Every now and then I take Rihanna’s advice and shine bright like a diamond. I was conditioned early on to be fearful of being my most talented, expressive, intelligent, humorous self, because it often invited negative attention from others who wanted to prove I wasn’t “all that” even though I didn’t care one way or another. So, I just kept it to myself.
But, now that I have released myself from the commitment to adhere to the behavioral patterns I developed over the years, that do not serve me, I shine when I want to shine. And that’s that. The more I spend time doing the things I want to do for myself, the more I feel I shine and with very little to no effort (socially, that is).
And then last night happened… I was at a social gathering a friend of mine was hosting and I really felt alive. Everyone spoke English, so I was able to shine in ways that I haven’t been able to in a long time. My wit and sass came out of hibernation to hold court for the willing. And I loved it. I felt as though I was connecting with everyone and since I have been practicing consciousness and mindfulness, I often feel almost no insecurity. I did my best to do the things that I appreciate; help the host, start conversation, make people laugh, provide a playlist, and most importantly, make sure everyone feels included.
The universe had a bit of a surprise for me, though. At the end of the night, we left a party and I expressed that I wished I had gone to another party because I think it would have been more fun and more suitable to my taste as an adult who wants to do more than move back and forth to loud music in a public place. This seemed to offend a member of the group, who responded with, “if you didn’t like being here so much, why were you touching my dick all night?”
The group is mostly Gay American Collegiate Males. The youngest being 21 years of age…. I am 30 years old.
Back to the story.
I was very surprised when this young man fixed his mouth to say this to me, because I literally had not even shaken this man’s hand. As a matter of fact, I think I was close to this man for a total of maybe 5 minutes over the course of 5 or 6 hours. As a matter of fact, I think he crossed my mind maybe 3 times over the night. I don’t mean this in a rude way, but it’s just fact. So, when he opened his mouth to make such a strong, public accusation, I was in shock. As you can imagine.
I was in such shock, that I began to defend myself, something I don’t usually do, because…. I don’t have to. But, I couldn’t believe it. As I did so, his friends laughed at me, one tried to pick a fight with me, telling me I should leave.
I should leave?
Nigga… for what? Because you’re white socialized American friend just falsely accused me of sexually harassing him? I should leave? Literally no one so much as asked a question, batted an eye. Everyone just adjusted their brains to auto pilot and continued on. It felt surreal. I couldn’t believe it was happening and that it was unfolding so quickly.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, years ago, this would have deterred me from social interactions. I would think, “I don’t want to try anymore, because I don’t want anything like this to happen again. I don’t want to hurt in this way again, so I will protect myself.” It’s true, I do not want this situation to happen again. But, I will not go into hiding. I was being my best self that night. Considerate, funny, caring. I will not stop because my honesty inspired negativity in this child. I refuse to let someone else shape my image of myself. This man’s accusation has nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. I know who I am, I literally ask a man for permission to kiss him. I actually did it earlier that night with a man, with whom I was enjoying time at the party. I asked. He said, “not yet”. So, I waited.
It feels a bit sad to me that the people I have the most in common with on paper, are the ones who created a problem with me. Gay American Males. Black Women From The Islands. If there were a character analysis based on our life circumstances, one would think, that me and these people would get on swimmingly. I’m not sure someone would guess, that in THIS group, I would be falsely accused of sexual harassment. Initially, it hurt so much because, I was honestly just so excited to make friends. I was so grateful. And though, I have no proof, so I can’t make an official accusation against my accuser, as he did me, it feels as though this was an act of insecurity. It felt that my shining combined with my interest being placed elsewhere offended him. And it’s situations like that, that in my childhood, would have inspired me to hide. But, I won’t. I will not. So many thoughts run through my mind, would that have happened if I were white? How did he feel so comfortable creating this false narrative? Why did literally no one question it? But, I learn to silence these thoughts, because they do not matter. They are not my business. You cannot stop me. Stop stopping yourself.
I accept that the situation took place. But, I will not develop behavior that hurts me, to cope with it. And if anything, this was a pleasant experience, I’m glad I got the opportunity to learn how this group of people behave is such situations, the first day I met them, because I know that I am not interested in surrounding myself with this behavior. And I learned it on day one. Not months after bonding, and getting to know each other. Day One. Done.