Have you experienced Generational Trauma? Anisah Ali Shares the Woes of this Phenomenon
Generational trauma is an issue that many people face. Most times when one is affected by it, they either don't recognize or don't want to deal with it. Our feature today, recognized it, dealt with it, and even aspires to dissect and understand it further.
Anisah is the author of “Anonymous,” which is an amazing collection of prose and poetry written over the course of three entire years. Today, Anisah shares with us what inspired her writing and the obstacles she's had to overcome in the industry to get to where she is now.
Check out Anisah's exclusively interview.
When you look back on your past experiences, what moments do you believe helped you become who you are today?
There has been a plethora of experiences that have shaped me into the woman I am today: the relationship with my father, trying to understand our differences and dealing with and sorting through the complications of verbal and physical and emotional trauma that have been results of that relationship; and, the relationship with myself and trying to learn to love and appreciate my existence, my body, my voice. I think that has been one of the biggest challenges: loving myself. You're not necessarily taught how to do it, you're told you have to and figuring out what that looks and feels like is up to you. Also, learning to love someone, outside of my family and myself, has shaped me. Trusting my ability to love someone and not damage them or break them the way I felt I was damaged and broken is hard work but it is work that is worth it. And of course, most importantly, the people in my life who have always believed in my potential and believed in me when I couldn't believe in myself: my mother, my grammie, my sisters, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, and my friends. I owe so much to them.
What made you decide your career path in writing?
I began "writing" when I was in kindergarten. I enjoyed telling stories. I enjoyed telling the stories of others, of people around me. I became serious about writing in eighth grade. I had two creative writing classes and a screenwriting class. Writing became a huge part of my life after that. After graduating high school and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I didn't think "writing" was sufficient as a career path. I majored in Journalism for two years and transferred to another university. Unbeknownst to me, the university I transferred to was reconstructing their Journalism program and would not have been available until the year I was to graduate. If that wasn't the universe telling me to follow my dream! So, I did. I majored in English literature and took creative writing classes. Currently, I am obtaining my MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics. I had to silence the doubts and people telling me there is no career in writing. I had to believe in myself and my passion and my potential. And the saying is true: If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.
What are some obstacles you've had to overcome in the industry and how did you overcome them?
I haven't had much experience with the "industry" yet. One obstacle I have had to overcome is a scandal with an independent publishing company. A company that was starting out reached out to me in February of 2015 and informed me that they were interested in me being one of their artists. I was so excited! At the beginning of that year, I told myself that 2015 would be my year to publish and here was this opportunity. Needless to say, they continued delaying my launch date. I became extremely discouraged. Then I found out there was money laundering going on and so many other incidents. I left the company and became even more discourage than before. I was in a dark space for a couple of months; extremely unmotivated. When you put your art and your passion into someone's hands, you expect them to take care of it. But, no one is going to take care of your art the way you do. That is the bottom line. I had to find the blessing and that blessing was realizing the potential in myself. The manuscript was complete. I did it. I did that. If anything, the company sparked the flame and it was my job to keep it going.
What advice do you have for younger girls with the same career path?
Believe in yourself. Believe in your potential. If you love something and you feel in your heart that you want to do it for the rest of your life, establish a plan and do it. Do not become discouraged if the plan shifts. Honor the shift. Work through it and accept the obstacles. They're hard to grow through but it's a beautiful experience when you look back and realize you got through them.
What are your current goals for yourself and your passions? And where can we find your work?
Currently, I have one year left in my MFA program. The next step is a Ph.D. program. My studies surround generational trauma, the ways in which abuse travels throughout the home and outside of the home. My studies also include this question of what is the black love story and what that looks like and if trauma has to be attached to the black love story? As well as, black masculinity and this idea of America harming our men and the spaces love and trauma occupy within black masculinity. I have also began studying black feminism and womanism in relationship to this idea of black love. My work sounds critical and it will be but a major portion of it will be creative work.
Currently, you can find my work on my Instagram account: anisahamat_ and my website: www.anisahali.com. My first book, anonymous, will be published soon! Details will be on my website, Instagram account and twitter (anisahamat_).