Being reunited with a former lover has made me think about some of my past relationships. It's made me think about the time and context spent not just with him, but with others. Being an historian, it has also made me think about how we remember relationships not just what we remember.
How we remember and make sense of relationships and recount history is never neutral. While most historians use primary documents to recount history, which documents we use, will determine the outcome of our thesis. For example, if I only read the journals of slave women then I will only have their understanding of their relationship with the slave master's wife. Then there are the slave women that couldn't write, and whose version of memory in the oral form do I use to help me write that history? And what real meanings are lost in the translation from oral to written history? And then, if I read the slave masters wife journals also, how will that help to shape my conclusions about the slave and slave masters wife? Historians looking for more than one truth will use multiple sources to write the story.
Society is quick to label a girl "fast" and the girl has no clue of what it all means. I undressed for my big brother every day at lunch time, but I had no idea what semen, or an orgasm was. For years I just knew that there was some kind of tingle I got when he touched me and I knew that he deposited this wet stuff inside of me that seeped out when I went to the toilet and made my panties wet. I had no idea what it all meant. But make no mistake, I enjoyed my "special relationship" with my big brother. I didn't even know that I was being hurt, even though I could feel the pain each time his 19 year old penis entered my 9 year old vagina.
While, I can be authentic with many areas of my life, why do I find myself when it comes to a relationship, sometimes crafting from what society wants to hear rather than in absolute truths. Now don't be confused I tell a whole lot and I NEVER lie. But somewhere along the line, sometimes I hold onto, simply because of judgments. I also find that it's easier to tell the truths of relationships years ago, but those close to me in history I hold onto. Is it because I want people to say she is no longer the woman that got her to HIV, but in reality I am that same woman that got me to HIV. I can no more cut that section off and expect to live, like I cannot cut my heart out and expect to live. If I box me into parts I will not be whole.
So why do we distort our history to be in relationships with people when in its reality the relationship is crafted out of falsehood? Just something to think about? What are the truths in your life that you deny in order to be "accepted" by others.
Postscript: Crafting history from our hearts, rather than our truths coming next....