I am currently experiencing a lot of things, most of these experiences are positive and moving me in ways that I have never been moved before. Yet, as all this is happening I still wake up in the morning asking myself why I have not disappeared yet? On most days I feel like crying, hoping that each drop aborts the negativity that I feel inside. But I know that it does not work that way.
When I was younger I would pack my bags during summer holidays and would pretend that I was going on a journey. I would pack a blanket, my favourite outfit, a pocket knife (that I “borrowed” from my dad’s office), a notebook, my pencil case filled with gel pens and a cuddly stuffed dog toy. I would then be on the lookout for my parents and siblings and would make sure that nobody would notice me leaving. When I was sure that nobody would know that I was gone, I would sneak out. We lived in a gated community. There were several lanes of houses and I would always enter the second lane and walk till the end of the road where there was a huge brick wall. I would lay out my blanket and sit under a tree and wait. I would wait for someone to come looking for me. Sometimes I would cry under the tree, but still, nobody came. Nobody ever came. At one point I would wait and hope that I would somehow disappear. Other times I would wish for a hero to come along. I was 12 years old.
My hero came in the form of writing. There were these sentences that would form in my head and I would write them down. The things that were all around me suddenly could speak to me through writing. Like the sunflowers that were growing in our garden suddenly became children of a mother that called her children sunflowers that woke at sunrise and fell asleep as the sunset.
Writing has brought me to connect with so many wonderful people. And I am so grateful for this, even if my depression can’t be written away.
One very impactful meeting in my life happened last night. As some of you know in September I will start a creative writing program. Last night, I had dinner with Professor Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and he wished me luck on my writing journey and he also shared a lot of wisdom with me. He spoke about how the core of bullying lies in the act of making the victim hate something about their body. When the bully makes the victim hate a part of their body, that part of the body then becomes an internal weapon of self-destruction. As the bully turns one’s body against oneself.
I feel like my body is a self-harming weapon because of how parts of myself have been criticised in the past. Like the fact that I did not have a mother made me a rotten child, a child with no manners, A child without a backbone, I think that’s why I always hope to fit in and to be liked. Its like I stretch myself and mould my body into an unholdable posture and try to hold on for so long even when it is no longer good for me to hold on. As a child, I was seeking attention, because I was ignored a lot. That’s why I would disappear and wait for someone to notice. When I would cry or self-harm my guardians would say “You just want attention, well guess what we don’t care, and you will not get attention from us”.
Starting a GoFundMe and performing my poetry has really shown me the wounds that this body that is fighting against itself has inflicted. I am truly grateful to everyone that has shown and is showing me love and attention. Yet, I also feel how this body is still fighting against itself. I have so many weapons in me that I must destroy and turn into instruments of love and healing.
Maybe all these moves and changes will give me the superpower to turn knives into flowers and become my own hero for a while.