As a survivor of mental and physical abuse, I was an introvert. I never wanted to share my experiences with anyone, good or bad. I always thought, “who would want to listen to the trauma and anguish that I am experiencing and living?”
A common lesson taught in the Black household is: what happens in the household stays in the household. I kept quiet and buried my secrets inside. Those secrets would manifest inside me and cause lifelong issues.
I turn constantly to my favorite choreopoem — a form of dramatic expression that combines poetry, dance, music, and song — for motivation: “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” by Ntozake Shange.
This highly acclaimed work takes real life issues that are complex, rough, violent, and fragile, and weaves them into 20 interconnected poems. Using powerful and vernacular language, the text portrays dark emotions and brings them to the light. For me, the book and choreopoem was an inspiration to speak my truth and share my journey. I began to write, and reach out to, and speak up for those who share dark experiences.
As an actor-turned-playwright, I wrote my first play, entitled “Secrets,” in hopes that my life experiences would touch at least one person who suffered in silence. This playwriting journey is how I was able to begin an open discussion about childhood trauma, family secrets, and injustices that led to my incarceration from 2011 to 2014.
My grandma once told me, “The truth shall set you free.” Letting go of those secrets has restored a big piece of myself.
While searching for my truth, I also was inspired by “Roe” written by Lisa Loomer. This playwright presented the truth, from different perspectives, of abortion since the Roe v. Wade landmark case in 1973 that legalized abortion. History has different revelations when it comes to someone’s truth and we must ask: whose is it? The playwright integrates the truth from plaintiff Jane Roe’s view and from lawyer Sarah Weddington’s view, which can be interpreted and understood differently.
I am a theatre major, so I see plays more often than I read books. “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand, reminds me of the love that got away. The playwright wanted to show a triangle of love and how everything is weighed and measured. The playwright also showed how some people start off not showing or telling others what they feel and how they miss the opportunities for a relationship. Sometimes it takes something big to finally reveal what needs to be revealed.
In the end, sometimes becoming whole means that you must collect additional pieces along the way. It may include wisdom from other people’s experiences, information gained from your own decisions and mistakes, and doing everything in your own power to make yourself feel fulfilled.
These works are pieces that aid in my mission to achieve wholeness, and it is my hope that maybe something here can inspire my audience as well.
Deneal Trueblood-Lynch (she/her) is a recent theatre graduate from Metropolitan State University. She has acted in numerous productions: “Intimate Apparel” and “Jar the Floor,” to name a few. Her first play, “Secrets,” explored dark lived experience — assault, incarceration, and finally redemption.