with. I slammed my door in his confused face. My entire world crumbled.
I didn’t see my father for the next month or two and I didn’t think anyone could miss another person as much as I missed my daddy. His absence left a dark, dank hole where my heart used to be. Although I was furious at him and wouldn’t let him talk to me, I still loved him.
I never let anyone see me cry. I thought I had to be the strong one for both my mother and my brother. I didn’t collapse into tears, I didn;t throw angry temper tantrums. I was calm, dry-eyed and in control...until my bedroom door shut at night. When all the lights were out and I was sure my mom was asleep, I broke down. What was wrong with us? Why can’t we be normal? Why can’t we be a family? These three questions became my mantra and every night I’d fall asleep to the sound of my young brain churning for an answer.
As I look back to that excruciating period of my life, I realise that it was the best thing that could have happened to our dilapidated, failing family. It made that ten-year-old little girl grow up very quickly and it made her strong in heart and in mind.
At times, on humid November evenings, when my body is drenched with sweat, I sit in the dark and remember how my life changed that night and how destiny shoved me between two worlds.
After it was published, the school asked me if they could print the essay in the weekly newsletter and I agreed. Once it was out there in the world, so many people came to me, messaged me and reached out to me to comment on my writing, on my story and on my experience. This was when I realised that sharing your experiences and emotions is a very powerful way to connect with others. Being vulnerable and open encourages others to reach out and connect. It brings deeper understanding between humans and shows us that all these big feelings we feel are not unique, we all feel them.
If writing isn’t part of your healing journey, I encourage you to give it a try. Try keeping a journal or writing stories. It brings our such depth of emotion and such vast creativity that maybe you don’t know is there. It facilitates healing, processing and letting go. It brings connection and understanding and is such a powerful way to use your voice and learn to express yourself. Whether anyone else ever reads your words or not, that doesn’t matter. What matters is the telling, the releasing and the letting go.
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