Life is No Multiple Choice
I’ve always excelled academically but I’ve always hated taking exams. No matter how much I prepared by studying, a teacher could still throw a curveball with material I had failed to cover. The odds for me were even worse had they chosen to utilize open ended questions as a way to gauge my knowledge. This left so much room for confusion and analyzation with my fate lingering in the hands of someone else. Multiple choice always provided me with a bit of solace because there was a 25% chance that I would get the correct answer. Even when I had no earthly idea of what I was doing, there was a small glimmer of hope.
If you’ve been reading or are fairly acquainted with me then you’re aware that I was in a fatal accident years ago which claimed the life of two friends. This inflicted a unique type of pain on me, one reserved for survivors left to carry the burden of a grief unspoken. Death wasn’t something for people my age yet it inserted itself as a period in the fragment of life where there should have been a comma. No amount of school or prior proper planning prepared me for the lesson that was quickly unfolding in front of my eyes.
I’ve struggled these last years and there was no Trauma For Dummies manual gifted to me. There was no wand to wave and there was no magic eraser that eliminated all the stains far beneath the surface. What upset me most was the fact that just like the exams I had in high school and college, this assignment was open ended. No one had the answer key and any answer provided was left open for interpretation. Who was grading my exam? The public. My peers. A team of lawyers. People who had no clue who I was and who I would become over the following years.
When a trauma is not your own, it is just a blurb on a larger timeline…something that happened…something to get over. Trauma that is assigned to you is a defining moment and changes your outlook on life. I know a lot of people have moved on and some even think I have as well but it is ever-present. I’ve done a great job of putting on a front as the carefree black girl but I’m tired. I am ridden with anxiety and my depression can pop up to ruin the day. There is no badge of honor for acting like you’re okay and it is a dangerous load to carry. I started therapy late 2016 and just completed my seventh session. Yes, for an accident that happened nearly 7 years ago, I can count on my two hands the number of consistent sessions I have had.
Not that I’ve enjoyed the self-inflicted suffering but black women are almost conditioned to deal with continuous blows without blinking an eye. It is in our blood.
I wish someone would have told me that it was okay not to have all the answers. I wish someone would've reminded me that sometimes God gives us pop quizzes and our only option is to try our best. I wish someone would have told me that sometimes we will fail 20 times before we even succeed once. I’m a firm believer that I honestly would be six feet under if it wasn’t for my faith. I know that sounds dim but it is true; my life has felt that dark at times with no sliver of light. I've sometimes felt bound by chains so heavy and tight with no true way of explaining that I'm a slave to my emotions. People love to tell you that it will get better but sometimes the darkness is the only thing that is familiar.
Life gives you exams and sometimes they aren't pass or fail.
Sometimes they are just a way of Him testing your effort to see if you will rely on your skills to do what you can even if it is only a small portion. We aren’t always equipped with the knowledge needed to carry us through the entire semester but just enough to get us through this one specific chapter. Stay faithful, stay vigilant, and stay focused on your end goal. You’re not always going to have it together and you most certainly will not get it all right the first time around; I sure haven’t.