Sunday, 2 October 2016

A confession

I have a confession to make: I was angry for a long time. I hurt people I love because I couldn't deal with nor handle my own hurt.

Like many of my generation, of my gender, I've suffered just about every kind of abuse and humiliation starting with being the youngest in class. In school I was bullied and ostracized for being 'different', for being a 'retard' simply because I wasn't allowed by my grandma to go hunting like the other boys my age. I loved my grandma and have never felt the need to forgive her for anything. She was often my only source of security and unconditional love. Most times I'd just go and stay there for peace and quiet because we lived in an overcrowded house.

Outside of school was hardly any different from school: we, the younger boys, were often victimized by the older boys, and, even by adults who spewed out ugly things. One of their favourite games was to have us boys wrestle each other to take the pants down so the spectators could compare our penis sizes. Sometimes they'd just intimidate us into taking our pants down and put us in compromising and humiliating positions.

Once I was sleeping in my cousin's house when a man thought it a great joke to tie my genitals to my big toe with a string. He, then, woke me up, shouting "bloody murder!!" to watch me fall down on the floor from the (self-inflicted) pain. Some were pretty bad but this guy was merciless in taunting me, and with another man, often told me that I should consider myself very lucky to be alive today else they'd have murdered me without a second thought in the older times.

Because my dad was from south Baffin Island, he was never really accepted as being part of the community. I was told constantly that I was "Jaypeetee Arnakak, Kinngarmiut". I often wondered where this "Kinngaq" was and if our relatives were there, and if they loved us.

I know that the older boys that tormented and picked on us were themselves victims of psychological, physical and, yes, sexual violence - themselves, having only recently been relocated with people they ended up with and thought strangers and therefore very worthy of their resentment.

Recently I had a breakdown. Everything came to a head all at once brought about a trigger who has been harassing and tormenting me for years. After that episode I finally gathered up the courage to not exactly confront him but to be the monotonous, emotionless body I'm capable to becoming and asked him pointed questions about his chronic homelessness, and whether he'd been keeping out of trouble with the law. I think he got the message that I was not, never was, his friend.

I confessed to a loved one and confessed to a colleague. I don't know if things have changed but I certainly feel that I have changed fundamentally. I'm no longer as ashamed as I was of myself.

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