What is your name and location?
Tiyani and I live in Johannesburg, South Africa
How do you heal yourself? What is your favorite form of self-therapy?
I heal through words. Writing poetry, journaling and reading have played a big role in my healing journey. Making art, going on walks and connecting to nature are also ways in which I heal myself. While moving my body through yoga and dance allow me to disconnect from the rest of the world and connect to my body and it's energy. And although I'm only a beginner in yoga and can't contort my body in weird and wonderful positions, when I am lying in Shavasana at the end of a session, I feel safe. I feel whole and I feel connected to myself and the universe no matter what I'm going through. I love writing because it helps me explore and express my pain and anxieties while my other self-healing activities allow me to put my life into perspective, forget about all that is causing me pain and allow me to heal in ways which don’t necessarily directly attack my problems, but just allow me so feel safe, supported and connected.
When/what was the catalyst that made you start?
Just before I turned 16 I went on school camp where for the first time I was immersed in nature. Something about hiking through a mountain and sleeping next to a river made me feel connected to nature in a very powerful way. I felt as though I was part of all the life that surrounded me. I left that camp with a whole lot of affirmations to live my life in a more fulfilling way. I went vegan, started reading Osho's books (which opened me up to a whole world of spirituality), said mantras after my morning runs, bought some crystals and started doing yoga. I was creating a space for self healing not because I had to, but because I could. And that felt good, really good. Little did I know that all of that would unravel and that the next two years of high school would be the hardest of my life. At my lowest of lows I invested in a journal. I had always found a healing space in the words of others through music, books and advice and wondered if I could heal through the expression of my own. After being inspired by the words and stories of others, specifically in how I related to their experiences I was inspired to start my own healing journey through writing.
How has this form of healing helped you?
Writing poetry has given me a form of healing that I can constantly reflect on and go back to. Reflect on my growth and journey. My poems are a physical manifestation of my pain, joy, fears, experiences and feelings. Writing has given me a space to confront the good, bad and the ugly, while giving me a voice. Writing gave me a way to express all that I had been afraid to feel. This led to empowerment. Being empowered enough to stand up for myself allowed me release the things that were hurting me. It is through poetry that I uncovered the hurt that I had buried deep down. Through writing I explored issues such as perceptions and ideas of love and myself that were causing me pain, disordered eating and self esteem issues, my fears as well as hopes and dreams. Yoga allowed me to come back to myself while giving me a healthy coping mechanism for feelings of anxiety or stress. It also taught me to love myself and my body. There was a point in my life where I decided to stop exercising because working out had become a form of punishment for not looking a certain way. So I turned to yoga because it was a more slowed down and gentle form of exercise. At a time where I hated my body and felt disconnected to it through years of self hate, yoga was my saving grace as it allowed me to confront my insecurities, acknowledge my strength, be patient with myself, always be proud of my progress and learn to breathe. All being lessons of healing that have extended far beyond the yoga mat.
What does your process look like? (Please share what you feel comfortable sharing)
My process is usually spontaneous and unfolds as my mind and body need some healing. Usually, after a stressful day I will take the time to get back to myself and will do some yoga. Sometimes being a practice that is very specific e.g. opening up my heart, calming anxiety or alleviating period pain. Writing almost always happens spontaneously too. In the middle of math class that almost always leaves feeling as though my life is about to fall apart, in the morning while I’m eating breakfast to set a good mood and write down affirmations for the day or in the evenings when I’m sitting in the garden as the sun sets reflecting on my life. When I start to miss an old lover or if I notice that I have started bingeing to cope with my stress I turn to my journal and sift through everything. A big part of the process is reading over what I’ve written either to remind myself of how far I’ve journeyed in healing or to come to terms with what I’m feeling. Recently, a part of my healing process has been in sharing my poetry with others; either on social media or reading it to the people who support me.
How does it make you feel when you are healing yourself?
Healing through words has helped me explore my vulnerability and conjure up my strength. Realizing that it is okay to break and unravel, that healing comes when you sift through all your broken pieces and try put them back together (or even just looking at them and acknowledging that it’s okay not to be whole. I feel vulnerable and strong, especially grateful for my body and soul and that I have the ability to bounce back and heal after all I put myself through.
Why is what you do so important? Why is this form of self-helping important to you?
Healing myself is important because in wanting to heal, one acknowledges that they are deserving and worthy of healing. Getting to a place where I can say that I am worthy of love, attention and care or that I deserve to take time out and work on myself or rest and just generally that I deserve to do anything and everything to feel better about myself and my life, is of great importance to me because I went to long punishing and hurting myself because I hated everything that I was and didn’t think that I was worthy of healing.
What is your inspiration to continue doing what you are doing? What is the fuel that keeps you going?
After the first time I performed a piece of poetry live, someone came to me with tears in their eyes expressing how much my work had touched them and that they related to my words. It was in this moment (and in others that would enfold where people would share how my poetry inspired or helped them) in which I realized that writing and sharing it with the world not only allows me to heal, but creates a space of healing for others. I refuse to give up on myself which is also a big motivating factor as it inspires me to do anything and everything to ensure that I feel safe and secure and am in a space of healing.
What are your visions &/or goals?
I hope to one day release a book of all the poems I’ve written and tour the world performing spoken word pieces. I want to inspire, liberate and empower others through my words. Growing my blog and finding the strength to share pieces of my self in the hopes of reaching out to others is also something I am working towards. Starting my own business has always been a dream of mine and I want to sell natural hair and skin products, run self love workshops and create a platform where I can share the stories of others that have been sidelined or ignored and that I believe deserve to be heard. Starting a non profit organization that empowers women in the developing world is also a goal of mine.
In one sentence, what is your message to the world?
Speak and live your truth, it is all that you have.
**Tiyani has joined We Heal Too as a Content Contributor & we love her!