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"Melodies of Resilience: A Symphony of Survival and Healing" - Kenisha Coon

In moments of peril, a snail instinctively retreats into its shell, finding solace in the sanctuary it provides. Similarly, humans, when confronted with the perils of their immediate surroundings, often seek avenues to channel their frustrations—be it through constructive or destructive means. In my case, my refuge became a melody, a rhythm, a song that resonated with the depths of my soul.


The need for escape arose when the aggression and fury of my mother manifested as unrelenting pain upon us. In those moments, I turned to the only solace I could find—music. Alone in the confines of a secret space within my room, I would lose myself in the tunes of the Backstreet Boys, Nsync, Brandy, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, anything Hard Rock, and Michael Jackson. My sanctuary was complete with headphones that blasted the music at maximum volume, drowning out the sorrows that had plagued me for months and years, both psychologically and physically.


The scars of the abuse lingered well into my high school years and persisted into adulthood, casting a shadow over my every endeavor. Home ceased to be a haven; it lacked warmth and the embrace of familial love. The negative experiences tainted my perception of what a home should be, leaving an indelible mark on my psyche.


During this tumultuous period, I sought refuge in the realms of school, gravitating towards every music class available. Choir and Guitar became not just classes but lifelines, providing an escape from the madness that awaited me at home. Late-night rehearsals and drama club meetings became my extended sanctuary, offering moments of respite from the emotional turmoil.


The music classes and drama club served as outlets, allowing me to delay my return home. I yearned for the extra time spent doing something that anchored me, diverting the pain and anger that awaited me within those familiar walls. It was a desperate attempt to counteract the gradual toll the abuse was taking on me, a toll I was only beginning to comprehend.


As I delved deeper into the world of music, choir, and drama, I found a way to look beyond the physical abuse that stained my daily life. Music became a lifeline, a coping mechanism that shielded me from the psychological scars. Choir concerts and guitar classes provided not just an escape but moments of genuine joy and accomplishment.


The pinnacle of my musical journey approached during my senior year—a solo performance at the choir concert. For an entire year, I meticulously honed my skills, practicing tirelessly to make that moment flawless. It wasn't about making my parents proud; it was about reclaiming a sense of individuality and worth.


However, the eve of my performance brought an unexpected and harrowing twist. Walking into the kitchen to announce the impending concert, I discovered my mother in a dire state—overdosed, pupils dilated, skin pale. Panic consumed me, and in my 16-year-old frenzy, I called my uncle, who promptly summoned medical assistance.


As the paramedics rushed my mother to the hospital, I grappled with conflicting emotions. How could I focus on a performance when my world was unraveling at home? Yet, the show must go on, and so it did. I performed with the weight of a dark secret on my shoulders, shielding the truth from those around me.


The aftermath of that traumatic night cast a long shadow over my once-beloved passion for music. The rush of performing morphed into a reminder of that fateful evening, and gradually, my talent and fervor for music eroded. The guitar, once an extension of my soul, gathered dust as I forgot the chords and melodies. Public singing became an unthinkable feat, and the joy I once derived from it transformed into anxiety.


The trauma inflicted by that night haunted my dreams, extinguishing the flame of performing in public for over 17 years. Music, once a source of unparalleled joy, had become a vessel for pain and suffering. Last month, I attempted karaoke for the first time in over 15 years, only to be plunged into a debilitating panic attack.


Yet, amidst the wreckage, I persisted.

 

Kenisha Coon, MS, brings profound lived experiences and expertise to the fields of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Antiracism. With a Bachelor's and Master’s degree in Psychology, along with certifications in DEI and teaching, she boasts 13 years of dedicated work in child welfare and DEI initiatives. Kenisha is nationally recognized for her leadership in facilitating conversations, training, and strategic planning for racial equity. She collaborates with prominent organizations like AdoptUSKids and the National Adoption Association to promote racial awareness and equitable practices in child welfare. Outside her professional endeavors, Kenisha runs her own DEI consulting and calligraphy businesses, while actively volunteering in communities to expand Race Equity and DEI learning. Her latest project, "And Then She Persisted," encapsulates her journey of overcoming generational trauma and advocating against racism. Kenisha's commitment to dismantling disparities by day and nurturing mental health through creativity by night exemplifies her dedication to a more equitable world.


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