Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Getting Myself Into Twitter Trouble (again!)

So I got myself into a feud on Twitter earlier today, because I was defending a thread about abuse in Black households and the majority hated the tweeter and the thread because not only did they perceive it to be anti-Black; they didn’t believe that there are Black abusive households because they never experienced it.

To say such a thing is so stupid, that I likened it to white people saying that racism doesn’t exist because they don’t experience it. I fight with white people online every day, I don’t expect to be fighting with brothers and sisters too. But when it comes to speaking openly about childhood abuse (sexual, physical and psychological), I will fight to the death because of the impacts this has upon mental health.

Domestic abuse and sexual abuse happens in all homes, regardless of colour, but the issue with Black families is that we refuse to let victims/ survivers speak about it. Black women in DV relationships are called anti-Black and seen as betraying the culture if they go to the “White police” to report crimes against their partners; Black girls are also very often sexualised from very young ages and victim-blamed when they are abused. Many adult women – including myself – are forced to continue to suffer sexual abuse in silence, which has detrimental impacts upon our mental health and perpetrators are rarely brought to justice.

So when I see Black people denying my experiences, just because they (a) never experienced it themselves and (b) call people like me anti-Black for openly talking about my abusive childhood, it pisses me off.

So some people were not only trolling the girl who created the thread, they were also gloating about their unblemished childhoods to compare to ours in order to prove that our experiences never happened. Now I’m all for celebrating good parenting, especially within our community, however there is a time and a place for this… and this fucking wasn’t it. Plus the fact that she also made clear that this wasn’t relevant to all Black households, was completely ignored because apparently she added that part a day later. But so what? Any intelligent person reading the thread knew that it was implied.

There were a few supporters, however I confronted one person I follow, because she came across particularly as antagonist and antipathetic.

She then not only refused to see the issue from my perspective, she also tried to antagonise me, before eventually blocking me when she realised that I wasn’t going to rise to the bait.

As I said, instead of engaging in conversation, she tried to antagonise me. This woman is Mikki Kendall and I once followed her because she claims to be a Black feminist. But denying Black women the right to speak openly about the abuse they have suffered is anti-feminist as well as anti-Black. It is not anti-Black to say that our community is flawed, particularly when survivors like me are actually actively working to change those flaws by sharing our experiences and changing mindsets. And to block me just for disagreeing with your point of view is childish and ignorant:

I would imagine these are the same women who tell R Kelly’s victims to keep their mouths shut, because speaking badly about Black men in open spaces is anti-Black which is absolute bollocks.

Telling victims to shut up is also provoking further trauma to victims, which makes you just as bad as the perpetrators.

I can’t find the original thread now – unfortunately I forgot to retweet it while I was too busy defending the creator of the thread against the trolls, but to the girl who spoke up, WELL DONE, you’re a fucking legend and I stand by you ūüĖ§ I hope you find healing as you continue on your journey and keep speaking up baby girl!

To the haters, keep your ignorant mouths shut until you educate yourself.

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

My Mother & I… Freedom

After my last blog post which you can read here, I spoke to my mother and we finally addressed our past. It’s been a looooooong time coming. We finally openly spoke about what it was like for me growing up after my father left, but also what it was like for me before. While talking, it also dawned upon me that I never ever told her about the final conversation I had with my father on the phone and his final words to me:

You need to be an adult now.

Words that I had carried for twenty years. I didn’t realise the weight behind the meaning of these words, until I uttered them to my mother last weekend. My father wasn’t just telling me to be the adult, to be the second parent; he was telling me to bear the burden of his sins and to keep my mouth shut. For so many years, I blamed my mother for not being able to talk about what happened to me and for the memories that I repressed however, what we both came to realise in those words was that he was just as much to blame for both of us not being able to speak to each other.

Black women are burdened with carrying so much pain – it’s a curse.

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(Image source)

I watched the visuals for Beyonc√©’s album, Lemonade last night (finally (!) – if I’m honest, I’ve always been more a fan of her sister Solange – who to me was more woke and more real, however lately I feel like Beyonc√©’s been calling out to me lol). The visuals are stunning, but the lyrics and the spoken word parts are incredibly more resonating, because she speaks about Black female pain and its curse – the curse being that we as Black women are never permitted to feel pain. This is why Lemonade spoke to soooooo many Black women.

The exclusive world premiere of Beyonce's 'Lemonade' on HBO

(Image source)

I’ve often thought to myself, why did B stay with Jay-Z when he treated her so badly? He cheated on her, he caused her such psychological stress that she had multiple miscarriages. There’s a lyric that resonates with me in one of her songs, where she sings:

Let me see your scars/ show me your scars

Again, this is breaking the curse.

Yes, she could’ve left him, but then they may never have addressed their issues.

