By Brittney M. Walker
In December I published a piece about some generational pain that is still quite prominent in my family. The chatty chatty aunt mentioned in the piece stumbled upon it in January and it set her off I think. I received phone calls and angry text messages from her children and second hand messages about how my writing is causing damage and comments on the piece I’m 98 percent sure were written by her (I can see the IP address which takes me to some coordinates that end up at her house) about how I’m being unkind and like the chatty chatty aunt.
Initially I felt bad about disrupting things for my family members. They felt exposed, even though I used no names. They felt targeted. They felt I was trying to use them to create a name for myself as a writer, to entertain the world. One of my cousins wrote in a message that my ‘healing process’ was invalid, essentially, saying that it isn’t healing if I’m hurting others.
With all of the disruption, I was forced to look at myself and assess whether or not my writing was inappropriate and damaging. When those family members who felt offended by my piece contact me or my mother, I asked if they’d like to talk about it rather than text. Maybe we can learn from each other. But they refused or ignored my invitation.
Thankfully I have smart people around me that support me and love me. So I went to their counsel.
Yes, they all have a reason to be upset. But my reflection are my own and my experiences are my own. Two of my good sister friends shared that there’s also this thing with families when people decide that talking about the nasty things or the hurtful things never gets done and so some disruption forces them to face the ugliness somehow. And maybe through my public diary, while there is some commotion, there is opportunity to deal with the ugliness we have acquired over the generations. How will we do that collectively? I don’t have that answer yet. But hopefully the next time we’re together we can talk it out.
More reflections in March! Bday month!!! Ow Ow!