Welcome to my climb. Welcome to my journey in finding my voice.
Growing up American with a Jamaican family, the last of ten children, I would often hear "coming from a big family must be awesome.” I would reply “yeah it has its moments.”
...and that it did.
In fact being a teenager seemed like more than a moment. It was years of feeling disconnected, like no one got me, and I didn't belong in my family. I would say I was often misunderstood, and at times beat down when I could not express myself appropriately, or "have manners" as my mom would say. My voice, and the yearning to be heard would often get lost in the yelling and the dysfunction.
At the age of nine, I had the privilege of being a part of a performing arts group that helped me to open up, and most importantly be heard. I was blessed to be led by a woman who not only allowed me and other youth my age to be creative, speak our minds, and be performers--but be heard.
Be heard through our dance.
Be heard through our song.
I found my voice through the arts. In the arts, I found myself giving way to freedom and growth which translated into life-long learning. However, that is not my story--it is merely a piece.
...because it was the suppressing of my voice at home that bellowed on the inside.
Not having a voice in my home turned into a domino effect--like a widespread disease inflicting upon my every relationship and eventually not being able to express myself. All the lessons never taught in my teenage years would eventually spill into my adulthood.
No one told me that though.
Aimlessly, seeking love and validation in people and things. I turned to substances to escape and hide any pain from the past. I was raised in church and I slowly watched myself pursue down a path where I could no longer hear God. My beliefs as a Christian woman, "where art thou?" (chuckle) My faith? Yeah, well faith (shrugs).
Believing that being hypersexual was the equivalent of being a free spirit, I spiraled. I remember believing my world was literally ending because I broke up with my girlfriend--yes, I wanted to be with a woman. I spiraled. Being shameful about sabotaging past relationships, and thinking a man coming back was my chance to do right by him, I spiraled.
Life went on. I remember picking up this really unique thing about life, that thing goes on with or without you. But as it continued--I was being made over, given fresh perspective and realization about little, Chinequia “Neka” Bailey.
It took loving people the wrong way. It took many trials AND error. It took many transitions for me to realize at the age of 30 I forgot about taking care of the little girl inside--I forgot you little Neka. The little Neka who is yearning to have her voice in relationships. The little Neka who always turned to her best friend because she always heard me. She heard me when I decided to "Come Out" and she heard me when I decided to Climb Out. She walked right with me--back into the arms of Thee Creator because that was who I longed for. This was the relationship that required mending.
Since beginning my climb I admitted things to myself I didn’t want to. I stepped out on faith, and I am dismantling and casting out the word fear every day. A wise woman said to me, “you can not claim fear after the water." I will always carry this with me, because giving my life to the Lord was when I truly received my voice. My prayers answered. My cries heard. I realized God was listening all along and that little girl just needed to be nurtured. This little girl lives, breathes, twirls, speaks and laughs through every dance created and performed. Through every script memorized and acted out. Through every woman and youth I can reach. Little Neka is maturing quite well.
For she is proudly Chinequia “Neka” Bailey, an overcomer.
“Life is just a play with no rehearsal” …… (Janelle Monáe) and "The show must go on."