Friday, October 4th 2019
In one of the stranger moves I’ve made in my life lately, I spent over six hours in the car on this day in order to go back to the scene of a very painful experience I’ve been dealing with for the six-or-so weeks since it happened.
It felt very strange to do it, but something compelled me to go through with it.
I’m glad I listened to my instincts.
Not only was I able to unburden myself once and for all to the people who deserved and needed to know what happened, I was also able to articulate what I needed for myself, and to get it.
After weeks of self-reflection, shock, shame and exhaustive contemplation, I was able to say that I wished for SOME credit in the middle of all this for being fundamentally a decent fucking human being who made a very innocent mistake, in SPITE of the fact that mistake precipitated this dizzying amount of difficulty and angst.
My friend said, “OK. WHO would you want to give you that recognition?”
I said, “I don’t know. I guess I’ll give it to myself.”
In that moment we all exhaled and I think everything changed.
I somehow really do feel (mostly) free of the burden of shame and guilt I’ve been wrestling with to my core ever since this happened.
It seems that driving all the way there and back was indeed the healing, cleansing experience I’d hoped it would be.
And when I got home, I also realized I proved to myself, once and for all, the deep commitment I have, in my core, to ANTI-RACISM and it’s daily practice, for the rest of my life.
I don’t expect to ever fully understand why I was treated with such cruelty when it happened; with such sudden, abject, almost violent shame, blame and vilification. It is something I truly wish upon no one else; at least not for doing something as otherwise innocuous as I had done. I don’t see how MOST people wouldn’t take that experience and need to shield themselves from the pain and therefore miss the lesson.
That the other person chose to treat me that way is on THEM. That I take the lesson and grow from it anyway is on ME.
I am thankful I have been able to wrestle the pain HEAD-ON, and mine it for everything it has to teach me. Not to mention how fortunate I am to have enough time and resources to even grapple with it, let alone take a whole day and two (regrettable) tanks of gas to make the journey. And I would be remiss to omit the support of my patient and understanding Hubsand: