u-turn 25 birthday

I felt my voice had been muted when I was admitted to a psychiatric ward during the level five COVID lockdown, as government restrictions did not allow for visitors.

My poetry was born in these moments despite having written a few poems before then. It felt like I was experiencing a rebirth of creativity. 

My pen literally danced over the paper as I carefully choreographed my thoughts as if I were speaking to my best friend and confidant.  I felt safe to be vulnerable. Even though my paper was feather light, it could carry the weight of my emotions. 

In the midst of applying for work, writing business proposals and fighting homelessness, I created an online magazine as a prototype. In the editorial, I wrote about my flaws as a virtual candle lit in memory of all those in the media industry who had lost their jobs during COVID.

I was excited during my assessment at U-turn that we were divided into groups and tasked with writing a poem. When referred by the night shelter social worker to U-turn, I went through two screening processes,  an interview and then an assessment during the group activity. 

As a Champion in the Phase 3 Work-readiness programme, I wrote poems, when creativity knocked  on the door of my mind after work.

Before joining our communications team, I shared with my manager that spelling and grammar constituted my Achilles’ heel. She reassured me that the best writers sometimes deal with the same challenges.

I’m currently on a journalism and content writing mentorship. Every week, I’m guided like threads drawn in embroidery to remove the complexity of writing and create a beautiful work of art.

I love writing and it feels as if I am learning more about my companion. As my pen caresses the paper, it feels as if I am speaking to my best friend and confidant;  whatever I share, there is no shock or judgement.

My love for writing started as a child, or maybe even in my formative years like most toddlers, scribbling on my mom’s valuable books and thinking I was a well-published author like the books that I loved.

At school, my writing was illegible to camouflage my Achilles’ heel. My teachers would write in large red letters, “your writing please!” My essays bled with spelling and grammar corrections. 

Navigating my way through a difficult childhood, my diary kept my lamentations under lock and key. On a lighter note, I would write to my great aunt who lived in England, sharing the latest news like the family newspaper. If I skipped a month she would phone my grandparents to say that she missed my letters.

 On my journey of healing, I find solace in writing.

 In closing, I share the last few lines of  a poem written while I was a Champion , “Self confidence where have you gone.”.

“I will hold you secure in my heart like Fort Knox.

You are a gift from God that is irrevocable.

You are woven in my DNA like a sailor’s knot.

Like the Mona Lisa to Da Vinci, you will always be part of me.

Never again will I lose you.

I will not throw you away,

And I will be richly rewarded for it.”