Sticks & Stones: The Manifestation Of Unhealed Trauma (Part I)

Send Me A Pic Baptist Church

Please stand for the reading of the word. Today’s text will come from Instagram 10:29, and it reads….

Somebody touch your neighbor & say neighbor….it’s going to get deep. You may be seated.

Now, if we look at the etymology of the word trauma, it is of Greek origin. The direct translation literally means “wound.” (While I think thats actually dope and gives real insight here, why do all pastors do that? Is in like a handbook somewhere? Anyways…I digress.) Now, while most wounds heal on their own, there is a deeper (and darker) side of this. Two of the biggest lies I was told as a child, is that bullsh*t about the sticks and stones, and that time heals all. Without spoiling the ending, let me assure you (in my Jerry Springer voice) that was also a lie. (Those camera men gotta be in craaazzzyyy shape lol. Anyways..) Before I go deep deep. Let me back up.

The BIG “X”

Quarantine has been a crazzzzyyyyy time right? I mean a lot of things have opened back up now, but like whew. In the beginning, everyday was really its own thing. Sometimes, just having the energy to normal or basic things was an accomplishment (to be rewarded with wine of course.) So, a as a young, single, millennial, who was accustomed to (as my dad would say) rippin’ & running the streets, I turned to the virtual cesspool that is Tinder.

Now, while I am tempted to go into the sadness and hilariousness that is male selfies, I am determined to stay on track. One day, as I preemptively judged the entire character of strangers from a few photos, I stumbled across my ex. Not just any ex (cues dramatic music) … the big X.

Everyone has exes. Relationships that have transitioned to the past tense. The ones that didn’t work out for one reason or another. These are people who were once the closest of close to us. Those who now wander in the wide open, armed with our intimate details, favorites, idiosyncrasies, kinks, vices, secrets, …and demons.

Despite this unfortunate normality, not all exes are created equal. Everyone has what I like to refer to as “the big X.” This is basically a normal ex that has been exposed to radioactive material and now has super powers lol. (insert evil laugh, thunder, and lightning.) You could pass a run of the mill ex on the street, see them cross your timeline, or hear that they’ve gone through a big life change (gotten married, had a kid, etc.) and while you may think on it for a moment, you are generally unbothered.

But a big ex? This is the one that you thought was going to be, dare I say it? The one. The one who will have you asking yourself questions like a creepy dude at a gas station. Like I know I’m in a relationship, but am I happy? (strokes chin.) This is also typically the ex that your friends want to hear NOTHING about because they remember how they had to put you back together the last time. That ex.

After mindlessly swiping for idk how long, a more than familiar face commanded my screen. I paused. Smack dap in the middle of a Fantasia – “When I See You,” moment. My mind was saturated with memories, and had room for little else. With a decade + under our belts, there was a lot of material to rewind. A lot to consider. Just (sighs)….a lot.


We met through a mutual-ish friend, that I still consider one of my closest inner circle members till this day. After what felt like a very grown-up date at the local arcade (in my BEST Hollister shirt), me and the boy from the other side of the tracks were off to the races. Many of my nights during this time were spent whispering on the phone all night in the corner furthest from my door, on my silver, bell shaped, LG flip phone (after my minutes were free of obviously.) We talked about EVERYTHING. And while a good bit was him being genuinely amused by my naivety and lack of experience, there were …moments.

We had a depth and connection that I still can’t really put my finger on till this day. Like when you know why you should like someone, but your draw to them has nothing to do with anything on that list. It is its own entirely, existing with no explanation. It just …is.

One thing we had in common was family drama. We often story swapped, vented, and took solace in someone else even kind of being able to understand the things that were unfathomable to the average adult, let alone someone our age. In spite of my own brokenness at the time, I have never wanted to be there for someone so fervently. Intentionally. Though most of my attempts would go unrequited, and he would often opt to shoulder the world one deep (bookmark this), this was us. We were the sum of our experiences. And it showed.

We would go on to have a very unique relationship for years to come. It was an oil + water, cat + mouse, fire + ice, type of thing that was both exhausting an addictive. When it was good, it was transcendent. But when darkness fell, it was darker than that night in Exodus, when the Lord went snatching up 1st borns. We went from the innocence of whispering on the phone, to me “trying” (& very badly at that) to keep it down, so his roommate could actually get some sleep. Baby when I tell you strung out? Look. There was something so twisted and yet strangely beautiful about it. Something that brings Mos Def’s – “Beautiful Boogyman,” to mind…

“See me, want me, give me, trust me

Feed me, fuck me, love me, touch me

This whole world is cold and ugly

What we are is low and lovely

I am the most beautiful boogie man

The most beautiful boogie man

Let me be your favorite nightmare

Close your eyes and I’ll be right there

Wide, open, all, over, again.”

– Mos Def

I say all of this to say, the sh*t was real. It had a purity to it that only exists before a certain age, and yet, in the same breath we were able to hurt each other like we were professionals. And we were. We learned from the best.

With this thought I was snapped back into the present day, his picture staring up at me as if he was looking right at me. So I did it, I swiped right. And wouldn’t you know?…

Actually, I think this calls for a part II.

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