I told my story. Well actually, I told the parts of my story that were causing me immense pain. I did not want to tell it. What I experienced was too traumatizing and I had been working on healing for years. I had been working my way up to be able to tell my story to myself, for myself. Unfortunately, patriarchy reared its ugly head and forced me to use my story to defend myself. It was the first time I recounted my traumatic experience out loud to a member of the community. I trusted this particular person and he unintentionally hurt me. Like he said, “intention is different than impact” and although I like this individual, his actions really fucked with my healing process and it needed to be acknowledged.
I don’t know how I am feeling. I used my story to stand up for myself but I am disappointed that I had to use it to convince a man that what I was feeling was valid. Ugh. Even that last sentence made me nauseous. While I was sharing my story, I cried and I almost threw up. I couldn’t control my tears. I was having bodily reactions and these physical symptoms were brought about by the following :
- I wasn’t ready tell my story.
- I wasted my story on another person when I had been saving it for myself.
- I had to explain my trauma to someone so he could understand how he hurt me and so he could understand the long-term damage his actions has caused.
- Recounting my story brought out traumatic memories and emotions that I did not want to feel again.
- I forced myself to be vulnerable at the expense of my mental health, all so that I could make someone understand how they hurt me!
At the end of the conversation, I felt so much! I felt anger, grief, shock, anxiety, and nausea. Oddly enough, while I had all of these feeling, I also felt power. I don’t know how that feeling came to me considering the torture I went through during the conversation and before the conversation. I will need to sit with myself to figure out why power was something that lingered.
Can you believe that I had a dream the night before about how the conversation would play out? Not only did I have a dream, but I also woke up very early to write my main points so that I wouldn’t forget everything I wanted to say. I even rehearsed it in my head over and over again!
I don’t think it’s fair that I had to go through this. I prepared myself in all the ways I knew how so that I could create some type of safety net. I kept telling myself “I got me. I got me. I can do this.”
This is what patriarchy does and this is what oppression looks like. I sat to think about how womxn have to go the extra mile to be believed. I thought about the womxn who are too afraid to tell their story because there may be serious repercussions. I think about the womxn who were forced to tell their stories even though they were not ready. I think about victims of abuse. I think about all of the womxn in Stockton, California that have been silenced. I think about the womxn in Stockton, California that were robbed of their stories; their stories used to benefit other men and it makes me angry!
Then something odd happened. When the conversation was over and when the tears stopped spilling like waterfalls, I noticed that my chest felt lighter. It was really weird to me. My story was out in the universe now. My tongue carried it. My tears baptized my story. My chest catapulted all of my emotions out of my body while my heart stood there confused the entire time. It is still confused.
All of this happened this weekend and I have a lot to feel and think about. I don’t know how I will be feeling. All I know is that I got this. I got me.