Saturday, April 24, 2010

Strong Black (Adopted) Woman Part One: The Whore

I've been avoiding posting. I hate coming off as some sort of negative Nancy (even though I am) but fuck it, my options are limited. Since my roommates bf doesn't seem to be following through on his offer of a spliff, escaping this reality isn't an option. Its either I write or end up hairless from tearing out my own hair.

This is my warning to anybody that may read this: this post may be triggering. Seriously, I need to unload some serious shit and some of its not so nice for the traumatized mind to deal with. I know, because I myself have read things that have had warnings, not paid them any heed, and ended up non functional for days. Do not read this if your soul is of a delicate nature. At the moment, I am suffering from insomnia and anxiety, so much so that I've stopped eating. I think the not eating part is fantastic seeing as I've already lost a considerable amount of weight...but I know better. Needless to say, my mind is not right. I may have gone a little crazy, but in my insanity I've found a brutalized clarity which is both honest and painful.

When I got sick, and was complaining about hospitals and how shitty needles were to a friend one time, he responded by proclaiming that I was a strong Black woman, and he was sure that I'd be fine. I was infuriated, and of course let him know. I was/am a strong Black woman because I had to be. I didn't have a choice in the matter, it was either live and fight another day or kill myself.

More recently while complaining to said friend about how completely fucked up I was, I got the response that no, indeed I wasn't and that I just needed to relax (or some such shit). That's when I snapped and asked:

"What the fuck do you really know about me? You don't have a fucking clue as to the extent of the shit I've had to deal with, so don't act like you know what you are talking about..."

He did have a clue. But apparently us Black women are incapable of human emotions, so anything that happens to us is no big deal.

I have no doubt that my reunion with my first family will be excruciatingly raw. Sure questions will be finally answered, but I will be forced to deal with the reality of my life. This may be good, but parts of this scare the bejesus out of me.

I first realized this fact after the discovery of my father and brother. My father turns out is a douchebag. He spreads his seed, but takes responsibility for none. From the little I've learned about him, he seems at the very least incredibly selfish and immature, and at the worst just plain cruel. But I expected that.

My brother on the other hand seems like a decent human being trying to navigate his way through this crazy world. To him I'm not just the sister he heard about, but the baby sister he had but then disappeared. My big brother remembers the baby that disappeared, and loved and missed her. And I don't know how to deal with that. Because I'm used to men being douchebags. I'm used to them being untrustworthy.

In all honesty, I hate men. What that declaration really means is a mystery even to me. Every man that has ever been in my life has done me wrong in some way or another, with maybe one exception. That exception was only because I did him wrong before he could do any real damage. To be fair, a more accurate word for what I feel might be fear. I fear men. As a woman who has only ever been with men, and probably will continue to be with men this serves as quite the dilemma.

Unfortunately, my fear in truth is of a specific type of man. The Black man. My brother is a Black man. My family is full of Black men. Not that I haven't been wronged by men of other races in my lifetime, but the fear I have of Black men is induced as a result of some serious trauma.

I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was there looking out for a friend while she had casual sex. It wasn't the first time I went along with her to make sure she was okay, to take a taxi with her home or give her a ride if I was driving. I'd sit on the couch and watch tv in some strangers house making small talk with people I rather not have to talk to while she got her jollies. No big deal. She was a big girl and could make her own decisions, and I could make mine. I worried about her sexcapades, but then in all honesty have had my own so I didn't feel the need to judge as long as she was ok with it all.

This time was different. Nothing about that night made sense. I remember being lead upstairs by one guy, then three grown men being on me. Me screaming for them to stop, me being held down, me crying, begging for it to stop. Me trying to persuade them to at least wear condoms. Always two holding me down. People coming in and out of the room. All men. I managed to escape, but couldn't find my clothes, so I locked myself in the bathroom and contemplated running to my friends apartment close by. The door. The door being broken open, me trying to close it...being dragged back to the room to endure more.

When it was all done I asked for my friend, we had to go. My friend was sleeping I was told. I shouldn't wake her I was told. I shouldn't worry about finding my clothes, they could be found in the morning. I cried. I fell asleep in the arms of one of my rapists.

