Wednesday, August 12, 2009
A day or so ago, the Spark People's Healthy Reflection email contained the following quote:
Without forgiveness life is governed by...an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. - Roberto Assagioli
It's true, there is no doubt. It's also something that brought up a painful subject for me.
I am Native American. My mother doesn't show her heritage, but I do. When I was a kid, I lived out in the sun and my skin was a beautiful shade of very dark brown. My hair is curly and almost black.
My father and his immediate family were a bunch of bigots. His sister's husband liked to ask me ugly questions such as "how do you like your dog cooked, Julee" and "what kind of indian are you, nigahoe?".
Oh yeah and it didn't stop there. He urged his son and my own brother to call me things like 'blacky' and the n word above. Let's not forget the 'nappy' hair comments that riddled my childhood.
Another relative told me that "we lynch people like you". I was FIVE but I understood what lynch meant and I was afraid of these people. Needless to say, I developed anxiety disorders and fear disorders. I kept them well hidden, tho, because those people were like animals - if they smelled fear on you, they went for blood.
My own father stood there and said nothing one time someone asked me that ugly "what kind of indian are you...." question.
While I was in college, the son of the uncle mentioned above already had a terrible drug problem - one time when he was loaded on cocaine, he tried to rape me and told me he'd never had any 'dark meat' and wanted to see what it was like.
OK, fast forward to present day. My brother (who is blue eyed and blond) is now married to a blue eyed blond and they live in the same city as that uncle mentioned above.
A few years ago, at my brother's birthday party, said uncle was there. He was very neutral to my son, though he thought my daughter was cute (take a look at their pics - you'll see why) and when we were all leaving, he told me NOT JUST ONCE, but SIX TIMES "Hey Julee, did you hear that Al Sharpton buried the word N----- today?" I tried to ignore him, but he kept at it. Finally I said "yep, and they should have buried every idiot that USES that word along with it" HE got mad and was ready to go.
Brother and SIL have been urging me to go to family reunions with these people. They've called me unforgiving and hateful because I refuse to subject myself and my children to these people. My sister in law unfriended me on facebook and didn't talk to me for months. That hurt some.
My maternal grandmother (my beloved Nana) always told me "Juleebug, you can't choose your relatives, but you can choose your friends. You can choose who you want to hang out with no matter what."
I have chosen NOT to expose myself or my children to them.
I seriously don't hold a grudge! I am not feeling hatred or anger right now. I have considered the source. Like any wound, if I pick at it enough, I can dig up pain - but I choose not to. Ignorance is ignorance and you cannot teach something to someone who doesn't want to learn. So let them live in their stupidity.
Even though you have forgiven the fire for burning you, are you going to stick your hand back in the flame?
Am I wrong?