A Message to My Fellow Queer People of Color Struggling With Mental Illness
This is something I have been wanting to get off my chest for some time.
I have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Given the complexities of my identity (I’m first generation, xicanx, femme, queer, abused, poor and struggling with a mental illness), I have always dealt with intensity and pain.
I have been abused by partners since I was a teenager. It started with my first relationship in high school. I was 15 years old, but even before then, someone who was the age of 25 tried to get sexually involved with me when I was 13. Either way, growing up as a female, I had consistently been validated only when men found me sexually attractive. In my first relationship in high school, my boyfriend was toxic and abusive.
Now that I am older and am coming to understand more about identity politics, I have found myself time and time again, asked to leave QTPOC (Queer, trans people of color) spaces due to my unstable mood swings and “problematic” behavior.
I have been called “anti-black” for not speaking loud enough (when really my mental illness and panic attacks make it difficult to be as brave and bold as I wish I were). I have been told I have internalized misogyny, because I have more male friends than female friends (because growing up, my female friends would slut shame me and abandon me. I also grew up without any male figures in my life, thus I have learned how to better interact with males). I have been told I am privileged for being light-skinned (even though I have been homeless most of my adult life, have experienced racism and have dropped out of school). I guess I can also admit I placed my son up for adoption three years ago and I am still dealing with the trauma of being pregnant without any family support as I worked 70 hours per week to live a mediocre life.
I have finally met someone who wants to know me and love me, but I constantly push them away. I constantly dissociate, because I can’t handle the reality of having abused them (physically, psychologically, verbally and emotionally). My family and I are trying to get better, but it’s more like we are pretending the past doesn’t exist.
I say all of this to any queer people of color who have been told they are problematic and toxic: you are still beautiful and your efforts are fucking amazing! You are doing the best you can in a world that often feels like it was founded on racism and sought to destroy your ancestors. I am not playing a victim because historical trauma is real. What you do now, do it for your self. Do it to honor your ancestors. Do what is best for you, for the past does not define you. You are doing the best you can. Even barely surviving, you are doing fucking great.
If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. If you or a loved one is affected by domestic violence or emotional abuse and need help, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
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Thinkstock photo via Lava4images.