My grandmother taught me to be resilient
To square my shoulders in the face of adversity
To be a pistol, provider, partner
My grandmother taught me to dismiss pain
So I stood continuously in a dark space, beating my heart until it was silent
Daring it to speak a word
It was black and blue until it turned into stone and I’d rather feel it harden underneath my skin then to feel any weakness within
I transformed into her projection, a strong woman with wit to match, broken on the inside with shame attached to my soul
Words unspoken, too invested in saving face
This pain is heavy but the responsibility of being a strong black woman is heavier
My father died when I was 16 years old. I remember that day so vividly. One day he was there, the next he was gone. I remember how he left that day. He stormed out and I felt the vibrations of the door he slammed behind him. I was happy he left. The anger and rage I felt was too much for my heart. He’d caused me pain for much too long.
The pain I felt that day was incomparable to the pain I felt when I didn’t hear his knock at the door anymore. Or the pain I felt when I didn’t smell his cologne or see him lying in his favorite spot.
I regretted that day ever since, happy to see him leave. I relive the memory every time a door closes. When a relationship ends, when I am left alone. I feel the vibrations of the door. The words that were left unsaid always linger in my mind. Wishing that I wouldn’t have been so happy.