When I was in kindergarten or first grade, I made a new friend. We had the greatest time together and I grew to love her like a sister. I'd go home every afternoon chattering about what a great time I'd had with my best friend in the whole wide world, Twiggy Greenleaf. I think I remember my mother saying, "What kind of name is Twiggy?" I remember feeling confused by her question.
I have some PTSD induced memory loss from my childhood that I still haven't fully recovered. Moved around so much. I've forgotten most of my childhood friend's names, but somehow, out of the fog, her name comes through intact and shining.
I remember her sweet face, the braids in her hair held by colorful plastic barrettes of bows and flowers. I can see one red and one yellow. I remember her clear, friendly eyes shining from her beautiful, caramel colored skin. And I can see her laughing. My heart is still full of love for her and the pain of her loss. I think she was my first true friend. And she was taken from me.
Somehow my family found out that she was black, and like I said, the memory is hazy, but I think my mother had me moved out of the class with her. I'm struggling to remember the details because, while so much is lost in the ether for me, this memory of love surrounded by pain comes back again and again, and I find myself wondering more and more, Whatever happened to Twiggy Greenleaf? The memory is steeped in confusion. There are feelings of shame, like that I'd somehow done something wrong. But then I also remember feelings of shame for my family. That they did this to us. That they took our beautiful, innocent childhood friendship and turned it into this scar. Probably for both of us. I vaguely remember seeing her again and she wouldn't, maybe couldn't, talk to me. Or maybe I couldn't talk to her. I remember my parents telling me that she would never have been a true friend. That black and white people can't truly be friends. And I remember for the first time thinking there was something wrong with my family. That this whole thing was wrong.
To this day, deep within my subconscious, I'm still pining away for my friend. The little girl inside of me is still struggling to understand why we couldn't play together anymore. It had been a consolation that that was then and this is now. that the world, as Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and countless other great minds throughout history have believed, that we are moving to a place of wholeness where humanity will eventually shed these ugly, petty tendencies, where we will break free of that which divides us and that which threatens our future.
But today, I read an article about the number of hate crimes spiking since November 8th, about how those who have nurtured these poisons in their hearts are feeling emboldened, feeling validated. The guy sitting at the table next to mine just said something interesting though. He said, "You know it's shaken the world up, Trump getting elected president. But maybe in a good way, too, cause now it's like, Hey, anything is possible. Trump is going to be the president?? Anything is really possible." So there's that. Maybe this is the final push for humanity. Those who need-must can go right ahead and gargle on that poison and maybe get it out of their system. The rest of us can just keep getting stronger.