The Shaping of a Diamond is a collection of poems by Desiree Batiste that covers memorable moments from childhood to now. Desiree speaks openly and honestly about depression, relationships, abuse, and hopes for the future. They didn't pull any punches or sugarcoat anything, which I respect. Everything they've gone through, the good and the bad, have shaped them into the person they are today— on a path to a bright future.
Before each facet of the life (chapter), the author summarizes their life during these times. Facet 1: Childhood background information spoke of her father, a disabled Vietnam vet, and her abusive, unhinged mother. Her mother wasn't always the villain in her life's story. But when she became one, the child's inner light became dimmer. I didn't see a "trigger warning" disclaimer for facet one, but it needs one. The subject matter might be emotionally and psychologically difficult for some individuals to read. I was in tears throughout this first section, especially when reading "The Promise." It touched me on a personal level.
As we enter her high school years, the author questions if God has it in for them (Things That Go Wrong). This is a common thought, a question when life seems to beat us down. We wonder if we did something in a past life to deserve this punishment. Does God hate us? What have we done, and why can't we find happiness? Again, this is another poem that spoke volumes to me. During the poems connected to her "adulthood," the writer sees God in a more positive light. Heaven will wash away their pain and sorrow. Religious people will agree as you walk through the pearly gates, all your pain, suffering, and sadness vanishes.
Facet 4: The Pit of Despair discusses the author's relationships, beginning with "You Can't Hurt Me Anymore." Again, due to the subject matter, I must issue a trigger warning disclaimer. It might cause an extreme emotional response: PTSD, panic attacks, dark thoughts, etc. Again, in this section, I found myself reaching for Kleenexes. I lost my father, a serviceman, and reading "My Father's Eyes" made me think of him and all he's missed and will miss. Her "dream" made me cry even harder because she reminded me that even though my father was not beside me, at least he was not in pain anymore. That does give me some solace.
Desiree Batiste and I have many things in common, including how we escape from reality: music, dance, and writing (Facet 5: Sweet Escapes). All three quiet my mind when darkness takes root.
Though darkness is a common theme in the writings, Facet 6: A Love Story contains more uplighting poems, and my tear ducts thank you! It was nice to see the author found happiness, passion, and love. However, things took a dark turn in the next section. Family should be a tight-knit function, but hers is falling apart at the seams. Desiree is a strong woman, and it took an enormous amount of strength to handle everything life has thrown at her and for her to share her story with others.
She, like so many of us, carries scars from our past. They change us in ways we never imagined. But as she stated so eloquently, her turbulent past showed how "badass" she was. She's a fighter, a dreamer, and, most importantly, a SURVIVOR.
Desiree's story will inspire others to keep fighting, don't give up hope for a brighter future. I encourage you to read it, but (again) remember that many areas contain possible triggers.