Don’t Ask Me to Forget | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Don’t Ask Me to Forget

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Funmi F. Franklin

People offer apologies when they are truly sorrowful about actions or feelings that they have created in another individual (or likely to themselves). So, when I am asked why I often speak about my abuser and why I don't take his "feelings" into account, I cannot fathom any form of reaction and certainly no apology.

I'm not apologetic.

While I certainly understand that those who know him and love him don't want to be reminded of how vilely he treated me, I simply can't silence my voice to make them comfortable. I can't sacrifice my purpose—the very reason why this happened to me in the first place—just so that they don't have to face the fact that the man they hold in high regard once lived a demonic existence. Face it. It happened, and it happened to me.

As a result, I have to live with the repercussions of being a victim. I was a victim of constant abuse—verbal, mental and physical. I was a victim, like many, who loved a man with all my whole self who didn't love himself. We were so caught up in the love we made up that we never stopped to realize that neither of us truly understood love. We were incapable of loving ourselves and thus, could not begin to offer true love to anyone else.

He was broken.

He was hurt and abused himself.

He was ignorant. He had no idea that he was not whole.

I was far from whole myself. Certainly, a person who is whole would not have endured years of abuse just because a person says he loved me. For that, I accept accountability. For that, I do not blame my abuser. For that, I blame myself. I have been told by domestic-violence victims that I should not blame myself or consider that I asked for it in any fashion. I don't believe I asked for it, but it doesn't mean that I have to close my eyes to the reality that had I been in a place of self-love, I would have been equipped enough to walk away.

Asking me to think of him and who he is today isn't fair to me. Honestly, I hope that he is better. I hope that he has forgiven himself and found a way to push through the hurt that any rational-minded human being would feel after creating such devastation in another person's life.

But my journey does not tie into his anymore. My path does not exist because of him any longer. The point in which our connection crossed is way behind me; however, the hurt and pain it created has become a part of who I am. Don't ask me to forget that. To do so would be to forget who I am, and it would mean ignoring my very reason for living.

I fully embrace the fact that I was meant to be beaten and called every horrific name a woman can be called. I am certain that I was supposed to be humiliated and embarrassed. I am confident that I was meant to doubt love and life at some point. Otherwise, its truest treasure would be lost on me. I would not be able to touch the lives I bump into. I would never be able to sing songs of pain and recovery. These songs burn holes in women who find themselves in the same pain, the same struggle, the same confusion that once plagued me.

I would never be able to look in the mirror at the scar over my right brow where my head went through the windshield of the car driven by the man who thought he could drive and punch me at the same time. That scar is a constant reminder that although at one time in my life I was a victim, I am now a soldier. I am an advocate for self-love, self-awareness and self-pride. In order to get that type of understanding of life, one must first learn the balance of not having it.

I'm not sorry that it hurts you to know that this man caused my life this much pain. You should know it. You should revel in knowing it. You should acknowledge that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes one man's mistake is another person's power.

He may have stolen all that I had in my heart at one time. I took it back and much more. I turned his hurt into my strength. I turned his brokenness into my voice. I turned his anger into my ammunition. I will never apologize for it, but I am thankful.

Funmi "Queen" Franklin is a word lover, poet and advocate for sisterhood.

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