“I was always time, I was always I.” A message from God is what prompted Shaquanna Fulton to author her first book. As a believer, she thought it time to share her testimony.
Exhausted from the silent battle with anxiety, depression and PTSD, Shaquanna had felt misunderstood for some time. After typing out her handwritten journals, the writer initially wondered if people would “get her.” Now, no longer vulnerable to the others’ expectations and in therapy, Shaquanna had already done much more inner work independently than she had thought.
I think everyone “struggles” with mental health, but the course of medical history has disregarded the mind in its entirety from the school system, prison system, medical, capitalism etc… I became aware of my cascade in my mental health when I was 18. I was on a quest to circumvent its course, however, the extenuating circumstances of the pandemic and a lay off in 2020 had me like, “oh sh*t get it together bitch.”
Shaquanna began writing in high school when she joined the school newspaper editorial team. In her last year of college, Shaquanna wrote the first half to Time Out Sessions: Reflections on Healing in the African American Community. She continually worked on a book of journals and poems, and a radio show.
I always enjoyed English class but never had anyone pull my creativity when it came to writing. I had a professor tell me I wasn’t capable of collegiate writing. He accused me of plagiarism – so I took those words and used it for fuel. I had designated journals for specific things such as medicine, words my mom would tell me to keep to myself, notes on life. The first time I performed the entire audience was silent. Like I mean I was performing in front of awarded poets. Jan 15, 2019 was when I really started putting my pen to the test.
Shaquanna uses her writing as rebellion. Often having a quiet nature, many misconceived that she had nothing to say. She became apart of the North Carolina poetry scene and had been attending writers’ workshops. By this time, she had journals written for various subjects.
People would ask me, “Do you talk?” – because of my quiet demeanor. I’d respond,” Yes, I talk a lot.” I decided to be a “rebel” and write.
‘Time out’ is connected to the analogy of one taking time to revitalize health and communicate thoughts. Her inspiration to write Time Out Sessions: Reflections on Healing in the African American Community came from healing – that in which she has to do, the reach to where she touches others, and the work she’s already done.
Time is my Moe, slim, jawn. A measurement of the time I spent and still have to go to verbally communicate my thoughts. Journaling, and poetry are how I processed my trauma, solo, before ever meeting with a professional. I spent a long time, unable to find the words to communicate to my loved ones my trauma. My inspiration was to heal. To add a literary timeline for my ancestors.
Inspired by family, friends and even strangers, some poems in the book are replicated from words or sentences that Fulton’s friends wrote in her journals. A “Time Out Session” is a form of self-care that is conducive to healing.
Time Out Sessions: Reflections on Healing in the African American Community ebooks are currently available on Lulu.Com. Search the title or purchase here. Donations are welcomed to assist Shaquanna in hard copy prints! Support young, local authors!
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