I’ve said it once, twice, three times I think, that this literature class is life changing. It’s going to be the awakening of me, I’m sure of it. It already has been.
I want to make this brief, concise, and to the point.
But It’ll probably spray all over the place like a Fire Hose on the ground, so you know, clench your teeth, give me your pity face, and just nod in agreement.
A lot of my therapy is bringing up things from my past I thought I was “getting over”. Or things you know, that I acknowledged happened and that I thought I were over. Apparently I wasn’t. Last night it hit me like a ton of bricks and for the first time in three or four years I cried myself to sleep over memories I thought I hardly gave two shits about. So it’s been rough.
Finding answers is rough. Trying to understand who you are is rough. You know, that identity crisis seen in Borderline Personality Disorder isn’t that abnormal if you think about it. Even the extent it reaches isn’t that abnormal. There’s a reason many people diagnosed with the disorder have had past trauma or often grew up with an alcoholic as a parent.
Two women came and spoke to our class today about historical trauma. One woman shared the fact that her grandfather’s sister was put into a boarding school for Native Americans back in the day and was forced, along with all the other children, to watch another little girl receive a punishment by being mauled and raped by a dog. Well if that’s not traumatizing, than I don’t know what is. These were children stripped from their homes and forced into a way of life, into a uniform, into a narrow mind, all under the name of God, in the name of Manifest Destiny, in the name of American society. This is a fact, not a judgement and not a personal attack just for anyone who feels the need to argue.
They were taught that you don’t speak unless you were spoken to. I was also taught that.
I was taught “children should be seen and not heard”.
It explains why I’ve never felt safe. The person who raised me didn’t either. Neither did his mother or her mother or her mother’s tribe.
Well, My family is full of historical trauma then, isn’t it? If my father is African american and his grandmother is Cherokee, well fuck me I’m just a clusterfuck of trauma, aren’t I? It explains why he grew up the way it did, It explained why my grandmother grew up the way she did, and it explains why I now live in a house with an alcoholic with a 30+ year track record. My grandmother picked cotton. She had eight kids. She disciplined them with belts and had violent relationships with other men. My uncles don’t have the same father. My last name, of which is French, is from a man who was in a few year relationship with my grandmother and happens to have no blood relationship to my father. My real last name is Ware. That’s not French.
My father never got his name changed. He’s thought about it, but hasn’t yet.
I might. In fact, the more I learn of my history, the more I learn to respect it and to be proud of it. I’ll change my name, I don’t give a shit what people think. I want it to reflect who I am and where I came from, regardless of whether my biological grandfather also drunk himself to death.
I’ve been searching for roots to my social anxiety disorder for a long time. And, as you can tell, I think I’ve found it.
The native woman who spoke to us tonight say it takes four generations to heal. Well, guess who’s the fourth generation after some crazy trauma? This chick right here, sitting all straight at her desk, excited like a child on a rollercoaster, ready to fucking punch someone in the face for calling her a pussy because she screamed on the ride.
I know people like to get hung up on the percentage amount of Native in my blood, and in all Native’s blood, and we talked a lot about that tonight as well. But let me ask you this: have you ever been asked what percentage white you are? No, so then lay up off us. We’ve been slaughtered, there aren’t that many “full bloods” left. Secondly, it’s a culture, it’s a set of value systems, not a blood quantum, not a card issued by the American government. Educate yourselves, please.
I never went to ceremonies as a child but I did have some of the spiritual values instilled in me.
I don’t know man, I’m just so . . . enamored. About everything. About life, about love, about spirit, about nature, about everything and everyone and anyone. Because I’m finally learning who I am.
You know, when people called me Mexican in school, or assumed I was, I never really countered with a “oh, I’m black, or oh I’m white, or oh I”m native”, I just told them to shut the fuck up, I’m mixed. And it’s true, I’m mixed. But I never had a cultural value or anything growing up, I didn’t know who I was and so how could I fight all those people who seemed so confidant in knowing who I was?
It’s a crazy world out there kids.
Now, what I gather from all of this? Well, my anxiety may have a slight bit to do with neurotransmitters but that’s a direct result of how I developed. My so-called “chemical imbalance” was caused, it didn’t come out of no where, it was caused. And in today’s American society where “mental disorders are on the rise” or whatever stupid shit they claim, we forget to give understand towards environment and who we are as humans, not just sacks of meat with cells.
How do people in American society know who they are when America doesn’t even know it’s own identity?
We start American history when Columbus sailed the ocean.
We tell our children when they take field trips to missions that colonialism started because the people who came over here saw vast land and no one on it.
Sarah Palin said she wants all the foreigners gone, including the Native Americans who can go back to Nativia.
Well just poke me in the eye with a hot pin, ride me like a donkey, slap my ass and call me Johnny; I’d like one ticket to NATIVIA PLEASE. PLEASE SARAH PALIN, ID LIKE ONE TICKET TO NATIVIA.
I mean people, really. Just sit and think about it for a little, especially if you’re American and especially, especially if you’re American with an ethnic background.
If you are a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a therapist, a social worker . . . and you don’t understand or care to understand the culture of your client than do us all a favor and just walk over to your nice, comfy fireplace that you installed in your house after the Prozac company gave you a surprise bonus for making your millionth prescription, blow dust from your credentials, stare at it lovingly, smile at the memories of why you got into psychology, at all the parties you attended in college, how you woke up from a hangover outside of the deans office and scrambled to make it to your last final of the semester before he caught you, and burn the fuck out of it. Burn it. BURN IT. You don’t deserve it.
And if you’re a psychiatrist who thinks you’re so fucking amazing that you hardly took any psychology courses in your undergrad and graduate years, don’t even talk to me. Just . . . just fuck off, really. You’re not in touch with people as humans, you’re in touch with people as patient and doctor and that’s creating a hierarchy that only further perpetuates bullshit in this society. So fuck off.
I feel I’ve been guided all my life. Not by God, not by my parents, not by my peers, not even fully by myself, but by the mere subconscious memory of my ancestors, of their spirits. Everything in my life, no matter how tragic, has always had a bit of supernatural mystery to it. Things just fall into place somehow. Things are always a coincidence. I just happened to find this psychologist, the first one who happened to mention my cultural background and then just happened to say eh, I’m going to take this Native class because why the hell not?
There are more examples I can’t think of right now. But regardless, I feel I’m on the right path now. I’m slowly understanding who I am, where I’m from, and this class has helped me cope with my social anxiety disorder more than any avoidance tactic ever has.
I thank my professor for that, and any mysterious ancestors that may be watching over my shoulder right now saying, yes! She’s finally got it! Yes! Yes! Yes!
But probably in a Native Language I wouldn’t be able to understand if I heard it.