HealHER Journey

Featured Writer, Kai'lah Hayes

Normal was always a peculiar thing for me. I wanted to be “normal” so bad but not only did I never feel like I fit in this world. I was raised to stand out. While most kids were playing hopscotch and riding bikes, I was in mandatory daily rehearsals in my divorced parents African dance troupe: Creative Impulse. Traveling to different cities for conferences , exhibits , festivals etc. Consistently on a stage from almost birth to adulthood.

The motto was always “The show must go on” no matter what. "I don't care if you feel like you are about to pass out, you finish the show then pass out later" and “ you never let 'em see you sweat”. I never knew that those same teachings would be the very thing I would have to deconstruct later in life. That strength mentality came from my mother. The strongest woman I will ever know. The same type of strength that was instilled in me, which was fine until she got sick.

12 surgeries back to back, 8 feet of intestines gone, mobility gone, lawsuits and 1 flat line on the medical screen. Next thing I knew I was getting state certified to change colostomy bags, catheters and feedings all while trying to complete fourth grade homework. Those were some really rough years for us. So many times I watched her cry herself to sleep because she held everything in, its all she knew. I would pray on my knees every night begging God to please just let me have my mother longer.

Those hard years I believe were the blueprint for my future. Taking care of her, then taking care