I don't know why I am writing this. I've only ever told one person in detail the events of that night. That night. The events. The memory haunts me like a hostile spirit whom has not been properly laid to rest. Every damn day of my life I deal with what happened to me four years ago. Every time I get onto an elevator with a Black man by myself, or have to wait at a bus stop, or walk down the street. Instinctively my body reacts like the animal of prey in the presence of a predator. And I hate it. And I hate myself even more for even feeling and thinking the thoughts which go along with the uncontrollable actions of one who is afraid. How can one hate what they also love?

The first man I saw after the incident happened was my ex. A Black man. I cried to him, told him what had happened. He got mad and became physically abusive because I refused to sleep with him. The next relationship I got into was sheer stupidity on my part. I was desperate for a sense of security. I needed a big strong Black man to hold my hand and let me cry while telling me it was ok. To take it slow. That's not what I got. Instead this next man held me down too, and forced himself inside of me. I told him to get tested because of what happened, that I had contracted 2 STDs from my rapists, and that it hadn't been that long since I was advised to not have sex. I am stupid. I know. But I had just moved to a new city where I knew nobody.

Next dude tested positive for an STD. Obviously it was me who gave it to him. Obviously there could be no one else who could of done such a thing. He was oh so understanding about it though. Considering the situation, its not like it was really my fault. Then my results came back from the test I retook. Turns out I was clean. I.was.clean. His ex gave him the disease, not me. The drugs must have been in my system still, so I was fine. Followup tests, fine. Fuck you jackass.

The next man I dated, I dated out of spite to hurt the one man who never really hurt me, who was actually good to me. It was his best friend. We took it slow. Real slow. I adored him. I figured after waiting so long he must have to respect me. I waited so long because in honesty I needed to be 100% sure I wasn't HIV positive. I wasn't. We finally did the act...and...

When I finally got tired of the games, I came right out and let it be known that I wanted things to be serious. I explained to him why I made him wait...big mistake. If I had ever thought I had ever been anything other than a whore to him, a sideline ho that he called now and again for a booty call, I got my dose of Buckley's and recovered from that delusion.

This is my history. This is my life. Part of my life. A small part of my life. There are things that have happened to me in my past that I may never talk about openly. How will my first family understand? I'm afraid to meet my own brother because I don't understand what family is, I don't understand what having a brother is like, I don't get how people can love me, just because... My brother is a man, but he is my I love someone whom I hate? Or I hate someone whom I love?


Strong Black (adopted) woman....more like scared little Black (abandoned) girl.

The word whore should be in the dictionary as a synonym for damaged goods.

*Photo Credit via Revolvver


Viajera said...

I hope it won't freak you out that an absolute stranger is responding to your post. But I couldn't let it go without comment. As a women who has been in a similar situation (yes, I am a survivor), as a woman who did not grow up with a family structure , as a woman who has been abanadoned emotionally in the past because ppl in my life thing I`m indestructible, and as a woman who didn't grow up with any positive male figures in her life, I know where you are coming from.

You are hurting real, real bad and I think you need to get out of your own head. I don`t know all that you are feeeling, but I have a pretty good idea, having been there myself, and being fully aware that I am still dealing with my ìssues, though I thought they were left far behind. I would say that I don`t think that your `reclaimed` family needs to know EVERYTHING that has happened to you. Not right now. Not until you`ve built up trust.

And I hope taht you are seeking someone to talk to. For me, therapy was a 60-40 experience. But one thing is that I made sure to take the good things that I could and build upon them and try to use workbooks, positive self-talk and such to help me deal. I`m not there yet, but I`m working at it. Don`t stop working at it. YOU are worth it. When I read your post, esp. when you talk about not eating, my fear is that you will stop being functional. I lost about 20 labs in 2008 because of shit like this.

I know I just tried to give advice, but I suck at advice so I probably didn`t many any sense whatsoever. I`m a stranger, but I just want better for you.

black in alberta said...

I do not even know what to say.

I have a lump in my throat from reading this.

I hope things get better for you soon.

I'm also feeling a real sense of rage about how some men think they an treat women.

To be black and a woman is really a perilous "condition" to be in.

