I’ve always found the phrase forgive or forget to be too simplistic to ever serve as a go to for resolving conflicts or getting over a transgression. I think at the heart of it ,it is asking the wronged to erase the episode in one way or another. Make it blank , clear it out of one’s history. And I’ve found that I have never been able to do one or the other as simply as it has been prescribed. I don’t really forget shit and forgiving is funny to me cause some shit can never be forgiven really. Even when you say it is. We’re taught to let things go by erasure not by actually working thru said event and learning from it what is necessary for our growth. You should never forget your history. And to forgive a trespasser is to easily allow your violation in the future. It is these thoughts that have permeated my conscience as of late. It’s forced me to examine my life, my relationship with my family, the estrangement that doesn’t exist as a full separation, the guilt I experience for daring to own these feelings, the betrayal I feel for my people, my culpability in my pain.
Long before I was instructed that last time to leave my mother’s house at 20 years old, I knew that my home wasn’t really mine. I knew that as myself I was not wanted in that space to be whoever I really was. I had been told in so many ways before all my laundry hit the world that in order to ever live in the world as myself, unafraid, able to explore, able to be, that I could not be me and live in my house . Could not be me and live with my family. That in fact the only way I would ever find any semblance of identity, I would have to sever ties with the unit in which I grew up in. It’s funny you know to me I can never forget these times, can never forget all the fights, all the arguments, all the tears, all the blunts , all the drinks , all of the fuckery . And yet those who were there, those who were the causes and the effects can paint such a different history. The delusion can be so intense that you start to feel like you’re crazy or you’re over exaggerating. But lives lived in past that led to roads unheard of assures you, you weren’t safe in Kansas.
The funniest thing to me that I’m sure others won’t understand is that I get it. When the vitriol was so intense , when fists accompanied the many arguments , when you cried so hard your whole body hurt, when you left with nothing but a Sundress on and garbage bags, destination unknown, you’d think I’d be incredulous to how those who said they loved me could throw me out. But I don’t. I get it. My deviance was evidence of a failure, it was a new fear, it sparked all manners of ignorance and it was a pest that wouldn’t and couldn’t be shaked. It was one thing to be a faggot but quite another to believe you was a bitch. It was heartbreaking to see that big Black boy with so much brains become a tranny. Give up all his possibilities, shatter any vestige of respect and power he could’ve had and become the biggest joke going since the idea of an American Dream. The nerve of he who refused to accept that he could never be a she. WHAT FUCKING PART OF THAT DON’T YOU GET!!!!!! YOU CAN BE AS GAY AS YOU WANT BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A BITCH. YOU’LL BE THE UGLIEST GIRL EVER. YOU’RE A MAN . YOU CANT BE ME!!!! GET THAT BITCH SHIT OUT YA LIFE. I DON’T WANNA BURY YOU. YOU EVER SEE ANY OF YALL BE SUCCESSFUL? WHO RESPECTS Y’ALL? YOU’RE TOO BIG. YOU BREAKING MY HEART.
It’s been years since those words came outta those mouths. I exchange I love you’s at the conclusion of calls with folks who echoed those words. I’ve visited the home maybe 3 times in the last 9 years or so. I haven’t done a holiday in a long time with them and I go at it a solo affair. The words nowadays reek of a so called new enlightenment. Its gingery and clingy and guilt tripping. It’s WE MISS YOU. I WANT TO SEE YOU. IT’S (OLD NAME) I MEAN (NEW NAME) nervous laughter. OLD NAME comes up again almost as sure as the conflation of gay and trans and the idea that I would’ve had so many options at a bar that had Gay Night. It’s me conscious of someone trying , it’s hearing remorse even if history is revisionist, It’s me understanding the old and ongoing fears related to having a Black transwoman in your family, that one who used to be a son , a brother, a nephew , a cuz, a grandson ,never able to extricate the memory of that boy . That sweet boy who read books , who loved to eat and cook. The boy ya’ll had big hopes for. The boy that in many ways sometimes I wish I could’ve been. And not only boy but straight and confident and married and with kids and able to be a shining fucking example of a nigga who escaped the statistics and made his momma proud. And shat on this AMErican instrument designed to keep us fucked up and to send us to our graves early and to be an ambassador for the continued destruction and genocide for my people. I feels all of that and then some. But at the heart of it all , one can’t ignore who they are, you can’t lie about the history that is the present and Home will never be home again after they take it away.