I didn’t want to, but I am…

The #metoo that’s going around has had me at odds with whether or not I wanted to talk about it, but after reading about Joy Bryant, my heart broke as I found a touching similarity to her story. Read it here… Joy Bryant’s story

I do not know the entirety of the story behind my conception save for the he say/she say versions my parents have served up, but I do know that neither parent knew how to parent well.  Their varied backgrounds prevented them from loving their children in the right way.

From what I’ve learned of my father’s childhood it was violent, angry, bitter, and strict.  He was academically smart; however, his father prevented him from seeking further education , so he filtered his skills into being a good craftsman and working with his hands.  His relationship with his mother was tenuous and the foundation for his misogyny.  My father was an extremely attractive man and that parlayed into his ability to score women and oftentimes in inappropriate ways.

After conversations with my half-sister and his current last wife, I learned some extremely ugly things about my father, and while I was in many ways appalled, I can’t say I was entirely shocked, as I saw things first hand growing up that my half-siblings did not and it set the tone for how I viewed him.  I saw women come and go on the weekends I spent with him, and learned not to get attached to any of them because I didn’t know how long they’d last.  Some were nice and some were not, but again, it didn’t really matter because I wasn’t sure if they’d last as I said.  This fluctuation in women translated into my inability to bond with women or even fully trust them since some of the women my father dealt ill treated me.

I learned how abusive my father then, and as recent as this February when he passed, I learned more.  And again, while disturbing, I was not entirely shocked, but what sickened me the most was hearing my half-sister detail her own conception, which led me to thinking, I could have very well been conceived the same way…out of violence/force/coercion…Rape!

I wanted to ask my mother about it, but don’t really want to dredge up the past and have her go into one of her many tirades about my father.  I’d actually rather know about her childhood and relationship with her mother.  Her father passed when she was two.  She’s never really detailed what it was like growing up, but from the fragments I’ve heard from my deceased aunt/uncle and my mother’s sister, it wasn’t great.  The little she’s shared about her relationship with my father was drenched in bitterness and anger.

About ten years ago, she blurted out that he raped her, but I dismissed it, not that I didn’t believe her, but she said it in mixed company; (around MY friends) and it was an inappropriate time and place for such a revelation.  I never brought it up again. Given what I learned from my half-sister, previous conversations with my half-brother, and my father’s last wife, I don’t dispute my mother’s revelation.  I don’t have any resentful or angry feelings about it in all honesty because I had an acrimonious and tenuous relationship with my father anyway.  I have long since reconciled my feelings; or lack thereof toward him, so when he passed, I was completely fine.  I’d been previously estranged from him for ten years and it wasn’t until 2007 that I allowed myself contact with him again.  Those seven years were fraught with drama and I merely tolerated his existence all while forging a very close relationship with his now widow of whom he treated her poorly too!

I have always had an oil and water relationship with my mother; a little similar to how Ms. Bryant explained hers with her mother.  She was verbally, emotionally, and mentally abusive toward me and there were a few extreme physically violent episodes too.  I think there was a lot of envy that she had toward me as I succeeded in things she’d hoped to and she found ways to either take credit for my accomplishments, demean them in some way, or find ways to steal the spotlight.  The myriad of things she’s done to assassinate my character, make assumptions about me, or misrepresent the facts of my life has caused a lot of hurt and pain over the years and fractured my relationship with my siblings and my eldest brothers children.  (Fortunately, we’ve grown through and past them now – but that was decades in the making)  The combination of my mothers abuse and that which I fortunately escaped from my father sexually, served as a painful foundation for my life. For decades, I lived with a level of self-hatred, in spite of the Colgate smile I wore and then somehow amassed herculean strength to overcome all of the pain of the various abuse I endured.

My own #metoo is something I’m choosing not to discuss because it’s not necessary.  I know what I went through and what’s more important, is that I came though it to be where I am today.  Speaking about the foundation of it all is a sealing part of the healing package.  Reading Ms. Bryant’s story allowed me to speak to parts of my #metoo in a different way.  I even more understand the adage, “hurt people; hurt people“.  I make zero excuses for my parents behaviour in any way as it is inexcusable.  I just see it all for the ugly truth that it is.  MY truth! MY healing! MY catharsis!  MY closure!