Kit (Letters To A Young Sista) said...

Hello Black Kitten Roar. This my first time visiting your blog and found it quite by accident. I read this post twice; the intensity and honesty in the way you express your feelings and thoughts leap out at me. I am so dreadfully sorry you have gone through so much pain. I don't know what else to say, other than I will be a regular reader after today.

Anonymous said...

I really don't know what to say either, only I wanted you to know I read this and am deeply affected by it: the pain and trauma you've experienced are so unjust. I admire you for speaking out. I hope meeting your brother turns out to be a good thing. (missinpiece)

BLACKkittenROAR said...

Thank you everyone for commenting. This was a very difficult post to write, but it had to be done. The reason its taken me so long to respond is that I've avoided going anywhere near this post because I was afraid of how I'd feel once I reread it. I finally did read it again for the first time a few nights ago, and I'm in shock at how powerful this post makes me feel. Writing this was really empowering, and really helped to get me out of my head, and talking to people who are close to me that I trust.

Thank you so much for commenting! I was very moved by your response, and am thankful for the advice. My experience with therapy has been much like yours. Immediately after it happened I made the mistake of talking to a male therapist. Men just don't seem to get it when it comes to sexual assault because for the most part it would seem, they don't have to. I avoided therapists for a few years, but I am now seeking out professional help, and hoping for the best.

black in alberta:
My blog sister. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for your rage. Things will never change for us afflicted by the condition of Black femaleness if we don't get angry and demand that things change. Your passion is inspiring, and I am thankful that you, and women out there like you exist and will not be silenced. You may not have realized, but you inspired me to begin this blog, and for that I am thankful, and I truly do look up to you.

Kit (Letters To A Young Sista):
Thank you so much for stopping by! It means the world to me that you enjoyed this post. Your blog has been absolutely instrumental in giving me the courage it took to write something like this. The rawness with which you write, the stark nakedness of truth, your strength and vulnerability is not only exceptionally beautiful, but inspiring too. Please never stop.

Thank you for always having something encouraging to say, I too hope that meeting my brother turns out to be a good thing. I am so thankful for the people I've had a chance to learn about since starting this blog, and I've especially enjoyed learning about you and your personal story. I admire you greatly, and you as well have inspired me with your courage. Thank you, a million times...thank you.

Shanel said...

I found your blog while at work---blog hopping and it was a blessing to read it.... this post is not only powerful... it's intense... real... transparent... emotional... I felt it because until I met my husband--- I had no idea what real love felt like...I had not known the love of a man at all... all the men in my life abused me either sexually or emotionally-- or just played those games... so I too am a survivor--- but a different kind--- love this post and I hope that as time goes on that you gain strength and bless many who read your blog and hear of your story.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

I found a way to read your compelling writing even though the type is White and the White photo behind makes the text illegible. I just have to cut and paste the text into Word and then I can read it with no problem.

I know what you mean about starting to write but not wanting to be negative. When I most need to write is when I feel the worst, when I feel like my head will explode unless I get the stuff out.

I’ve suffered from anxiety, insomnia and family-based PTSD so much that I stopped eating. Now, I’m at the other end of the eating spectrum, gaining forty pounds or so over the last year.

A have a psychiatrist friend who says that most of the people he admits to the psychiatric hospital are people who haven’t been able to sleep for days. Not letting people sleep is a well-known for of torture. That’s why after resisting for many years, I finally accepted to use an anxiety-relieving medicine that helps me to sleep.

I find that I CAN eat even at times of anxiety, if I eat what I want. If I want Sugar Pops, I eat that instead of not eating at all.
“Just need to relax?” Don’t these people understand that one of the most dramatic symptoms of what we’re going through is our inability to “just relax?”

Reunion with a birth family is a time when I would want to have a good therapist and a lot of support from my friends. Frankly, I can’t imagine anything more potentially stressful. On the other hand, it seems like you have an older brother who has been hurting for the loss of you (almost?) as much as you have for the loss of family.

When people tell me that “hate is a very powerful word,” I tell them that that’s why I’ve used it: to convey the level of anger I fear. Feeling a constant threat from others (fear) can also encourage us to hate them. I understand hate.

