Six years ago, yesterday I had a wide-ranging conversation with my chosen big brother I met in undergraduate. At one point, we were talking about my past. I sighed and got slightly emotional about talking about what and who I had not at that point to anybody. He said, “You know this is not your fault, right? What happened is not on you. You did not do anything wrong. You are a survivor. That is what you are. You know that right?”
Up until he said that I had not thought about it that way. I sat quietly for a few minutes. Neither of us said a word. He made me repeat most of what he just said. Doing so allowed me to get it. I was allowed to own what happened to me while uncovering a strength I did not know I had let alone never imagined needing. The way he framed my past and the truth of it explains a lot of why I am so tough & no nonsense, now.
I will NEVER allow myself to be back in that place because I know what I am and what I am worth, now. Knowing I am a survivor and understanding my worth allowed me to remove toxic people from my life last year. Without my chosen Big Brother and the conversation, we had six years ago doing so would not have been possible. I have not had a chance to tell him exactly what happened last year, but I know when I do, he will repeat a good bit of what he said to me six years ago and be proud of me for doing what I was able to last year.
Big brother: You do not remember that conversation six years ago, but it changed my life. I love you, for this, and so many other reasons. Thank you for being such an incredible big brother, but, more than that, an incredible human. You make the world better by being in it and being yourself unapologetically. You teach me to unapologetically be myself as well by example. I am so grateful to have met you, to know, love, and get the privilege of calling you big brother by choice.