“With time, the leaves of her life-tree floating restlessly in the spectrum of ambiguity finally rested and hope found its way to her heart. No more, the gravity of his voice alarmed her, no more the darkness reserved her sobs, she had found her way to the light, in the middle of several gloomy nights.
Summoned by peace each time, she felt herself; unfurled, in-between uneven corners of perfectly orchestrated bruises, the strength divine, no wonder why, he could never touch the fabric of her prismatic soul…”
Meet Dr. Darnella Yancie, a 53-year-old mother of one. She has a 35-year-old son and 2 grandsons, she is the youngest in her lot of 12. After being in the Caribbean for 2 years, she came back to the US to complete her clinical medical. Currently, she is preparing for her residency.
“My mom died when I was 6 years old and I was raised single-handedly by my dad. I was so young, I could barely understand my mom’s ordeal, what happened to her and why. Life, that is lived in melancholy, offers you a lot to mull over. Secretly, I had wished to become a Primary Care Physician, so, I could save other children from losing their mothers. My days were unusually dark, unlike other kids, there was so much pain, confusion, agony. After my mother was gone, one of my elder brothers started molesting me. I hated him and began to hate myself as well. I felt awfully dejected, unhappy and without hope. Even though, I was very close to my dad, I could not bring myself to tell him as he was the only one I had. He was the only world I had seen or had mattered at that time, so I kept the abuse to myself, hidden in the abyss of my soul.”
While growing up, people often called Dr. Darnella “the little mean girl”, it wasn’t because she was mean, but because she had never really tasted love, she had never felt its warmth, never embraced it enough to offer in return. “I became a single mom at 18 and at that point I thought my future is over, however, my dad who was a best friend to me assured me that I could do anything. He said things happen, but don’t let it happen again. I heard him very closely and never had another child. My dad told me just because I had a newborn I still needed to work. I got a job waiting tables for $1.66 an hour at Denny’s. I worked 11 PM to 7 AM and went to school part-time in the morning. When my son was about 2 years, I got into an abusive relationship with a man who was 23 years older than me, and for the next 11 years I lived in fear. I faced physical and verbal abuse on a daily basis. I didn’t know how to get away. I couldn’t study, so, I just worked odd jobs.”
“She took ownership of her life and turned everything back into raw and fluid. That sense of control gave her ground enough to change situations or at least better them. That night was brave and powerful, even as sweat dribbled from her forehead, blood from the corners of her lips, and fingers were finding their strength, she picked up torn pieces of paper he threw at her face and managed to write
“I AM” in Bold!!”
Our deepest wounds are a major benefactor in creating resilience in us. The cracks that follow, question our sense of being and make us look for alternate reality. “I remember a summer when my son was getting ready to turn 12, this older man was stalking me. He purchased my son a video player and because I didn’t want to deal with him anymore he wanted the game system back. One day, he just stood in front of my car and my 11-year-old child said, “Hit him mom, just kill him”. All I could manage to do was cry and I said to my son, “Baby, we can’t kill people.” I knew, that very moment, I had to get away from this man. I would have never wanted my son to destroy his life because of me. My son was hurt and tired of his mom being abused. So, I applied to a school in Atlanta, and by late summer, I was in Georgia. I had $40.00 and one month rent. I had to find a job right away, because I had no clue how I would pay my rent next month.
I went to college in 1994 and took it as an opportunity to achieve my goal. I wanted to be in the healthcare field so I could help people. During college, I got married and my husband was in the construction business. While I was in school my husband had several affairs. I was so disrespected by him. Women came to my house and called my phone. It was a nightmare, I ended up leaving school. I just couldn’t focus. I came back home to work on my marriage which was a complete waste of time.”
Being a single mother is never easy. Imagine yourself bitterly squashed between myriad emotions that literally take a toll on you and your kid, imagine being constantly validated for your parenting, even when you never asked for it. There are times when you become averse to your own happiness and resentment sets in… You don’t realize, how in this process, you end up passing the poison to your little one…You count the challenges that hit you head-on, when the actual courage lies in how you respond to them. “Because, I was a single mother and most of my friends were. I saw a lot of disrespect towards young boys, maybe, due to the pressure of raising the child alone or the anger that women had towards the fathers. I saw them call their young boy dumb, stupid, or, tell them to shut up. I watched these little boys gradually destroy. Their passion for life was wilting away. These young boys were scared, their soul was crushed. I saw moms manipulate the fathers by using their son as a tool. I wondered, how can that child ever grow up and be productive when he is starting with Self-Doubt and low Self-Esteem?
I always encouraged my son, told him that I believed in him and he could do whatever he wanted to do in life. Till date, I never put him down. Once, my son sent me a text message thanking me for all I did for him, for always being there for him and it brought me to tears. After that, he sent a few more and it was then, when, I decided to create ‘Always Protect Your King’. I feel, the men are kings even as little boys and it is our duty as parents to ensure that they develop into the best king they can be. I want to help teach women raise kings. I want to help them work through the pain of raising a child alone. I want to help fix those broken little boys that have been damaged so far. I want to have workshops and training sessions to teach women how to interact with them so they can be a positive influence on their sons.”
There comes a point in everyone’s life, when, all that matters is the purpose, the reasoning, the realization, it’s that moment when you become one with yourself, inhibitions die, chaos leaves you, and there is no space for any disagreement. Never rent this point in your life to sorrow or grief, to anger or pride, to disbelief or ingratitude…Maybe, this was exactly how you were penned to be. “I truly believe in myself and I know I didn’t come this far to be dropped off. Therefore, I know if I put in hard work, I will get positive results. I know a door will open for me to get a residency. I have always listened to the voice inside of me even in my darkest times. That voice has carried me. I have not gotten to where I want to go, but I am a lot closer. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for me to get a residency, I will not give up. I want to work at a global health level, because, I want to touch under-served areas. I know I am on this earth to give back. The pain I endured was for a reason. I know there is no testimony without a test. There is way more road behind me today, than, in front of me.”
Painting the canvas of your life, always remember, you are the one holding the brush, what you choose to draw is who you really are…
Writer’s Note: Thank you Christmas Miller for introducing me to Dr. Darnella Yancie.