Last night, I had a conversation with my ex who felt some kind of way that I still choose to tell his chapter of my story — almost 5 years later. I thought I was doing something admirable by holding myself accountable and not painting a total victim portrait.
He asked if it was “my new identity”. That kind of threw me for a loop, because it never occurred to me that there was an expiration date on its relevance.
He proceeded to “remind me” about the other more “relevant” things I have going on in my life. It was an effort, I think, to dismiss the gravity of his participation in an awful time in my life (that has had dire consequences on my physical health — lingering to this day).
Oh, he also claimed that he was “worried about me”, because I still choose to still speak on it. Fuck you, dude.
It reminded me of white folks’ favorite rebuttal when Black folks bring up slavery: That happened a long time ago. Get over it.
His effort to gaslight me, and the significance of my story really got me thinking.
I own my story and my feelings. And I can’t dismiss that the events that transpired nearly five years ago have had a lasting impact on my physical health. I have a chronic illness that is exacerbated by stress. I think it goes without saying that caused me immeasurable stress — any my body let me know.
And that’s relevant.
So, I have to tell my story sometimes. It provides a frame of reference. And I own it.
As a Black woman, for example, slavery isn’t my identity. It happened, it was awful, and its truth needs to be spoken.
The same goes for my story. Apologies if your chapter makes you feel some kind of way.