In her unflinching, unforgettable memoir, Regina Louise tells the true story of overcoming neglect in the US foster-care system. Drawing on her experience as one of society’s abandoned children, she tells how she emerged from the cruel, unjust system, not only to survive but to flourish.
Learn more about Regina Louise and Someone Has Led This Child to Believe below!
Someone Has Led This Child to Believe is, in many ways, a follow-up to your first memoir, Somebody’s Someone, published in 2003. What compelled you to write this book at this time in your life?
This book interrogates trauma and the aftermath of broken souls left in its wake. I believe I better understand—more so now than when I was writing my first book— how to navigate the varying degrees of trauma, loss, abandonment, as well as the intersectionality, that comes with growing up in (and aging out) out-of-home care and foster care. These situations often cause incredibly challenging human emotions and dilemmas. For twenty-plus years, I’ve been healing my traumas and rewiring behavior patterns from my past. I’ve learned to change habituated ways of responding to experiences and traumas. I am an adult now, and I have a better sense of my own agency, protective factors, and inner strengths, all of which aid me in reaching back into the dark and facing powerful and emotionally charged memories.
Since writing your first book, you adapted it into a play and earned an MFA in creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. How has your work as a writer evolved since you wrote Somebody’s Someone?
With my first book, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Writing that book was a purely organic reaction to a disorienting experience I had. I could have behaved badly— very badly—towards myself, which is how I learned to survive and stay safe as a child (by never holding an adult accountable for his/her behaviors). Instead, I ran home after the challenging event and picked up a pencil instead of a razor blade (or worse). Then I found a piece of paper, instead of a handle of vodka. I sat down and listened to the small voice inside me, rather than the bullying, dark side of my nature that tried to convince me I wasn’t worth the effort it would take to listen to my gut. This book, my second, is shaped and/or inspired by various authors I’ve read and respect. That’s what grad school did for me: it gave me studio time to begin the process of learning who and what I was in relationship to the craft of writing. I learned the importance of research and the importance of spatial and temporal realities and how those realities affect people whose lives are carved by trauma. So this book is different in that way.
Your book deals with so many painful experiences. Were there any parts that were particularly challenging to revisit?
Writing about my womb-mother was particularly challenging, mainly because I’m certain the chance for us to get to know one another and perhaps engage in courageous and radical conversations is gone. Thank the Lord I got me some education and deep personal healing because it has helped me elevate my perspective from victim to victor. I now better understand the historical conditions that aided and abetted not only my mother’s failure but also the generational underachievement and lack of opportunities that is synonymous with being born black. As I state in my book, I am grateful for the journey: it has given me the privilege to transform my devastation into my motivation.
What do you hope readers will take away from Someone Has Led This Child to Believe?
The indestructible nature of the human spirit, and the importance of keeping one’s solemn vow—especially to one’s self.
You were adopted after the publication of Somebody’s Someone. What was that experience like?
Great question! Unfortunately, there’s nothing close to enough white space to answer this question here. Stay on the lookout for book three!
What’s next for you?
Book three. More coaching. Maybe a PhD. Maybe a television show where I am coaching people into their highest and greatest version of themselves. Maybe a professorship. I’m open.