Rehearsal almost broke me.
Rachael and I were working on the scene where I finally break up with her and I began to shake and shiver and sob. It was the first time in a year that I let someone see me that way, vulnerable and scared. I was scared of feeling something I was unprepared for. When I am purposefully entering a territory that I know will cause some kind of reaction from me then I feel more in control and will allow the emotion, but the hurt that this scene elicited caught me off guard. In front of Ty and Rachael I cried and then attempted to pretend that everything was okay, that I wasn’t really feeling anything and that we should go on.
“What are you remembering?” asked Ty.
“I don’t know, I just don’t know.” (Long pause, hard stares) “I guess that this is the way we broke up, it’s kind of the same thing and I’m reliving it in a play.” There were try-to-hugs and consolations moments later, then words like, “time dear, time. you can use this for the scene. let it out.” I went home exhausted.
At work the next day I was a motley of emotions and unsure what to do. I knew that it wasn’t just the breakup that was getting to me, it was the election, the stress of the play, my relationship befuddlement compounded into an upset like Seattle felt when the Seahawks lost the superbowl.
The trigger: The week before the end of our relationship
Why: This is exactly one year ago since then
What: Her mother called me a nigger. Her mother said I was a manipulative bitch. Her mother never once said one good thing about me except to tell her daughter that I am prettier than her. Her mother is the most hateful person I’ve ever met and I let her daughter get away with a lot of things because of this fact.
“Oh, she’s just this way because of her mother so I’ll just let this one thing slide. Just one more thing,” and things slid, slid, slid with absolutely no end.
How: could I let someone take advantage of me I wondered? How could I not have said anything, not even at the very end?
Where: am I going?
Who: will I need to stand up to next? There were a million reasons it hurt and one of them was because I was feeling achy in my skin again. I had heard something about Barack earlier in the morning and was reminded of my blackness again. Someone had called him a nigger and I had somehow felt personally attacked. When I thought about my relationship and my skin, I remembered that my relationships have always felt wrong because of the difference.
I have always dated white people and in my two longest relationships I never felt accepted by my significant others families.
I cried for acceptance. I cried for a love that I’m constantly pushing away.
I called Riri and Raleigh because that’s what I do when I need immediate love, immediate reminders of how special I am. They laughed into the phone. They laughed because they knew if they laughed, I would. They were right. “Push your cheeks up they said, just push them up for a few minutes and you’ll be fine. Remember, when things are rough you can always laugh.” I stopped crying and blew my nose one last time. Made a promise to myself that things will never be the same, I won’t be ashamed of my skin and I won’t let them shame me and I won’t take the blame even if they blame me.