Tue | Jul 7, 2020

Tamaya Henry survives childhood trauma, realises her dreams – Part II

Published:Sunday | June 28, 2020 | 12:15 AMTamara Bailey - Sunday Gleaner writer
Tamaya Henry, a woman of strength and courage.
Tamaya Henry, a woman of strength and courage.

“The big question is, did I make it on TV? Yes, I did! It wasn’t easy. I had to work overtime. I started out at JNN (Jamaica News Network) as a production assistant. Then I blossomed into a news anchor and voice-over talent. The opportunity to produce Morning News for TVJ arose, and I gladly embraced it, and now, I am one of the producers for Jamaica’s number-one morning time programme, Smile Jamaica,” said Tamaya Henry, as she shared how she was able to land one of her dream jobs.

Henry knew that in order to realise her desires, she would have to work hard and move out of her comfort zone - an act of courage that saw her participating in the Miss Jamaica World pageant.

But unfavourable circumstances were not far away, and Henry met upon one which today, she declares her worst.

Even though her mother was never physically in her life, Henry said that she was her reason for living, and her trying circumstances made it all the more difficult for her to watch the woman who gave life to her crumble under the power of mental illness.

“She was in and out of the hospital, which was heartbreaking, and so I was working so hard, hoping that one day, I could help her get her sanity back. But then on January 23, 2020 at about 4 p.m., I was at work when I got a call that changed everything. It’s that one phone call that nobody in this world would ever want to get. It’s the call that I’ll remember forever because that’s how I learned my mother was no longer in the land of the living,” she shared with Family and Religion.


Henry said that it is now the most difficult thing to talk about a mother or be part of any planning concerning the celebration of Mother’s Day.

“I’ve never really lost anyone so close to me before. I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been about four months now since she passed, and sometimes it feels like it was yesterday. Grieving, they say, has no expiry date, and more and more, I am finding that to be true,” she said recently.

Had it not been for her towers of strength, Henry told Family and Religion, she has no idea where she would be.

“… My boyfriend, friends, and my co-workers all came through with the love and support I needed. Had it not been for them, I don’t know where I’d end up. This has solidified a lesson for me, and that is why we need each other. Since then, I’ve been encouraging people around to me to show up for the people they claim they love and don’t disappear and disappoint when it gets rough ... . We all can fly solo - I get that - but we shouldn’t have to.”

Her life has been a constant fight for the favourable and against the unfavourable, using her setbacks as stepping stones and fuelling her drive to be more and do more.

Using her love for writing as therapy for her pain, Henry is not only sharing her life through creative writing for her benefit, but also for those who have similar experiences or who simply need some motivation.

“My most recent publication is called The Reigning Sunflower – Diary of a Sunflower Seed: Poetry about Survival and Growth. The book, which is available on Amazon, is a collection of poetry that spans from self-discovery to living life hopeful of love. The book is a true representation of how the search for intimacy can be a roller-coaster of emotions, dashed hopes, and expectations, especially when awakened desires cannot be satisfied by the one who was thought to be the fulfiller. It gets a little passionate and provocative while I share my striking thoughts of how to truly find oneself and not get lost in love, but to remain hopeful for true love amidst all despair,” said the author.


This woman of worth now has her eyes set on completing her studies in Canada and being the change she wishes to see in the world.

“I’ve recently been accepted to Mount Saint Vincent University in Canada to complete my bachelor of arts degree in communications. I would definitely love to continue my academic journey, but again, financial constraints is a roadblock that I am hoping to cross this time. My aunt has created a Go Fund Me account to help me further my studies as well as I’m trying my best to save towards it.”

She continued: “I’ve also started my second book, which I hope to publish around next year this time as well as I’ve started a new movement called The Sunflower Squad. This movement is made up of women all over the world as we try to breed some of the world’s healthiest and biggest human sunflowers. I may never get to be that army woman or that nurse, but I’m very militant about self-worth, and I will do whatever I can to nurture the minds of every human I come across.”