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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?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wrong? I don't think so. I wonuldn't want my kids (if and when I have them) to have to hear such comments either. honestly, just hte emotions they stir up are toxic and not a good influence. I think its wise to be just as protective over who you interact with as who you'd like your kids to interact with. toxic individuals leave icky residue with everyone they come in contact with. its best to steer clear. and just because they 're family doesn't mean they're worth the energy it'll take out of you to be around them.
    its always best to find and share your life with people who are tied to your heart, who nurish you, make you feel safe and loved. life is short, and people who drain you, hurt you, and don't make you feel loved aren't worth the time they ask for.
    follow you intuition on this one- don't worry about anything else...
    3075 days ago
  • SALINA78
    Julee I'm so sorry for all the pain you had to deal with.
    You are very smart to forgive (forgiveness is for ourselves!) and to stay away.

    3114 days ago
    I'm so sorry your family has subjected you to all this abuse. The healthy thing is exactly what you are doing, staying away from them! Yes forgiveness is important but does not mean you have to put up with anymore abuse. I have the greatest respect for you!
    3114 days ago
  • BOBBI1968
    I can't believe what your own family subjected you to growing up. I would do the same as you and keep my family away from that type of ignorance!

    3115 days ago
  • DANC783
    I feel your pain, and I know this has left a deep scare on your emotions. I can't tell you to forgive because the scare is there to remind you, but pray that God can let you rise above them. What kills your family is that the others have not discarded you, instead they have grown closer to you and it bothers them. They see that you are prospering in spite of your dark skin and they are envious. Pray for them, but also pray that you can raise above their ignorance.
    3115 days ago
    I'm with Nana, and you, on this one Juleebug...

    You can forgive those who have wronged and harmed you (though I want to pick up a big stick on your behalf), then move on. You don't need to subject yourself - and especially your family - to their brand of idiocy ever again.

    If you truly bonded with some of the members of the family, _choose_ to spend time with just them. Nurture the seeds that bear fruit, not weeds.

    There's people that you need to separate from - be they family or friend - because not only are they not on the same path as you, but they will do everything in their power to belittle you and drag you off of that path, and force you on to their narrow track.

    Separate to elevate.

    Spread your wings and fly like the amazing eagle you are.
    3115 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/12/2009 2:36:10 PM
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