I am a 36 year old woman.
I have been silenced by rape and childhood abuse.
I have tried many times to sing – I have stood up in front of my peers and choked out no song, just tears.
I have beautiful hair – a large wild afro which I’ve always felt too ashamed to let out on show. For years I’ve scraped it back – now it’s going grey.
The military man who abused me told me and my mother we looked like a pair of monkeys one day as she tried to plait it away.
Her silence taught me to swallow my shame.
When I told my mother of the abuse, she howled and said the same had happened to her too.
My grandmother, who grew up in care, reported a similar story – this history is too much to bare.
My sister’s afro hair is dropping out in large clumps.
But mine is here and natural now. The pony tails, tongs and fakery of my 20s has gone.
So here I am, like the child in the school photo from the 1980’s – with a short, wild afro that’s now going grey.
And a voice just starting to find its way…..