• Michaëlle Martial

Poetry Set me Free

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

The year is 2016.

Tomorrow, at the Thanksgiving table, I want my gratitude speech to be a little bit more than the usual “I am thankful for my family” one. This year, I want to tell my three living children that I had mustered enough courage this year to follow through with my goal of self-publishing my very first book of poetry. After all, I had spent the last 5 years writing. I was going to call the book, "The Nightingale’s New Song: A Black Woman’s Poetic Notes". Ultimately, I wanted to triumph over fear. As a Black woman immigrant in the US whose primary language was not English, I experienced daily many internal struggles based on fear. I was telling myself various narratives that did nothing but hold me back. I had almost convinced myself that I would never be good enough to be a writer, especially in a foreign language.

The time has come to let go of my fear of sharing with the world some intimate feelings and painful memories of my youngest child’s death, as well as my past experience with divorce, domestic abuse, and other trauma.

Earlier this year (January 2016), I started receiving treatment for sleep apnea, only a few weeks after my diagnosis. The results of using a CPAP machine at bed time were almost immediate. It’s amazing how something as seemingly small as sleep can have so much effect on our well-being. Growing up, I was the 8-hour sleep child in the family. But since I left my home in Haiti to come to college in the western United States, a restful sleep had started to become less and less regular for me, even more so after I had given birth to my first child.

Shortly after I began the use of the CPAP machine this year, I found that sleeping a good 8 hours was once again achievable. I was not dozing off in the middle of the day anymore. My state of depression was gradually decreasing. My PTSD induced anxiety and panic attacks were becoming less and less frequent. My elevated blood pressure currently being managed by medication and that had started during my last pregnancy, which had resulted in the premature delivery (by 3 months) of my late daughter, was finally stabilizing.

With this newly improved sleeping bliss, I could now have the concentration I previously lacked to fulfill my daily tasks at work and at home on a consistent basis. I was even able to regularly attend a 3-month long preparation course for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). A few months later, I jumped for joy when I passed the grueling 4-5 hour long LSAT test on my first try. However, having been able to tap into my own personal energy once again, I kept feeling that there was something I needed to do before I can fully engage in any further academic endeavor. My heart needed to heal. My story needed to be told. Someone out there needed to hear my story.

Thanksgiving 2016 will be the year I sit at the dinner table with my 3 living children (and our new kitty) and tell them that their mother who has been single-parenting them for the past 5 years was grateful that her dream of becoming an author had come true, at last.

Today, on Thanksgiving 2016, I am grateful to God for becoming the Caribbean Nightingale Poet. I am most thankful that I can finally tell my beautiful children, as well as the whole world how Poetry has set me free.

#Poetry #WomenEmpowerment #CaribbeanNightingalePoet

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