“Often it isn’t the initiating trauma that creates seemingly insurmountable pain, but the lack of support after.” –
Cherrel Turner-Callwood commented quietly on one of GreyFeathers’ posts on Facebook. Like other women, she shared that she had written a book. That piqued my interest as writing a book is no easy feat.
I asked her what the title was and where could I purchase it. She said, The Journey of an Invisible Brown Girl and you can buy it on Amazon or if you want, I can send you an autographed copy through Paypal.
I read her book in one hour, it is not very long, but boy does it pack a mean punch. She talks about herself in the third person about her childhood of terrible mistreatment, emotional abuse and incest. But the recurring theme is loneliness – feeling invisible to this very day.
But before writing, The Journey of an Invisible Brown Girl, Cherrel wrote a children’s book, The Adventures of Chocolate Sunshine. Chocolate Sunshine came to Cherrel as a superhero of sorts for children who, “are hurt, abused, unloved or neglected by others.”
I decided to ask Cherrel if she had any desire to play “20-questions,” to which she responded she was more than happy to talk and get her story out in the open in the hopes of helping other women who have had horrific childhoods.
Q: How old are you today?
A: “I am 59 years old.”
Q: What was the catalyst that made you decide to write your journey?
A: “In November 2017, I just celebrated my 58th birthday and I was not feeling well. My oldest daughter, who is now 43 years old called me. She said she was checking to see how I was doing. In the midst of me telling her, she started cussing and screaming at me. She said a lot of cruel things and blamed me for how her life was going. She said so many things that was told to her and my other daughter. She said until I apologize for abusing them, I will continue to be sick. My heart broke but that was enough for me to decide to tell my story and not be quiet anymore.”
Q: What is your relationship like now with your parents, brother, and children?
A: My father was killed in 2005 and we never mended things between us. I communicate with my mother regularly because that is what I choose to do but it’s not a mother and daughter relationship to me. My brother and I occasionally keep in touch as well as my children.
Q: How was your mother able to get your first daughter?
A: “At the time I was 18 years old, pregnant, and on welfare. I was also very afraid of my mother. So, when she said that all babies are supposed to have three outfits a day and that she would take me to court and prove that I was an unfit mother, that was when I let her go take my daughter.”
Q: Did you have any happy memories of your childhood?
Q: When your father assaulted you for the first time, did you confide in anyone?
A: “I remember when he first touched me, I was 11 years old. I ran away to an aunt’s house and told her what happened. She had me call my mother, however, my mother said that no one ever called her. I remember her saying that it sounds like something he would do, but she can’t take me back. I was sent back to stay with my father.”
Q: Do you, today, still feel that you are invisible?
A: “Yes, I do.”
Q: Did you ever have therapy?
A: “Many times. It just didn’t work for me.”
Q: Have you ever been able to forgive your dad and mom? Stepmom?
A: “I did for myself but not because anyone acknowledged what they had done.”
My favorite paragraph from your book, The Adventures of Chocolate Sunshine is “It’s not your fault. Chocolate Sunshine then put Keesha in her arms to hold her. Keesha, you are loved no matter what anyone else does. I love you and I want you to love yourself.”
Q:Were you ever held or told that you were loved when you were growing up?
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, health was good, finances not an issue, where would you go or where would you return to?
A: “A trip around the world to include Europe, Egypt, Thailand, Tahiti, Ireland, Japan, back to Paris and the islands!”
Q: Are you married now?
Q: What makes a great mother and what makes a great father?
A: “I really do not know.”
Q: Favorite movie and why?
A: “The Color Purple. I was able to relate with the young girl who wasn’t wanted and was mistreated all of her life. At the end, she found herself and grew to love herself.”
Q: What brings you happiness?
A: “Dancing, music, and traveling.”
Q: People often take the little things for granted. What are you grateful for?
A: “I am grateful for life. Every day I wake up, to do it better than the day before.”
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: “Dance, travel, listen to music, crafts, reading and just trying different things.”
Q: What would we be surprised to find out about you?
A: “That I love NASCAR.”
Q: Favorite season?
A: “It is tied between Spring and Autumn.”
Q: Do you have a personal relationship with God, and if you do, where is He in your life? If not, how do you overcome an obstacle in your life?
A: “I do have a personal relationship with God. My whole existence is because of God.”
“Because my daughters continued to want to bring lies up, even after telling them the truth, this past January I had to put an end to it. As much as I love them and was willing to accept any time with them and their children (and my two great grandchildren) I had to set boundaries for me.
I told them they are technically middle-aged women and until they grew up not to call me. I’m done with proving myself! Even though they are my children, at 41 and 43, they need to grow up. So, maybe one day… On top of God’s many gifts, I am a healer. However, it was draining me so I had to take the time out for ME to heal.
Again, nothing but God! No, I do not go to church nor do I belong to a particular religion, but God has always been there for me. I know this for sure because I am still here and the love that I have for others is so intense.
I thank God that I am innocent in many ways. I believe in laughter, and dreams, and exploring, and nature, fairytales and love. Many that confess that they are Christians are so cold inside.
I told my mother that I am glad that I didn’t become like her and others. I feel like a sucker at times, but I keep on going. Forgiving is not as easy as people make it to be and I believe that is between me and God. I’m still cordial whenever I’m near those that hurt me but always remember. Most of the time, I just don’t want to be bothered.
My favorite kind of music is Soca. I enjoy all types of music, especially with drums, but Soca music makes me feel so exotic uplifting, energizing and free.
I do not think that God wants us to be stressed, depressed or feel trapped. Many people are lost and won’t find God because the restrictions and limitations that are put on them from others. I am also an ordained minister but am non-traditional and taking the time to see which direction God wants me to go.”
Cherrel would like women who have had the same experience, or similar, “that you can live an awesome life as well and be whatever you want to be. There is nothing to be ashamed of and that your story deserves to be told!”
Where to Find Her
If you would like to order The Journey of an Invisible Brown Girl or The Adventures of Chocolate Sunshine, please email Cherrel at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will autograph a book for you. Or you can purchase them through Amazon. You may also hear her tell her story on Blog Talk Radio (www.blogtalkradio.com/Chocolate Bits & Pieces by Cherrel) There are 3 podcasts in this series.