I wholly empathize with the women; and men, that have been sexually assaulted, molested, raped, and/or sodomized.  I wholly empathize with those who have been abused in any way and I stand in solidarity with those who’ve had the courage to speak up about their experiences.  I understand why it was “easier” to not say anything than to speak up.  I commend those who now have come forward and are speaking publically about their experiences.  I silently pray for those who still do not have the voice or courage to speak up and pray they’ll one day be able to heal and not remain in emotional bondage.

In closing, I hope that we can and will find a way to accept the ugly truth about what is truly an epidemic in society and find ways to embrace and heal those affected and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.  Abuse in its varied forms should not be swept under the rug and victims should not be shamed or disbelieved for speaking up.

#Solidarity!

Life’s lessons

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you figure out which one it is,

you will know what to do for each person. – Unknown

Knowing, understanding, and accepting the aforementioned is one of the most complex and agonizing of life’s lessons and experiences we will face and with age, I’ve found it to be one of the most liberating experiences I go through. 

In the past, I tended to rationalize the behaviour and actions of others and allow them to stay well past their expiration dates; in turn, providing them with a revolving door into my life and emotional capital of which was squandered.  There were too many Reasons and Seasons that I almost allowed to become Lifetimes. 

At this stage of life, I find myself closing doors more easily and more often.  I no longer allow myself to be held by nostalgia, chronology, and some misplaced sense of loyalty even when the other party finds a way; or at least attempts to reign me back in using those very same things to assuage their guilt for lack of contribution or participation. 

I favour and embrace the truth of where we are now, instead, of the role we each once played in the other’s lives and what we gained in those times or moments.  I recognize the varying degrees of relationships and the impression they had; however, to remain bound by that adds no gain.  My life is tantamount to an investment portfolio, where I have to regard the deposits made and the interest earned to determine whether I’m getting the most for my life’s relationship investments.  I choose not to live my life in the red or leaning toward emotional bankruptcy.  I reserve the right to close accounts and send statements of insufficient funds when people have overdrawn from my life and emotional well-being.  I refuse to continuously allow people to deplete me, be it financially, emotionally, physically, or mentally. 

I have to recognize the signs of the Reason, the Season, or the Lifetime in order to grow in every aspect of my life.  I cannot rationalize what doesn’t warrant the thought process because if I have to rationalize where we stand, I already have my answer.  What I must do is honour the Reason that became as Season for what it provided and reserve myself for those who are the Lifetime, and at the forefront of that is Myself. 

I’m currently liberating myself of someone who was a Reason, a Season, and what I thought would be a Lifetime.  I openly, fully, and wholly accept the Reason and the very many Seasons they played, and realize that Lifetimes are wholly reciprocal relationships.  Lifetimes are proactive, inspiring, uplifting, bullshit calling, and wholesome.  Lifetimes make others a priority and honour those who have bought the ticket with the true intent to ride until the end. 

This closure has been in the making for some time now; not entirely of their own making; however, and in spite of their words, their action has proven itself to be terminal.  There is nothing to wrestle anymore.  There is no taking into account the two plus decades of friendship (Reasons and Seasons) where we once saw each other through the others eyes, or saw each other through the myriad of life’s ups and downs.  All there is, is to let go. 

What was once perceived to be the embodiment of a Lifetime will become a fading memory shrinking further and further into the distance and will eventually set on the horizon of this part of my life’s chapter.  I am very much okay with that.  I honestly didn’t think I would be, but I truly am and in an odd way, I feel a bit relieved; exhilarated even as it feels like I reached past an emotional plateau.

So, here I am, older, wiser, and much lighter on my life’s journey.  I hear Ms. Badu clapping in my head and praising me for not being a Bag Lady.  (I told you before, music is always in my head!) 

If you’re struggling with Reasons, Seasons, and Lifetimes, take a moment to set your life up like a bank account or investment portfolio so you can see if you’re truly getting the best out of your life.

 

Honour thyeslf always! J