My father was sometimes a very intelligent and creative man who supported his family emotionally and financially. He was also sometimes a drunken sot who cried all night, interspersed with suicide attempts and breaking panes of glass out of the door with his bare fists. He could also be sadistic, intentionally causing pain to others in the way he knew would hurt the most, and then laughing about it.

Anybody who has one brother who is “a decent human being” is very fortunate indeed, even if it doesn’t make all of the other feelings go away.

I understand hating Black men, although I am a Black man myself. For years, I hated and feared women in general because of the way my mother and sister had treated me. Then, I realized that I feared Black women because in my family that’s the color that the women had. If I’d grown up in a white family where the behavior was the same, I’d probably have hated and fear white women or women in general.
That gang rape scene sound like something directly out of a horror movie. I’m sorry you had that experience.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

It will be a lot easier for you to sort out how you feel with each person if you meet with them separately, and if you meet in a restaurant they will have no chance to scream at you or physically abuse you. (I'm talking from personal experience, based on advice I got that has worked for me.)

It sounds to me like you really need specialized support around the rape and men issues, and you can probably get that support from your local women’s center, and/or from a survivors of rape self-help group. And from weekly counseling with a (female) therapist who understands these issues. My mother got the kind of help I’m suggesting to you and it helped her as well as our relationship in a big, big way.

Unfortunately, it sounds like the original behavior of taking your friend to have casual sex in environments where the felt afraid to go alone was a kind of behavior where you weren’t keeping yourself safe.

Therapists tell patients that the first thing they need to do is to establish safety in their lives, and that might mean staying away from relationships for a while and only testing the waters later with the help of a therapist, to help you to make better decisions about when to date and whom.
I personally took a full year off from all romantic encounters with women, because I finally saw that these encounters were just perpetuating the illness I had that made me recreate the pain that was so familiar to me.
(As soon as my year of celibacy was over, I married a woman totally inappropriate for me, so maybe I need three years of abstinence from dating relationships and everything associated with that, instead of just one year.)

Please talk about what’s happened with you with people who will understand, like survivors’ groups and Women’s Center therapists, and rape counseling therapists.

If you blurt out years of negative experiences to your new-found brother, you might mind that it’s overwhelming for him and for you. Tell what you need to say to people who can definitely hear it.

My wife says that the “friend” who took you to all of the those dangerous places so that she could have casual sex really isn’t someone you can call a friend. Who was going to protect YOU while you were protecting your “friend”?

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

When you say, “I don't know why I am writing this,” I think I know the reason. This experience is the foremost experience in your mind right now and if you don’t write about it then you’re really not writing anything about yourself at all. You might feel COMPELLED to tell your story to the world, as the only way of lancing the wound and letting some of the hurt come out. And letter others know that you understand why you feel afraid and even crazy sometimes.

You said, “Every damn day of my life I deal with what happened to me four years ago. Every time I get onto an elevator with a Black man by myself, or have to wait at a bus stop, or walk down the street. Instinctively my body reacts like the animal of prey in the presence of a predator”

This is what I call color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior. It sounds like you had an experience in which one of the foremost descriptors of the gang-rapists is that they had brown skin. Your mind and body react (or are aroused in the sense of grabbing your attention) to that setting of being around Black men, with the belief (ideation) that all Black men are dangerous and threatening , and then you feel fear and hate (emotions).

You said, “Every damn day of my life I deal with what happened to me four years ago. Every time I get onto an elevator . . . ” If you avoid Black men or are strangely attracted to the most abusive ones, then that, I think, is an example of color-aroused behavior. We seek or avoid based on skin color. I was afraid of Black women because my sister was a Black woman and she wasn't good to me when I was a child, much younger than her.

I would encourage you to take it slow with your birth family; meet them one at a time in a public place, like a restaurant; make arrangements to spend time with your close friends before and after the 90-minute encounter with your sympathetic brother, and later other family members.

Ms Beauty Soul said...

Sorry to hear that this happened to you. I understand your frustrations at the whole myth (I call it that anyway) of a strong black woman. People say it like its a compliments but it almost negates the fact that we are complex beings that hurt and suffer and break down too...

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