‘After’ words: Actress pens memoir on overcoming abuse

Get out: Headlam wrote her memoir “Love After” to encourage others to free themselves from abusive relationships.

She wrote from the bottom of her heart.

A Jamaican-American actress from Brownsville will celebrate her new book with a Valentine’s Day–themed launch party in Greenpoint on Feb. 9. First-time author Jacinth Headlam said that her memoir “Love After…” reflects her survival of childhood abuse and a messy divorce.

“This book came from a time in my life where I was at rock bottom and I was broken,” she said.

Headlam, best known in the United States for her role in the indie film “Diary of a Badman,” was a married mother of two when she learned that her husband had cheated on her, and was expecting a child with the other woman. Devastated, she took the kids and moved into her mother’s attic, where she poured her heart into her journal.

“My journal is a big part of this book because it helped me come to a place of healing and I had feelings I didn’t know I had,” said Headlam. “These were feelings that pretty much laid dormant for years, but were very necessary to my identity.”

Her memoir builds on those journal entries, chronicling her journey towards acceptance after her separation and eventual divorce. While writing about her feelings, Headlam realized that dealing with her traumatic past was a necessary part of her journey. She had grown up in a abusive home and been the victim of sexual assault in her childhood — memories that she had worked hard to forget, she said.

“I had to revisit a place in my life that I didn’t want to, and I was struggling with the fact that I was molested as young child, because I blocked it out of my mind and was numb to it,” said Headlam.

Speaking openly about the abuse was one of the biggest challenges she faced writing the memoir. But after a lot of self-doubt and delays, she says that it was integral to her story.

“I think we all get to a place in life that in order to grow and walk in our purpose, we have to visit the broken places and come to place of healing or a place of wholeness,” said Headlam. “If we don’t, we’ll always be on a spinning wheel going nowhere.”

At the book launch, the actress and author will read excerpts from her book and screen a short documentary film.

“Love After…” book release at Stuart Cinema and Cafe [79 West St. between Milton Street and Greenpoint Avenue in Greenpoint, (347) 721–3777, www.stuartcinema.com]. Feb. 9 at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.

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