When I was a teenager, I felt so unloved. I had only confided in my Dad that I was seriously suicidal. My home life sucked for a long while. So to balance out my feelings, I wrote poetry.
I tried to imagine what life would be like if I was exposed to or had the opportunity to engage with beautiful things. I imagined what life would feel like if I was loved, if I was valued, and if I was free. I imagine myself in Paris, in Tokyo, far away from the hypersegregation of Chicago. I imagined myself to be in a place where Black humanity mattered and wasn’t constantly under siege. I imagined myself in a place where my Blackness was championed and I had enough. I didn’t have to worry about anything or anyone. That’s what motivated my poetic writings early on. It was like someone gave a valium to Robert Frost. LOL!
… but there was a lot of Gwendolyn Brooks living in my soul. So, I wrote letters to my friends. I felt they were the only people besides my Dad who understood me. Hell, I didn’t understand me. I just always felt this great calling in my chest to be the voice of those who couldn’t speak for themselves. And no one knew this more than my friends. Morally, there is a vein in me that is righteous, no doubt. So I wrote to them when I was bored, when I was angry, when I witnessed unfairness. I pushed all my feelings to the paper and then I distributed it to my friends. Writing my feelings is my love language.
Lastly, as a teenager I wrote love letters to boys who never knew I existed or who found me repulsive because my parents were working class and I was darker than a paper bag. I still wrote beautiful letters. I pushed all my feelings into the paper with my pen. And that’s how I released a lot of my sadness.
Things just spilled onto the paper and then I tucked the papers away. Sometimes it is hard to do these days because after a day of adulting and parenting, I’m tired. So I sit with the sadness. I’m okay until that periodic “big cry’ comes along and I try to escape it, but when it is too late I’m paralyzed by my emotions and cannot write. So I sit with all those heavy emotions inside my head, inside my heart. Sometimes I hold them and coddle them because sometimes that’s all I have left of me. That’s all I can remember of myself in the moment.
Other times, I wait and then I dump them all on a sheet of paper and then toss the paper into the fire place.
I’m looking for a release. Hoping never to be bound and in bondage to my depression and sadness in the future.