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International poet visits, shares personal story of overcoming past abuses
Cynthia Jowers, an international poet known as X Blu Rayne, said writing poetry heals her body and soul. At the event Let Her Speak on March 29, Rayne reflected on her life and loving herself.
The Webster Gospel Choir hosted Let Her Speak in the Thompson Music Building Recital Hall. The event was in celebration of Women’s History Month.
“Blu’s story is so powerful. She’s a single mother of six children from the ages 16 to 2, a poet and author,” Steward Stiles III, junior music education major and choir director, said. “She makes her passion, which is poetry, her business. And she is truly the victor after surviving homelessness and abuse.”
When Rayne was five years old, she was kidnapped and raped while living in Longview, Texas.
“That day I lost my innocence, but I lost my trust (too),” Rayne said. “I couldn’t say my rapist’s name for 20 years. And for a long time I didn’t trust anyone, especially men. I won’t let hardly anyone touch me. Mostly, for a long time, I couldn’t love myself. ”
She discovered her talent for poetry when she was 12.
“When I was in school, my teacher would have us write poetry,” Rayne said. “And my teacher saw I had talent. But when I got older, writing my feelings on paper helped me heal from my own pain.”
In later years, Rayne worked as a makeup artist and a mother of five children from previous relationships. She soon met a man, whom she had a sixth child with and was supposed to marry. But in June 2009 Rayne looked at her fiancé’s Facebook page and learned that he had left her for someone else, leaving her and her children homeless.
“He was the one I leaned on and he left me with a newborn baby. I wanted to die, but I couldn’t. I had six children to think about and if it wasn’t for my children keeping me going I don’t know what I would do,” Rayne said.
From June 2009 to December 2010, Rayne and her children lived in a hotel. In December 2009 she performed spoken word poetry for the first time at the House of Comedy. She recited her poem “Confidence Kicked in.”
“After performing, that was when I found my calling and my breakthrough,” Rayne said. “I realized that poetry was my life and that I needed to express it, find out who I was to heal and love myself.”
Then, she and her children moved in with a friend. Rayne founded Spoken Word Addicts Unleashed (S.W.A.U.) — a movement for spoken word artists and poets to express themselves. S.W.A.U. has since been turned into a magazine.
“The reason it’s a magazine is because one, I love to read and two, it allows poets to get their work published,” Rayne said.
Rayne said it was a miracle that she and her children had moved into their own house in 2011.
“I thank God that I’m not homeless and that I’m doing what I love full time, and that is writing poetry,” Rayne said.
Rayne said writing about her problems has helped her heal. Through her work, she has been able to help others also. She has been a full-time poet and spoken word artist for three years. She has released several books including “Blu Life” and “Rayne for Growth.”
Rayne has traveled around the world performing spoken word in countries including Belgium.
“Going overseas, I realized there was a whole world out there, besides St. Louis and I want to travel more,” Rayne said.
Currently, Rayne is working on a radio station where poets can read their work on the air. She is also writing a play and two books.
Rayne said she is happy with her life and career.
“It took me 30 years to heal and poetry has done that,” Rayne said. “But mostly with poetry, I learned who I was. I learned to love myself, but mostly I learned to love my children. I didn’t start loving my children until two years ago. My 16-year-old son just got his mother.”
Rayne explained she doesn’t write her poetry for her fans or fame, and that her children remain her inspiration in everything she does.
Rayne said the message that she wants people to get out of her life story and poems is to, “Get out. You have a dream or a passion just do it. Whatever circumstance you’re in right now it’s the start of the greatness in you.”