Denise Nicholson: 'Se-lah When Mommy Left for Farin'
Overcoming the constant psychological trauma that followed her molestation decades ago, was difficult for first-time author Denise Nicholson.
She was just four years old when the abuse took place. Her mother had migrated to the United States of America in search of a better life and her father had passed away. For years, she unknowingly struggled with depression, often bursting into tears for what seemed to be no apparent reason. But eventually, she tackled her demons in an effort to defeat her past. Now she has made it her lifelong mission to empower others who share similar experiences.
Se-lah: When Mommy Left for Farin is her debut novel. It chronicles the true-life stories of nine women biologically related or connected by friendship who carry the same symptomatic wound as Nicholson.
The book goes on a tour of the childhood memories, where each character relives the tale of becoming a woman too soon. It explores their world of incest, rape, child abuse, feelings of abandonment, abortion, miscarriage and mental health disorders.
"I want women to understand that even though they may have gone through an experience that is unique to them, these situations form a universal issue that women everywhere face and there is no need for them to feel guilty," she passionately explained to Outlook.
"My job is to tell women to get healing. Find someone to talk to. It doesn't have to be a professional therapist, but someone who you trust. This is where your help will come from. Some won't be able to give you the advice that you need, however, they'll give a listening ear," she added.
At 16 years old, she followed in her mother's footsteps. She is still living in the US and she is inspired beyond measures to women. It comes from learning of sisters experiences who were also molested. Each lived at separate locations but all four were troubled by various family members who they looked to for protection. Additionally, listening the horror stories of other victims as she practised her professionas a nurse, she often gave a helping hand.
"I was a hairstylist before I became a nurse and I heard many different stories of women and when I went in the medical field, I realised that many have the same issues. I started to see that these women felt that something was missing in their lives because of what they went through. Some even carried pain and could not realise what was happening and most of them started when their mothers migrated," the creative explained.
Nicholson's healing saved her marriage which was deeply scarred by the trauma she was faced with, so she decided penning a book would help others heal became Nicholson's mandate.
A little over a year ago she started the process. Now it's completed and her book was launched at Bookophilia in Kingston last Thursday, finally accomplishing her childhood dream of becoming a writer.
The dreadful encounter has inspired her in many ways including the formation of Knitted Together, an organisation that specialises in healing through therapeutic storytelling and empowerment programmes.
Thinking back on the pain she felt over the years and to change her mindset, Nicholson wishes to tell victims of trauma that it is possible for you to pick up the pieces and lead a worthwhile and meaningful life.
She said as said as tears caressed her cheeks: "I was brought up not to expect too much. But I learnt through reading that you can be anything you want to be and all you have to do is work on it and pray deep prayers and God will answer it, And when you get an opportunity accept it because each opportunity puts you in a position to get more."
The book is available on Amazon and Bookophilia in Kingston.