Trigger Warnings: Brief and non-detailed mentions of Child sexual abuse, Gaslighting, Trauma
Forced Positivity is how others pave my road to Hell. “Good vibes only” can turn inwards so I downplay how rotten I feel to avoid being interrogated about why I don’t join in their fun. The stereotype of the fat and jolly person definitely feeds into this, as well as the Black and smiling woman/femme stereotype. As much as I share on Instagram & my blog, it is only the tip of the iceberg you can see. Forced Positivity hurts me, and when I ask people to stop doing that, it ALWAYS goes badly, regardless of how polite I request. Not only do people not want to know about the effects of abuse that Survivors have to live with, but they happily guilt-trip and gaslight me when I speak up about their behaviour.
Trauma Anniversaries can be any day of the week, month or year. The abuse and violence I survived happened on most days, but the days that stick out the most are when others expected me to celebrate and pretend everything was just dandy. It was 15 years ago when I stopped freaking out every single Sunday evening at 7:00pm. It’s a specific time when one of my sexually abusive sisters used to get me alone. I believe that it was the easiest date to deal with as a survivor, because nobody was forcing me to be happy on a Sunday. I haven’t been able to do the same with Christmas and my Birthday yet, and that is mostly because other people make such a flipping big deal out of those dates.
Trauma Anniversaries and Forced Positivity become deadly partners when the trauma occurred on a day of celebration. For those like me who have zero contact with my family, it can still feel incredibly lonely despite of all the pain that day brings. I miss cooking Christmas dinner for others; the noise of my nephews and nieces, and the yearly chance to seeing my Uncle Les who was a good man. I miss the fantasy that I belonged somewhere; that I had a family who loved me. It is incredibly hard to let that fantasy go, and it’s even harder when most Black folk and People of Colour believe family is everything, despite how dangerous they are…
Listen to survivors when they tell you they don’t want to take part in any activity you happen to love. Don’t call us a Scrooge, Grinch or Killjoy. When I don’t want to celebrate, it will take away exactly ZERO percent of your fun. Don’t try to cheer me up, don’t brush it off or tell me I should be over it by now. If you want to give me a gift, use the money and make a donation to a charity for Survivors of Abuse or to a refuge. Just stop being a wanker and leave me alone when I ask you to.