Tag Archives: trauma

my sisters hands

hot like they had spent a lifetime sizzling beneath the sun
nails peeling back at the cuticles of her own insecurities
her own beatings
her own twisted memories
shortcomings
in her palms she carried the weight
weight of the pain
weight of the pressure
weight of this world
weight of the wait
waiting for someone to acknowledge her own scars
she chose to inflict them on me
whip after whip
she slapped and she punched
breaking and breaking me
and anyone who got in her way
through her finger tips she grated me
thought she was twisting me into a better molding
more like her and less and less of me
even her knuckles were scolding
let her tell it she experienced worse things
purple, black and blue faded her golden hue
like weapons she used
my sister, she used her hands for giving tattoos
marking her territory
at times she used them for good
from studying to cooking
to clapping to grabbing
to writing and dancing
to creating and shaping
but most memorable to me, for breaking
for bondage
with the same hands she sought to lead me with
she would slap a smile right off of my face
sweat, tears and a mean mug
my own hands trembling
burning with a silent rage
at how I could let my sister touch me that way
little sisters must stay in little sisters place
if only our mothers knew
how i looked myself in the mirror and couldn’t feel the same
so ashamed
tears ablaze
my own hands became rough like sand paper
a crinkling that even lotion couldn’t soothe
my head bowed
bloody and bruised
mushed to the ground
I learned to fear her hands more than her words
those hands
sometimes they would swing
sometimes they would fly
ball up and blow all over me
even with the lights off
those hands always found a way back
I remember a rare moment of peace
once we held our shaking palms to one another
wrist to wrist
and like puzzle pieces they just fit together
It’s like we saw each other in one another
but her pulse flickered electricity into mine
triggers
the trauma
a shocking thought electrocuted me
how could I be my sisters keeper
to laugh and to love her
To help and encourage
to hold and to heal her
a sister who’s hands held secrets of their own
hands used to mislead me
deceive me
to discipline me into a violent room trapped in dark thoughts
hazy with a lack of care
hands I thought that I once needed
they Inflicted such a pain
Such a grief
I lost sight of what there was to gain
We could have been best friends back then
Using those hands for weaving each others hair
We could have been real family
The kind who hugs and holds and shares whatever their hands touch
we could’ve used those hands to hold mics and to sing old jams together
Or from the same bowl we could have eaten together
she could have used those hands to teach me to read
or to point me in the right directions
And although we tried those things later on
It was much too late
damage done
It was never really the same
Engulfed in shame
Low eyes, a razor tongue and a gut full of guilt
And my own unforgiveness to the fact that she used those hands
to strangle my life from my veins
what kind of sister
Could love you and still seek to change your name
And what kind of sister would I be if I didn’t take part of the blame
twisted convictions reshape our perceptions
But those hands they taught me lessons
Cruel cruel lessons
that my sisters hands, fierce as they were
also had big sisters who used hands on her
hands that influenced what she thought her own hands should be made of

The Lamar Odom’s of the World

I’m concerned for the life of Lamar Odom and the perception of what he is going through. Mental health is so stigmatized and ignored that it becomes volcanic in the sense that people rarely pay attention until things have erupted. We have watched this man struggle with traumatic events and drugs for years now. But we’ve ignored a silent cry that our ears haven’t been conditioned to be able to hear.
I hope people aren’t deceived to believe that the drugs are the problem. It’s a by-product of the problem that has been suppressed by himself likely as a result of the culture and disregard for mental health issues in society. Like who does a person turn to? Better yet how do you translate a plethora of feelings and emotions in your mind and communicate that to someone who could potentially help? It’s instances like this that I’m reminded of my passion for bringing awareness to mental health. I want to create a space where people don’t feel alone. Where people can talk and recieve resources. It’s too important. I want to target the youth so that the generations behind me may have better opportunities of dealing with mental health as real and getting the help they deserve.
I told my dream to just a few people. It’s very specific. And I find myself becoming more eager to achieve it. The dream is becoming more detailed and vivid with each story like Lamar Odom’s coming to the surface. Mental health issues are real and can result in the end of someone’s life. I don’t want the world to wait anymore until people die. It’s tough going through anything mentally but there are precautionary actions we can take to help people everyday with their mental health and therapists and prescriptions don’t always have to be the only answer.
I’m dreaming of a substantial change in our culture. A simple smile, compliment, conversation could go a long way. I’m not saying it might work wonders medically but that there’s the potential that if we encourage our society to be more open to one another and make it more acceptable to not be okay sometimes and feel able to express that then we’re making a major step. I asked a guy on the metro “How are you feeling today?” And he looked at me like I was crazy. Like 1. Who actually talks to strangers on the metro? and 2. You care about how I’m doing today? Bizarre. I could tell it took him back a bit and I’m thinking why is this not normal. We have conditioned our people to suppress suppress suppress and get deeper and deeper into ourselves to the point where we have successfully isolated a population of people who are not ok to suffer in silence.
Ah man.

I just want better. I want little black and brown kids like me especially to know that you don’t have to just suck it up. You don’t have to deal with it on your own. You don’t have to be okay all the time. Vulnerability and weakness are not synonymous. There’s hope through each and every hardship. Life does not have to be this spiraling staircase downwards into this dark and scary place where it’s just you. There’s light. And I want to help spread that light.
For my senior capstone I’m a part of a group taking the initiative to teach 3rd-5th grade students about their mental health and stress. Not in a very sciency/serious/complicated way. It’s just teaching them about different emotions and how there are no bad emotions but life is about balancing those emotions and using healthy coping mechanisms throughout your different circumstances. I don’t think I’ve ever done a more important project than this one I’m about to produce. It’s too important. Life is too valuable and too precious to continue to let people suffer and suffer and suffer. Someone has to care. Someone had to do something. It’s too important.