It is not a coincidence that the darkness that hinders my growth shows up as a misplaced car in some uneven driveway, or a marijuana-fueled person needing me to distract them from some self-inflicted circumstance. It tests us to be emotionally available for people who act like they are their own worst enemy. Pink sang it well when she said: “I’m a hazard to myself/ so irritating / don’t wanna be my friend no more/” (Austin, Moore 2001)
Why was “Don’t Let Me Get Me” on repeat in my past life? Why did I want to be someone else? Probably, I was confronting darkness, demons of a doubt, as a black man. Those lyrics were a balm on my wounded soul. And I needed to feel less like some Cerebral Palsy-having weirdo who attended a mostly white school, in a white-ish neighborhood feeling like an Uncle Tom who betrayed his own black community by having different connections.
We’ve all faced the pain of rejection when we feel a case of mistaken identity. Fear becomes the reason for why we don’t want to love ourselves.
When we are scared to peel back the veil, tragic people become our “strength persons”. We choose the idiot still looking for his or her self, because we cannot admit that we are doing the same search.
We tell ourselves someone is good for us when they are all we have.
In my past struggles I’ve tolerated men and women, who strong-armed me into believing they knew what was best for me.
And in that period of heartbreak, shame, criticism, and dependency, I could not see the spiritual abuse that those toxic persons left inside me. I’d give myself to people and once people received from me had what they wanted, I was left to rot in my own misery.
Loving a person, no matter how patient and kind… does not force them to treat you deservingly. When the person you love fails at changing… the job is yours to detach as best you can.
Love plays an ironic role in black, darker times. It is the anti-dote to the pain and also the reason pain happens. We don’t begin a relationship seeing the painful scars of love until we are totally alone. We don’t start healing our own trauma until we get quiet. You must get quiet and listen to yourself.
That quiet comes when the TV is off… when the phone is dead… when the internet loses connection and when all you have is just YOU.
Quiet is when the television is powered off. Quiet is when the phone is dead or when the internet’s lost its signal. Quiet is when you realize that you are all that’s left. When you still yourself in the quiet, you then get past the blackness, the confusion and the mistaken parts of yourself that were once “hazardous”.
How do you know when you’re facing trauma? Trauma is the negative voice in your head that says you’ll never be quite as capable as your brother and yet you’re staring at a Master’s Degree.
Trauma is the elder mother whose words rendered you unlovable even after you’ve accepted God in your life. Trauma is inviting a known drug addict back into your life after you’ve completed two years and twelve steps. Trauma is having a driver’s license and being deathly afraid to drive because “a voice still tells you when the traffic gets heavy you’ll cave.”
Trauma is the face of a clinically depressed person, waiting for a restock, because the store is just too overrun with people. Trauma is the protest and yelling in your voice when you know a caring person is telling you something it hurts to hear. Trauma takes baby steps to grow on. Healing from trauma is allowing fractured words to collide with one another knowing that both are equally important to you.
We all have dealt with past mistakes. Don’t let your pride make you believe that you cannot heal your dark, broken pieces. You can become a whole person. But it’s going to take a new kind of awareness. Trauma’s a weird genie, but if you can work hard to hide it…it’s just as hard to reveal and deal with it.