I’ve experienced quite a few things in my life that I haven’t always been able to find words for and many people think that just because I’m a poet, I have the magical love affair with words. I do not. I love poetry because I can get my point across without being interrupted and I can freely speak my mind. And I fell in love with spoken word when I realized I didn’t have to stand in front of crowd and improvise but I could be planned, prepared, edit and edit until it was just right before it came out of my mouth.
Today, I want to share a poem I wrote, not because I want to sell you a book but because through THIS poem, is where I found my healing. I wrote it at the end of 2005 as I reflected on my life. I went through every traumatic experience I could think of from my birth to that moment and I thought deeply about how they all affected and effected me to be the big bad person that I was. The person that I couldn’t stand to look at in mirror. I hated who I had become, I hated me BUT I knew I was a good person at heart and this poem was the therapy that allowed me to break barriers in my life.
I have probably shared this piece about 5 times on a stage and each time I do, multiple people will say things like, “you told my story”, or “thank you, I didn’t know it was okay to stay those things out loud” and through their response I realized my healing wasn’t only for me but so I could help others heal too. I truly believe, we must face our traumas, even the ones, might I say, especially the ones we try to hide and forget to truly heal.
New Year’s Resolutions always reminds me of the scripture to write it down and make it plain. That’s what I been doing since I was 11 years old, so without further ado, I give you REACTIONS!
You don’t know the secret I possess, the sin I will confess or the testimony I’ll attest.
For every action there’s a reaction,
What goes up must come down
And what goes around always come back around.
For as long I can remember, I have lived my life reacting to my environment
But no one realized my involvement or how I would be affected
So I never really knew why I did what I did
Never understood the reasons for my actions
My reactions to life’s situations
I could blame my confusion on life, my constant sense of loneliness and emptiness on my mother for walking away when I was just a 2 year old baby
I could blame my high sexual drive on my grandfather for molesting me when I was five years old or for losing my virginity and being raped by someone I considered a friend in the 11th grade. Or maybe that was my fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I could blame my dating a 24 year old man when I was 14 and a 29 year old man when I was 17 on my father for never being there. But he was always there; he just worked so damn much, so damn much trying to make things better.
I always seemed to look for love in all the wrong places from relationship to relationship with no true commitment, just lies.
So when I call myself going away to college and finding the man of my dreams, I ended up pregnant. But because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone or follow in my mother’s footsteps I killed my seed; I ended his life before even giving him a chance to be. And I live with that reaction daily.
I could blame my rebellious nature on the people who would always say “Michelle, she’s the good twin” And I just wanted to prove them wrong. So at the same time I found out that my man was cheating on me, I was taking off my clothes for the almighty dollar. Dancing in front of random niggas trying make them holla, and their reactions always seemed to make me feel better. I smiled inside.
My reaction to daddy telling me that children are to be seen and not heard resulted in my excessive need for attention and this way I could be seen and didn’t have to be heard and got all the attention I thought I wanted.
And the sex, with the men and the women, that was just a part of the job, just another reaction that made me feel better at the time.
I only did the Porno cause he dared that I wouldn’t. But Michelle don’t turn down no dare. So tell me why, when he called three months later, did I cry like a little girl, wishing I wasn’t so bold.
When does the line draw? When does the action of others stop affecting my life, my reactions, my consequences, me
I was never really good at saying the word no, never really good at turning the other cheek and walking away. I was never really good at acting on my own instead of being someone else’s puppet.
Only with scare of having a sexual terminal disease and passing it on to another did I stop, take a look in the mirror and realize the error of my ways. I learned I can no longer live my life based on another.
So after I got down on my knees and prayed for forgiveness, I promised myself that I would never walk down that road again. Never be a reactor, but the actor. Promised myself to always hold my head up high and take responsibility for all that I have done.
That the only reason why I’m able to tell you this poem with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face ‘cause I’m no longer afraid of what other might think, of what other might say.
I will never be able to understand the psychological or philosophical meaning behind any of my actions, but I’m now able to admit and dismiss with no fear of reliving it.
Maybe as a child I could have blamed my mother, my father, my environment. But as a woman I take accountability for my involvement. I can no longer blame others for me. Now even though I’m content with where I am today, conscious of where I was and where I want to be. Don’t attempt to disrespect me, ‘cause as I said I am content with my actions. My reactions that make up me, Michelle True!
Testified: A Poetic Testimony is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Testified-Testimony-Michelle-True-Francois/dp/1483668525