While participating in a couples retreat, I met a married pair who seemed troubled. I was intrigued. On invitation to learn more, I visited and found that they had succumb to sexual perversion and attempted to reel me in. I resisted, excused myself and headed home. On exit, I heard the man speaking. Swiftly heading home due to the late hour, I felt a sense of being pursued and hid. Soon, three scruffy men exited a car, spotted me and took me by the arm, leading me on foot. I used the ballpoint pen in my hand to stab him before it was taken away. I screamed, “Help” and was ignored. I was fearful and I felt helpless. I looked around for rescue and there was none. I panicked when I thought that they were likely taking me back to the degenerate couple to be used without consent.
Panic was enough to wake me from this nightmare. I opened my eyes but felt anxious. I just wanted to escape these thoughts by forgetting. I had escaped those determined to use me, but I felt fearful outside of the dream. I reasoned, I am safe in my bed, in my home.
Why was I shaking? My pulse was accelerated, I felt stressed and likely, my already high blood pressure was higher. I tried to relax. A few body stretches, deep breaths and prayer. I took my morning medicine and I thought about trauma. The damage that results from overwhelming stress that challenges coping mechanisms and causes emotions that can lead to serious, long-term negative consequences. Even in the face of no real threat. I wondered what adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and severe bullying do to relax? How do animals traumatized by mistreatment overcome? How do traumatized ethnic groups overcome?
I thought of conquered people traumatized by invasion, colonialism, unbalanced partnerships that result in the same outcomes. Invaders telling them that we came in and beat you, took what you owned, called you names like slum dog, savage, nigger and _______. They said, we own you, we made you servants and slaves. We became rich from your treasures. We canceled the culture of indigenous people and nullified their attempts to strike back or escape.
Conquered people not fully accepted by invaders will experience trauma through generations. So long in fact, that they are internally changed and partner in making white supreme. They want whitening, not the color but the essence, the prize. Their hue may be acceptable and loved by them but overcoming it is a lifelong task. That is the debt of trauma, and it changes DNA without notice.
The traumatized people must prove worth to the world with each generation. Otherwise, the world dismisses them as loser people, depressed, drunk and wallowing in historical wrongs. But not fighters. Sometimes they plead for respect and prove themselves by the number of college degrees that will impress others or historical achievements. But, there is a large T on the forehead for all to see. Others are thankful that they are now them. Yes, they may appropriate T wearer's style as trendy or when beneficial, but would never sign up for the hatred targeting that group.
Trauma is accepting when children must be taught to survive their T for a lifetime. They must learn that different from ‘betters’ means being used by them. By the traditional groups and now the new, who see the T and tell you, like their predecessors told Native Americans, that they are entitled to your land and resources to enrich themselves by taking other's inheritance. They call them names and label resisters, dividers.
ADOS (American descendants of slavery) are traumatized people who feel fear when police pull them over. When they desperately need the job and are qualified, then doubt they will be hired. When they meet a new person and wonder if they are racist. When people look through or pass them and dismiss them as invisible. This in their only homeland. Trauma is more than academic, it is painfully experienced. It can nullify resistance. Trauma, the quiet killer felt but not defined, yet kills bodies as well as dreams.