That was different. I’ve been to two grief rituals held on a university campus where you have to go home in the evenings. This was deeper, more intense, and more valuable. I’ll be back. I’m bringing my kids. Noah can come if he chooses.
There is stuff that is worthy of learning from this woman. Sobonfu has perspective on life. It isn’t that she has “all the answers” because there is no such thing. But she’ll help you look at your life. She doesn’t need to hear all of your grief. She can talk to you about how to shape a container for carrying it anyway.
She talks about many different kinds of grief and gives you opportunities to feel communion and support for people who have grief that is nothing like yours. This world needs more of that.
As usual, lots of us white folk were all, “Oh shit are we appropriating assholes?” (Phrased with more tact.) She said that her village (in Burkina Faso–specifically from the Dagora tribe) has sent her out into the world to share this knowledge and they are glad we are listening.
I thought about a lot. I thought about things I didn’t expect to think about, exactly, because that is how grief flows.
When I carved forgive onto my arm I wasn’t sure what or who I needed to forgive. There is this theme in my life. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Who? For what? Why? How?
I need to forgive myself for being born. For being an unwanted burden from the moment of conception.
That is a wound on my soul. Knowing that I wasn’t wanted from the moment of conception eats at me. It lives under all of the other feelings of worthlessness and despair. I shouldn’t be here.
Forgive me for not being good enough to die when I should have.
Noah and I talked last night about my suicide attempt. I don’t feel I need forgiveness for that. I was trying to get out of a nightmarishly hard situation. I tried suicide before I tried prosecuting my father and I don’t feel bad. I don’t feel bad about hurting my mother or sister or brother or Auntie or uncle Bob with that suicide. If y’all were hurt by how badly I wanted out of life that is at least partially your fault and I don’t care.
Am I sorry I survived?
I wouldn’t have Noah. I wouldn’t have my kids. I think the world would be ok without this family unit. But since I didn’t die I’m really grateful I get to be here.
This is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
But I don’t believe in “It Gets Better.” Sometimes. For some people. Don’t count on it.
I thought a lot about the deals I have made with my cunt. I thought about the core belief I have that unless I am servicing someone else’s sexual needs… I have no value. I thought about the core belief that if someone wants to hurt me with sex… maybe that is just how it is supposed to feel for me.
Shouldn’t sex be burning pain? Isn’t that what sex is?
Forgive who for what?
I don’t know how to forgive myself. Sobonfu told me that when I forgive myself I will feel free. I feel like I am bowed under the weight of a huge burden. I cannot even stand up straight let alone feel free. I am buried under the weight of expectations and woundings I can barely name, let alone untangle, let alone set down.
I feel so sad.
I feel ashamed of the things I can’t be supportive of.
I feel ashamed that I am so small and so needy.
I am not generous. I am not giving. I am stingy and paranoid and selfish.
Noah and I are probably getting closer to rules we can live with. I wish I felt good about them. They are highly asynchronous and that feels terrible. I shouldn’t have bits of freedom he doesn’t have. Even though he has bits of freedom I don’t have. Even though he doesn’t experience the same burdens and problems I feel.
I shouldn’t ever have anything better than anyone else. I’m not worthy.
I appreciate very much that the Dagora tradition talks about how you need to forgive yourself. You need to grieve. You need to commune with your ancestors. And you need to forgive yourself. Forgiving other people is… less the point.
I have feelings.
Sometimes I feel like I am swimming in an ocean of grief and the waves keep swamping me. I will go down soon and there will be no recovery.
Going to these grief rituals shows me that there are currents in the ocean. There are other creatures being moved by these same currents. Even though it feels so overwhelming and so terrifying and so overpowering… I’m not alone. I can see them. Sometimes I can even stretch out my hand and feel the strands of their hair as they slip past.
I don’t know that we can help each other… but we aren’t alone.
Is that enough?