She had to stay with him, to compulse him to address his own issues, and this would’ve taken an incredible amount of stamina from both of them. But especially her. And the fact that he submitted himself to her, considering where he’s from and who he is, is again breaking that curse and breaking down so many barriers here not just in relationships, but for Black mental health simultaneously. Hopefully, they have finally re-created a relationship where both man and woman are now on the same platform, where man is no longer above woman, where woman is no longer inferior to man.

And I really do need to write up my piece on the self-care event I went to (I’ve been unwell, so I’m behind on my tings), because this is one of the things we discussed, and it’s also something my mum and I discussed, and why she couldn’t permit me to talk to her about certain things, for so many years. My mother would shut me down when I tried to open up to her about what my father had done to me, especially so when I was older and the repressed memories began to resurface. In fact, when my father left I originally went to a family friend about the abuse, because I couldn’t talk to my mother.

On Sunday, my mother apologised for not permitting me to address these memories with her, because she acknowledged that she hadn’t yet dealt with her own pain. Through prayer and therapy, she’s now done that and I’m incredibly proud of her because she’s broken the curse in our family. Just like Beyonc√© did. Beyonc√© had to allow herself to feel pain that perhaps no woman in her family had permitted herself to feel before. This then breaks the cycle of the curse, so that her own daughters will go on to have healthier relationships with themselves, as well as their significant others.

My mother has now permitted me to see her own scars, which is something that has not been done in our family before.

My mother had, and still does have a terrible relationship with her own mother, because of this curse, because it wasn’t broken. In fact, they presently have no relationship. My nan carried her pain; my mum carried her’s; both refused to acknowledge each other’s pain and address each other’s pain, until it festered into an incredibly abusive relationship and now they unfortunately no longer talk. I’ve come to realise that this is not uncommon within Black communities.

Hopefully, my mother and I can continue to progress down this healthy road of mother-and-daughter-relationship.

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

My Mother & I (Parentification)

My mind is spinning, and I’ve tried to do some mindfulness; I’ve tried listening to music. I cannot even contemplate reading. I have so many questions that my inner- child needs answering; that only my mother can answer, so I’m waiting for her to call (I’ve sent her a message, I’m not just idly sitting by the phone).

Black women are forced into adulthood so rapidly, that we leave childhood behind without a chance to say goodbye. It’s all the more brutal when there is abusive involved. We are forced into an adult role before our time, while still within our childhood years, in order to help out a parent. Psychology calls this “Parentification”. Therefore, although I’ve now had many years to find an adult identity, my inner-child is still screaming for answers:

Why did my parents have me? Neither of them were psychologically capable of parenthood; So why?

 

Why didn’t my mother deal with her trauma, in order to allow us to then deal with mine together?¬†

 

Why does my mother deny my abuse? My pain? She confirms my anger, yet constantly denies my own trauma. 

 

My mother has never shown me any gratitude for being the adult she needed. Her response has always been:

“Well I never asked you to”.¬†

She’s never shown me any appreciation for my sacrifices. When I use the word “appreciation“, I do not mean being thankful or regarding me as her saviour; I mean showing a true understanding of the situation we were in: that I was a child who was being abused by her father, yet I heard my mother being abused simultaneously, therefore, I would sit up each night listening to make sure my mother was still alive. Then when my father walked out, I was forced to step up and never got to have a life of my own. I never got to deal with my own trauma, or my own struggles either (don’t forget that I was living in a religious home at the time, privately struggling with my feelings of queerness).

Speaking to a close mutual friend a couple of days ago, it’s pretty clear that my mother may not only ever accept the parentification I was subjected to, she may also ever appreciate the sacrifices of my inner-child. During our last conversation, she blamed previous generations for mistakes made and the impact this has had upon us on a family, because there is clearly a pattern of the same mistakes of abuse, being made over-and-over-and-over again, to which I replied:

“well then you lot shouldn’t have had children”.

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She couldn’t argue with me then.

One final point I need to make: this close mutual friend mentioned that my mother rarely speaks about my father, or the abuse she suffered from him. This is one of my mother’s best friends. I call this woman Aunty – in fact, she’s like a mother to me. I go to her for guidance and advice as well as laughter and appraisal. She also constantly tells me off for swearing on social media!

My mother has known this lady for almost two decades.

My mother has been using it as an abusive weapon against me that I do no talk to her, when all this time hasn’t even been talking to her best friend. I knew that she did not talk to me (she became more restrained as I grew older), however I thought that it was for a number of reasons (e.g.manipulation), however I am surprised.

Yesterday, I went to an event on Self-Care for Black Women – which I will do a separate post on – and as Black women, we do carry a lot of pain because we don’t want to allow ourselves to feel it. Pain is so normal for us, we’ve actually forgotten to recognise its symptoms. We also do not talk to our own peers enough. My mother was subjected to abuse by her family as well as her husband, but she was coming to me for a listening-ear instead of people her own age.

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Image source

Do not stop talking Black women, as long as you are talking to the right people. 

XOXO