Today is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Full steam ahead. No slowing on the brakes. Five years older than five years ago.
Welcome to my blog.
If you have read the ‘about‘ page then you will have seen the fun and lovely ways my friends describe me. Notice that strong came first. It is usually how people refer to me after hearing my story.
I have had other labels that I have worked through over time caused by adverse life experiences. Victim and Survivor. Those labels were assigned through the trauma I have experienced in my life. At those times in my life I spent a lot of it as a victim. I survived the incident to be greeted again by the label victim. The first twenty-six years of my life was like a clock pendulum, swaying back and forth, a rhythm that is constant but painful on most strikes. The hands on the clock going in circles, every twenty-four hours. Those hours turned into days, weeks, months and then years. That pendulum was me. And sometimes that pendulum swung victim to victim. There were times that I thought that this was all my life was going to be. That this was all that someone like me deserved. There were times where I had felt that I had no more fight left in me and there were times I could have given up. But I did not and here I type. I was robbed of my purity when I was a child, robbed of my innocence to just be. To just be me and live. And live well.
“The hands on the clock going in circles, every twenty-four hours. Those hours turned into days, weeks, months and then years. That pendulum was me.”
As a Black Woman it has been difficult to navigate the foggy aftermath of my traumatic experiences. Especially when so many spaces around me were not very welcoming to me and my trauma. Nowhere felt like a safe space to express what I had experienced. These spaces were filled with, “Why didn’t you leave?”, “If that were me, I wouldn’t take that!”, “How can you allow that to happen to you!” and “If I was you, I would have…!”. Everywhere that I frequented in my new found freedom was filled with blame. Black Women and Men around me at the time somehow found my experiences to be my own fault. That I somehow chose the things inflicted upon me. The shutdown began from those interactions with my own community. That shutdown feeling where you close yourself off from society and speaking your whole truth. Then, I foolishly braved the eurocentric route. I attempted to seek safe spaces in the majority arena which was a miserable attempt because my trauma was not accepted in those environments either. I dared to sit in front of a white female therapist and spillied my guts. I was met with what I like to call ‘academic empathy’ from this therapist. She displayed all the signs of giving a fuck, to then respond with an opening line of, “We are all responsible for our actions?” Text book empathy can be toxic too. With that, I left and never looked back. I was not about to sit through another session of being blamed for what had happened to me.
So I began to try and do ‘the work’ myself. Which is probably the default characteristic that majority of Black Women have experienced at some point if not all of their lives. The ‘strong Black Woman‘ trope. A level of resilience that was forced upon us from centuries of subjugation. After failed attempts at trying to lean on my community and trying my hand at eurocentric therapy, I was resided to a type of isolation that only a Black Woman reading this would understand. I’m not going to digress into that because I feel many writers have expressed it in many ways. I will just say, that level of lonliness and trying to heal with no support was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to experience. Shutting myself away from everyone and everything felt like the only way. Thank Mother Universe for blessing me with four children to keep fighting for because although my journey has been turbulent, I am glad that I am sitting in front of my laptop doing something that I want to do. This blog is part of the many things I want to do in my life. I just want to live my best life now and do all the things that I dream of.
“The ‘strong Black Woman’ trope. A level of resilience that was forced upon us from years of subjugation”.
Growing up I hardly ever saw any representation of Black Women and Men in leading professional roles, nor did I see proportionate representation in media or beauty as to the community I resided in. I had greats like Trevor Mcdonald, Desmonds, The Real McCoy, Rusty Lee, Diane Louise-Jordan, June Sarpong, Malorie Blackman and a few others. Accept for a short time in East London, I have lived in South London all of my life. Home of the infamous now ‘trendy and up and coming’ towns Brixton and Peckham. I take great comfort from living most of my life in South London. With what’s happening now in regards to racism, I feel blessed to live in a community where so many people look like me. Even though my community is still somewhat reluctant to discuss the hidden harms that are still affecting our communities, I still felt home none the less.
Now in my forties, I feel a sense of appreciation for myself. This appreciation began to grow after beginning therapy again but, this time with a Black therapist who was a Woman. This totally changed the game in my healing journey. To have a therapist who looks like me was a gift that kept on giving. Week after week in my sessions I was making huge progress. I began to journal with the intention of working on myself rather than to journal to vent which I had done for many years. Journaling used to be where I go to let go of steam and say all the things to the people that were hurting me. Now my journal is filled with work that I have done on myself. Intential deep work. Challenging myself to value myself more and to create healthy boundaries to continue to protect my peace. Learning to love myself more has been a rewarding experience. Building my confidence to get this far in writing this first blog is a milestone that I shall be celebrating.
I will be blogging about all the things that have affected me and my community in the hope a Black Girl or Woman finds it useful. Having hope for yourself is a form of loving yourself. I cannot stress that enough.
I am Marcella and I am choosing to believe in myself and my passions. I am no journalist nor am I a professional writer. I just love to write.
“Having hope for yourself is a form of loving yourself”
If you got to the end of this first post, then I thank you for taking time out of your day to read it. I look forward to using this space to continue penning my truths.
By Marcella Pens