I had a dream

By Paulette Orhii

Content warning: domestic abuse. I wrote this because I had a literal dream that was more like an

epiphany. It displayed the extent of emotional abuse in my parents’ relationship. In light of MLK

day, I want to highlight the stories of Black womxn and intergenerational trauma, and show that

we are just as worthy of love and redemption. Peace, Love, and Solidarity, Paulette

I had a dream

That woke me to reality.

My father’s rage, built up from years of ego-boosting, put his finger on the trigger and started


My father’s rage, tinted with entitlement of other people’s emotions. Over three decades of

degrees and education couldn’t remedy the wounds of his youth’s destitution.

My father’s rage, weaponized to make us the salt of the earth around us.

He didn’t fear God but he feared destiny.

Injustice was a menace but education was the key. My father’s rage

My mom feared him more than she feared God

She started confiding to me when I was 8. And to this day

Out of 4 kids and 3 boys, the only girl inherited his rage.

Blind to the damage he’s done, she makes excuses like some kind of coping mechanism.

She says be careful about your feminism

Because no one will want you due to society’s sexism.

I was like thank God because I’d never want a man like him

If that’s my option then I’d rather live a life of sin

I lost my faith in love and God because of him.

And yet her words cut deep in my self reflection.

I have a dream

That is my reality.

A man with a warm soul wrapped his arms around me

As I escaped that household of rage.

He’s not my Savior but an angel

He helped restore my love and faith.

He held my hand as I tried to mediate

But my mother is too deep in to try to save.

Though she is physically safe from pain

My father’s messages still remain deeply ingrained.

Almost caught in the crossfires, we can’t erase my parents’ history

But we can make our own story. So I have a duty

To end my lineage’s legacy of pain and oppression.

My father’s mother is helping me learn these lessons

As she rests in peace and appears to me

In my dreams.