I grew up Pentecostal. If you know, you know. Church 5 days a week and twice on Sundays wasn’t so bad. Abusive mother who was abused by her mother. Father busy working to provide for a household of 8 and we barely got by but we scraped and I had rice in my belly most days. Still, I wrote “I want to kill myself” at the age of 8 inside book covers I thought no one would see. At 14 I met the man who would break my nose, my heart, and give me one of the greatest gifts of my life in my first born child. I was two months into my 17th year when I had her. At 19, I had another child by another man. At 20, I aborted a child I’ll never get to know. At 21, I had a miscarriage one day before my second scheduled abortion. At 22, another unknown child slipped from my womb and at 23, I gave birth to my last child who would 13 years later, attempt to take her own life.


I keep revisiting the past

As if there’s a missing lesson

I’ve not yet learned

And maybe there is


I just want to understand more

Especially more of myself


I’ve always had a knowing about certain things. But I admit, there have been times when I’ve felt I know nothing at all.


I knew when I was getting abused at 15 by a man 5 years my senior that there was more. That this wasn’t what my life would end up like. So I left. It took several attempts but I was finally able to cut off romantic connection with an abuser who manipulated my adolescent innocence. I wasn’t a virgin but I was extremely naive to things of the world. Naive to love and what it meant. Having not received that in a pure and nurturing way from my parents. Who through and because of their own traumas, were unable to show, do, and be that which they had never seen done before.


Functionality. What is that?


But you know, a girl has to survive in these human streets. Men with pretty words promising passionate love with fire that would be snuffed by the relinquishing of what was in between my legs.


I learned then. It had power.


And I used it. To exact the love I wanted.


And then one man offered me more. And I bit the chomp. My reign had finally arrived. Queen of the castle. Except, I wasn’t. A peasant by some standards but in his eyes, I was a queen. But he had a queen and I ended up robbing the kingdom blind. She didn’t see it coming but when it came, eyes were opened so that he who has eyes, could see.


I lived in purgatory. One of my own making; wrestling with guilt and shame.


And here I am again. But I’m getting too far ahead and there are some more babies in this story. Some lost.

Some living. Some almost lost while living which made me question my entire existence.


And there have been years of plenty but my years of leanness still outweigh them.


And I’m left wondering…


What is real?

What is God?

What is man?

What am I?

That such a power would be mindful of me?


But as an artist now, one who creates and shapes things into visual existence that did not exist there before, I get it.


The expressions of my hand, of my heart, are extensions of me. I want them to be known, to be seen, to be revered as work of art but I know as an artist now, that even if no one else receives them, they are mine. And I love them.




1 comment on “A Journey to Understanding

  1. The journey of a soul that’s seen so much bears the burden of the sun.

    My reflection in reading your piece and getting to know you brings me joy and sorrow. I know that we are shaped by our history and our life events. At an early age, we start to put things in boxes. We shelve those thoughts for a different time, day, month and or year. Only able and willing to open when you want to. I am proud of you. Proud of you for so many reasons.
    Bless your soul.
    Brian Hearns

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