I feel like I’d spent a lot of time waiting for Free Your Mind‘s Hear My Voice to get here and then it was all over in a second.
I’d written about how I felt at the prospect of sharing details of my childhood to an audience of strangers. I’d spent time typing up notes in the weeks before, determined that I’d make this a great talk, one I could be proud of. On the train on my way down, I referred to my notes and made some more, allowing my mind to become consumed by thoughts on how it would go and how I could make sure I would remember everything. I didn’t want it to be too structured but at the same time I didn’t want to completely wing it.
Childhood domestic violence is an important subject matter and I wanted to do my own experiences justice.
See, when you’re told from a young age “don’t tell”, the opportunity to do just that is daunting and exciting at the same time.
I was first up, and didn’t really allow myself time to get nervous. I had been allocated twenty minutes but I think I spoke for less than that. I got a little upset at sharing memories of having my ear to my bedroom floor as a child and hearing my mum being beaten up.
When I felt like I’d ran out of things to say, I sat down. I was greeted with applause, warm smiles and loving energy. It was most definitely a safe environment for me to open up and share that little piece of me and my life.
I was inspired massively by the other speakers, Jane Evans, Mizan The Poet, Jerome Harvey Agyei, Pauline Long, Maureen Worrel and Muzvare-Princess Betty Makoni, who all spoke so openly and honestly with conviction. It always amazes me how ‘together’ other survivors look, how they seem to present as ‘normal’ and ‘unfazed’ by what they have been through, no physical sign of any trauma, but then I realise I must look the same.
We were brought together by our experiences. United by strength and love. Family, because that is how it feels. Whether we know each other or not. We see each other. We survived alone but we recover together.
Hear My Voice was powerful on so many levels. Listening to stories and having that connection is incredibly inspiring, and has since given me so much food for thought.
Shout to my gorgeous soul sistah, friend and fellow childhood domestic violence survivor Natasha Benjamin for putting on this great event, inviting us into such a safe space to be open and vulnerable, and creating an environment of love and healing.
Our voices were heard at #HearMyVoice. Let’s keep speaking out against the trauma of childhood domestic violence.
View the event images here.