Can We Be the Natural Healing We Need? In December 1960, with Elvis Presley’s vibrato laden ‘It’s Now or Never’ at number one in the music charts, a girl child was born to a teenaged mother in the Caribbean. This mother being destitute, felt she had no choice but to send her toddler to her aunt, in England to raise, a ‘parcel’ child.
I was that child, in a loveless and what seemed like a perpetually, dark house. There were no demonstrations of affection, no lap to sit in or caregiver reassurances. For sixteen years I lived in fear of my guardian who I believed was my mother. I was criticised for having too much melanin and too many kinks in my hair. There were physical punishments for minor things like accidentally dropping something or not handwashing something clean enough. I was the aloof child and eventually teenager who kept emotions in check and had un-asked questions for everything.
I attended school, came home, went on errands, like going to buy Esso Blue paraffin for the heaters we used then. I had friends but none were allowed to come into my house, and I was not permitted, to go to theirs. I could not argue or voice an opinion, I had to keep my voice and any angst to myself. There was neglect and other abuses that I experienced of which I will not detail here.
An avid reader, I could read when I started infant school. I was particularly good at English and loved to write stories and poems. Through reading I could escape to new places, have new experiences of life, and meet new people. I reserved books at my local library and was addicted to Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys series of books. These characters were brave, had freedom, solved mysteries and foiled crimes and I was right there with them! I also read classics like Mary Poppins, the Famous Five and Encyclopaedia Britannica.
My life would be exciting when I grew up and left the house of darkness, just like the children in the books! Stuff too much melanin, and ‘bad’ hair, I was going to live! That is what I told myself with my hormonally turbulent, adolescent logic.
You may wonder how I functioned, mentally, socially and educationally growing up with childhood trauma.
In fact, I functioned very well in school and believe I performed and felt mentally well most of the time too, relationships were limited to the other girls in the single sex school I attended. I was in friendship groups there and felt I belonged. I enjoyed some nocturnal socialising, on occasions, furtively sneaking out to certain parties and back in again. Lovers Rock was the exquisite vehicle carrying us to intimacy and diminishing our hurts, phew if I had been caught!
Gradually I started to change the narrative about me as an individual from the inside.
So began my rebellion.
My guardian was so wrong, I was not the bad, ugly person, who would not amount to anything, as I was being labelled.
I will succinctly share some details about my ‘natural’ healing journey and overthrow the paradigm that holds, childhood trauma plus professional therapy equals closure or healing, with or without medication. I have never accessed formal counselling and/or therapy but I don’t advocate not seeking it if needed. I grew up in a time where you just got on with it, counselling was not as mainstream as it is now.
Factors that I believe helped me become a fully functioning, empathetic, skilled helper, sometimes introverted human being that loves people, lover of challenge, study and still possessing a very enquiring mind:
- Nature and Outdoors
I loved being outdoors and sensed I was part of a great universe, smells, movement, sounds, colours, variety in nature astounded me. I had questions and promised myself to find out why the sun shone, why it rained, why it snowed. I was immortal and part of the natural environment, there would always be a tomorrow and I became hopeful.
I voraciously read books and comics that interested me, thereby fostering dissonance with my circumstances. I was elsewhere for much of my childhood, in a metaphorical sense.
From books I learnt strategies for problem solving from my fictional characters e.g., how to solve a problem practically and methodically (like young sleuth Nancy Drew).
I learnt vocabulary, communication skills, how emotions affected circumstances and outcomes. It was ok to be upset to be angry, to be confused because everything would turn out positively in the end. There were good and bad adults, there would be winners and losers. There was beauty in nature and a big wide world outside of my dark house!
- Radio and TV
I loved Top of the Pops and was inspired to sing and dance. I listened to music on the radio, I could be Suzy Quatro or one of the Jackson Five, when the music played, I was in the studio or on set! Dissonance again. I learnt rhythm, timing and mimicked what I viewed and heard. I grew to love performance.
Can we be the natural healing we need. I have stated what I believe were my remedies, my salves, balms for my hurts and traumas, my springboards for my rebellion to live, I prescribed these remedies for myself and took them. I knew what felt good and they helped me.
We can explore what we need to be successful in life and business, we are the force of nature necessary to move on, be effective and leave an impact, if we commit. Upon reflection without access or opting into what I did, where would I be today? Nature is more than environment, flora and fauna, we are nature too, a natural entity and you could be the natural healing you need. By opting into creativity, someone else’s or our own we can heal and equip ourselves in serendipitous ways.