It was a simple Monday evening. I was sitting with my niece watching her eat when I received a call that changed my awareness of me. It was my mom panicking, “the twins got off the bus and they're all alone outside because no one is home”. At first, I didn’t worry because it didn’t cross my mind, then I heard my mom say they could get snatched, raped, killed, or anything, and then I began to freak out and cry. All the possible worst-case scenarios ran through my head like a track star. I imagined them getting hurt because I wasn’t there in time and my heart dropped to my knees. Quickly, running to my sister asking if she could take me to pick them up. “Think positive”, “Think positive,” I told myself as we grabbed her kids, grabbed my brothers' car keys (as instructed by my mother), and hustled out the door. They're fine, I repeatedly reassured myself as I got in the truck trying to hold back my fears and tears. Knowing them they're probably sitting on the steps eating candy. Ding! Went to my phone as I received a text from my oldest sister, their mother. “Can you let me know if they're there when you get there”? Mya might be back at school” so Marshaun is all by himself alone I screamed inside. I started to feel a heavy pain in my heart, a core memory that I’ve been holding deep down inside popped into my mind. Flash forward a few years back, I could've been 6 or 7. I got on the bus because I normally get off at my cousin's stop and go home with her, but I had the strangest sense that she wasn’t on the bus. Since there were so many children who got off at my stop, we had two, but I still had the suspicion she wasn’t on that one either, I remained hopeful. As I got off the bus I waited for my cousin to run off, but she never did. Oh! no, I cried, my heart was pounding, I raced to her house knocked on the door but no answer came, I forgot they had moved. I wanted to sit and cry. What was I going to do, I didn’t have a car, phone, or any way to make contact with anybody. I had two options either stay there, cry until nighttime fell and wait for somebody to come and find me, or I could walk. Luckily, my dad lived somewhat close by so I figured I would just walk the path to his house. Here I was, this small girl walking this big world. Not thinking about what could happen. I just knew I was a little scared. It felt like I was walking for hours before I finally made it to the black metal door. Gathering myself I knocked a few times, and finally, my dad opened the door. He looked so surprised to see me. “Whatcha doing here,” he asked “I walked here I replied holding back my tears. My memory’s kind of hazy on what happened after that, but I know that he put his fears and worries into my mind like teachers do the alphabet and when I went home that night my mother did the same. Nobody hugged me, showed me love, or validated my bravery. So, here I was sitting in the car with my sister, thinking about the time when I was left alone after school, trying to still hold back my tears. Could this be something I desired to heal from, I thought to myself. Maybe I need to communicate my emotional side more freely. I recognized the feelings I felt, but I would never express them. What if my nephew felt how I felt that day, especially if he was all alone without his twin? What was he thinking? Maybe that nobody loved or cared for him enough to make sure he got off the bus and made it home. I just knew he was terrified, sitting somewhere crying, seeking love and safety. I realized how I thought when I was in that situation, so I decided to do things differently, I bet you could imagine how thankful I was when we pulled up to the house, and they were both lying outside playing in the dirt having fun. “Oh, thank god”, I exclaimed as I got out of the car hurrying over, hugging them and ugly crying. I couldn’t help it. It flowed out like the Nile river. “I love you so much”, I whispered to them. “You were so brave and so smart to walk by yourselves home”. “I’m very proud”. “It’s okay”, they joyfully told me, unaware of what I was going through. “We were very brave”. There were people around watching me open up, but I didn’t even care, I just hugged them and let them know they are cherished and forever protected by the universe. I was showing authentic emotions and natural love. As we turned to the car, a weight was lifted off my shoulders, it felt so good and relieving to let my pain go. I healed that part of my younger self that felt abandoned, unnoticed and unloved that day. Growing up I was conditioned to think the worst of situations like this because that’s how I remember my mom and dad reacting. It felt so good being able to express myself in such an intimate way, especially around people. Of course, the twins were concerned with why I was crying and so I told them the story. “We were kind of scared,” my nephew told me but you made me feel safe when you hugged me and told us that we never had to be afraid of anything. I learned a few things about myself this day like that I had built up fear from when I was left alone that rolled over into my adult life that impacted me in ways I had not become aware of and that I actually am capable of being emotionally expressive .