Healing, appreciation packaged in poems

CHILDHOOD trauma, an abusive relationship and a low self-esteem empowered a 43-year-old mother and poet to use words to heal others.

Haroldene Tshienda, from Kuils River, started penning her pain as a means of recovery in 2007. Now, she is an award-winning poet and publisher and has released her fifth collection of poems titled Beyond The Pain.

Tshienda said her latest offering brings “hope, self-appreciation and healing from internal pain.”

“I was lucky that lockdown happened because I had been going through a really tough time. I had a breakdown in December and it felt like a whirlwind. Then from April, I no longer had to wake up and fix lunches or make early breakfasts and see to homework or any of those things.

“I finally had time for me. It was like a dream come true, a blessing. I somehow managed to shut down and pull myself towards myself for the first time in my life, I found myself. I didn’t even know that depression could literally take away the colour from your skin,” she said.

Learning self-love and taking back her power, Tshienda said the poems shifted from dark to light, a reflection of the new her she had found “beyond the pain”.

Tshienda said she struggled to finish her compilation of 43 poems because she struggled to balance life, work and home.

“I grew up being told that I was a mistake and that I would be nothing without a man. The sad part is that I believed that, to the extent that I gave my abuser the power to own me because I did not know any better. Now having had the opportunity to break free from the chains and the pain that brought a dark cloud in my life, I have been able to put together these poems which I hope will help other women realise that they are enough and they are powerful.”

Tshienda is now also working on a self-help book to “help people identify and realise that they are the real deal”.