These last few years have seen the advent of the cautionary “Trigger Warning” and a spirited response by trigger happy bloggers, writers and other media reactionaries. Trigger warnings serve as a gesture on the part of the communicator to relay to her audience that that s/he is about to say might trigger a painful reaction, based in a traumatic experience. The trigger warning serves as a “Beware of Dog” like sign, noting that danger is not necessarily ahead, but depending on myriad circumstances could indeed entangle he who enters. It is a kind and responsible way to refrain from assaultive or violent speech and mitigating the effect of the rounds that come from the barrels of our souls.
There was no warning, he didn’t realize the safety latch was down and I don’t take being shot too well.
A few weeks ago, I was calling one of my closest friends to check in on him, talk to him about some uncertainties in my life and our upcoming move to a common place. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year, but we remained closer than brothers and depended on each other as other as such. Until this particular moment, in five years of friendship, we had never had a real falling out.
His roommate answered his cell-phone. Note: This willow of shade doesn’t generally inspire warm feelings within my soul. So I indulged him for a few seconds, asked for the besty and hastily tried to keep it moving to no avail. Sensing my disinterest in speaking with him, and probably being a bit hurt, he decided to try and get under my skin. He intimated to me something my friend had supposedly stated, that triggered the hell out of me, and (IF) my friend did indeed say such a lie, he would’ve immediately know the effects upon it’s conjuring.
I felt my face boil. I dropped, or threw, my iphone while driving—somehow managing to break the glass through the otter box. I pulled over and allowed myself to do something I had done in at least a year–to cry. I reclined back in my little silver eclipse, put on my aviators and cried as if the Lourde had snatch all my hope away in one swoop. To me, s/he had. I felt betrayed. I had been cut. I was bleeding. I could not stop it. I “composed” myself. Caught my breathe and sent a heartfelt and kind farewell text. I loved him deeply, but not enough to pierced through the heart with a knife I had shown him in confidence.
Circumcision. It was once believed necessary to remove the extra skin from the flesh to maintain cleanliness and protect against disease. It is painful. It has some marginal health benefits. But once cut off, the body is never same. We once mandated this for all young boys as a matter of public health, we are now realizing that is a type of mutilation. Instead of the knife, we have elected to deal with threats (STI’s) as they come and prepare with condoms and other prevention tools. But we don’t do this with friends. At least I didn’t, so I had to back track and live my ethics.
When a friendship can bleed out with one knick, there couldn’t have been much love to sustain it. I find myself in an interesting space: noting the need to protect my self from the live rounds of an unsteady, imperfect, human hand and the desire to be unsteady, imperfect and human with another black man. Friendship is about navigating the insanity and the peace with love and determination. I had to decide to set aside my pride, acknowledge my pain and be about this business of loving.