Okay, so a few people who read my blog and are in my life have decided to take offense because I write my life and the things that strengthen me here. Naturally my brother and his girl has got wind that I blasted my voice across the world wide web.
So what do I do…. do I silence my voice, and kow tow to what seems, in my opinion to be patent insecurities? Do I apologise because I spoke my truth?
I have spent so much of my life, trying really hard to be good to the people in my life, even when it was hard. I am, a generous person in spirit and with what I have. Everyone has their limits though, and I am not wrong because I choose to express my feelings. So when your generosity is met with unwarranted accusations of cruelty and unkindness, what do I do? What would you do?
I sat, I examined my heart. I thought, I worked it out in my mind
I remember my sister, my girl, my side, Keffi. I remember all the hard lessons I learnt about what friendship and love really mean.
When my sister was raped, I was the only person she let remain in her world, the only one she shared and told her story to. I was the only one who she let share her pain. That was hard.
A year later, when I was raped, she was the only one that I let near me, and we leaned on each other. Hard. I was the one who rebounded. My voice was never muted by the experience, I chose not to be silent about what had happened to me. I spoke the truth and I continue to. It gives me strength and it helps the people around me who have been through it. Yes, yes, I was raped. I was molested and damaged by people with twisted, bad wiring.
Keffi and I, we were scared little girls facing dragons and demons and nasty vile things that lurk in the wake of what she used to call “ultra-violence”. I was brave, so as scared as I was, I kept pushing and moving forward. I would hold her hand and lead her and I would fight my demons and dragons tooth and nail. Sometimes we would both just stay still and we’d cry and hold each until the really scary parts were over. That was hard, all that shit was hard.
Sometimes, she would push me away when I command her to fight for herself, not stop giving in when she wanted to crumble and wither in the face of her anguish and isolation. She never really found a way to live, she merely coped.
When my girl was cutting herself and crying into her glass of Smirnoff, dwindling down into alcoholism and self mutilation, she needed me to be her friend, and I did it. It was hard, but I did it.
She was always softer than I was, her wounds went deeper than mine and we were made of different stuff. I would hold up a mirror for her, and she would throw it down and push me away. We’d go months without talking, and it would hurt me, because I cared about her, you know. I knew even then that we were traveling mates.
I’d call her up, even when I knew her pulling away had nothing to do with me, and I’d tell her, “I love you. Just the way you are. Anytime you want to talk to me, I’ll still love you and I’ll always be here.” And I never gave up on her, because for me, when I love you, I’ll always love you, man, woman or child.
That was hard, but I did it. I did it, because I meant every word.
I wrote her story before, wrote her life and defended her and all women who are hurt and abused including myself and I published it. She was mad at me, at first. She told me that even though I hadn’t said her name, she knew it was her and she was sure other people would too.
“I fought for you.” I said to her, “I fought for you, when you wouldn’t even fight for you.”
She was silent, but still mad. For awhile.
We went on, and we lived good you know. We gave to each other. There were times when either one or the other had no food or no money and we would help. There were times in my life, when if it wasn’t for her I would have gone hungry (and even then her generosity was shared with my brother); we supported each other, and we had bumps and scrapes after that for sure, but we never lost sight of our friendship.
Keffi was my sister….. the only real deep friendship I’ve ever really had with another woman besides my cousin, Oyadele, that I think transcends the mere passing acquaintances that people pass off as real friendship. I learnt so much from her; in fact we learnt so much from each other, it all still resonates somewhere in me and therefore somewhere in the Universe.
Fifteen years she and I were friends. That’s a long time to love anyone.
When she died in 2000, all those lessons about love and friendship were crystal clear. I was, and still feel, more alone with her gone than I think I ever have in my life. You know, I have no other friendship, except that with Oyadele, that can really compare with it. However, I was not sorry she went. As much as I love her, and my life still has a hole where she was, because she was deep in the foundation of my support system. When she died, I was more glad for her freedom. I was glad for her liberation from her ongoing sadness, the weight of her life’s heaviness.
Although she had had two of the world most beautiful little girls in two years, and her daughters were the focus and joy in her life, she was still too sad near to when she died. She still struggled so much with the violence wrought on her and the aftermath of physic wounds, right up to the end. Nah, sistagal came to pay back karma. She came to ease forward, not leap and bound. The force of it; the silencing of her voice; the way her family never saw her, never acknowledged that she had been so deeply hurt; the rape, her continual incestual rape by her brother, all that shit…. turned her blood to poison. It was her silence that killed her. I never believed that lukemia shit they were talking about.
The night before she died, when they told me that is what they thought she had — lukemia, cancer — I prayed and I asked for her release. I asked God to save her life, if God couldn’t spare her life, then with all my heart I prayed for her to be free and to take her fast. I just thought, with all I knew, that it was an injustice for her to suffer more than she had. Cancer is a spiritual disease, that’s why they can’t quite figure it out. I knew lukemia in adults was almost always near fatal, I just didn’t want her to suffer anymore. She died during that night.
The last year, year and half of her life, we had a Friday evening ritual. We’d meet at a coffee shop on Barbados’ West Coast, smoke cigarette after cigarette and I think she was really prepared me for her death. I believe the soul knows when its time has or is coming and certainly in retrospect, our conversations were different, deeper, more significant somehow. It seemed very important that we not miss those limes.
We talked more about love, unconditional love; we talked about her daughters and about spirituality and the spiritual nature of life. She encouraged me to dream, she begged me to dream for her too.
She also begged me to help see her girls through. I agreed, you know, not knowing.
So now, when I have people who occupy a good deal of my day to day life and people who I love and care for, take such offense at me expressing my voice, I wonder. I have to wonder, what would a real friend do?
I choose to acknowledge that their choices hurt me, but I understand. I understand because, people push you away when their own pain and confusion doesn’t allow them to see or hear or deal with what’s real and what’s not. Sometimes, the only way to maintain your comfort zone is push away someone who only seeks the best things for you. I suppose people will believe and do as they please, just the way I do.
Good people do fucked up things, I always say. I know the value of forgiveness. I also am not afraid to admit that I am wrong, or express regret for how my own actions effect others.
The only thing I will never do, is silence my active voice, so other people can be comfortable. I speak the truth, because God helps truth tellers, and I need help in this life. So whether people take kindly to me expressing my life here, because they know I refer to them, then they shouldn’t read my blog. They also shouldn’t take it personally, because although what I say here may be about specific shit in my life, what I do here is about me.
Maybe the truth as I see it, just ain’t for them. I won’t apologise for my self-expression. I don’t think Keffi would think that was too cool. I can almost hear her voice telling me to speak the truth; admit my faults, and my own diffficulties, my own failings, but always speak the truth.
So I own my voice. I use it at my will, and the Goddess Room unapologetically stays. Let the consciousness stream…..
Today is a Coffee Friday, every Friday is Coffee Friday.
BLESS YOUR VOICE!