“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“White men are…” I paused, searching the breadth of my scorn, “vampires.”
The studio was still, but it was as if you could hear the slap of my words hit the cheeks of any and every pale pink face it applied to. Then it hit me. And it felt good.
“They literally reach the—their success by sucking it out of everybody else and then putting a name on it. They’re just the ones that can copyright it first.”
“Okay, thank you!” Mina interjected as she typed a note to herself on her phone.
And just like that, it was done. The bravado? Gone. That sugary tang you get from a satisfactory slight? Dissolved. What remained was a flighty adrenaline high of unsuppressed resentment and my now, relaxed fists, that escorted me off the set, past the cameras, and back into my seat next to my castmates who were also waiting to be called for their confessional.
“The African Millennials” was an exciting project for each of us to be a part of. Mina, the Executive Producer and Creator of the show, was investing in its second season. It offered a digital platform for young Africans with varying relationships with the continent to voice our passions and sometimes, uninformed opinions on culture, societal norms, and black millennial experiences. And it was, in my mind, the perfect opportunity to restart my media climb here in New York after moving back from Ghana. It was, in my mind, redemption for the year I lost, failing to become Accra’s newest star.
I looked around the room, perhaps, for validation—hoping that someone would endorse my sentiments with a head nod; the bounce supported by the vibration of a shared experience. But there was no one.
“I’ve never heard of black men cheating,” Acrown shrugged. Muffled snickers hot-potatoed through the room, landed on my lap, and died. I sulked.
That’s what got yall’s attention?
When I got home, I was positive that my mother would endorse my behavior. She knew more than anyone the intricacies of my vexed experiences with the white patriarchy.
“You said what?” her voice, so suddenly shrill, could barely conceal her disappointment.
“It’s really not that deep mom,” I retorted, my tone equally failing to hide my own letdown. “People say worse things. I’ve said worse things.”
And I have. And it was justified. Or so I thought. In between my consumption of oppressive daily interactions with white men, advertisements that only hailed the features I would never have, and the news that constantly bottom-lined the expendability of black lives, I had built the kind of bitterness that sought reparations in the form of verbal assault. Insulting them was the least I could do to make up for the pain they wrought.
Yet, for some unknown reason, I could not find peace with what I said. For months, I looked to friend after friend for solace, manipulating every conversation that I could to conclude in a, “Yeah, I’d say that too.” I read through articles and think pieces that supported my rhetoric. And I sat upright in my bed at night, recounting the very moment I found out that my ex-boyfriend—the one white man I thought might be different from the others, had joked that the name for a Black Flintstone (if there ever was one) would be, “nigger.”
But nothing made it feel better. So I ignored it.
On August 8, 2018, Mina TV published their most watched episode of The AMs, “Would You Bring a White Partner Home?” The 1,000+ comments that mostly sided with my arguments should have brought the confirmation that I needed. Instead, the agony of reliving said moment—along with many other poor character displays throughout the season proved louder. There were no compliments or dials that could dim down the ugly manifestation of my unhealed wounds.
I want to be very clear. There has been a dramatic shift in the way I understand life and love. A shift not feasible by fleshly doing, but only through an encounter with a God that lovingly, but harshly takes away everything you have ever known, including your right to be unjust to others though they have been unjust to you. My inability to sit with this moment marked the beginning of the end to the Bridget who once sat comfortably in pride and ego. The wrongdoings of others began to pale in comparison to my own.
I believe that somewhere along the line, subconsciously, I grasped that the same God who has shown me boundless love, mercy and favor throughout my entire life—also did it when I cursed and despised Him. This same God, not only forgave my inequity, faults, and ignorance, but had also planned the ways they would be used as redemption. This God, who had seen me at my utter worst, loved me all same. How then could I, a product of grace, refuse to share it? I never deserved it in the first place.
Grieved by this sudden truth, I took to self-condemnation. I wallowed in the parts of me that clung to victimhood and self-pity. Woe was me: a lying, stealing, cheating, swearing, volatile and vulgar, selfish human being. I thought a lot less of those that I had offended, and more about what those offenses said about me. And I lived in paranoia; afraid of making the mistake that would rip the rug of favor from under me.
This too, was wrong.
In condemning myself, I not only continued to fuel my pride—as self-loathing is conceit’s disguised sister, but I had also declared myself as the god over my life. I denied the Father’s pardoning and peace, and decided that I should surely suffer for all the things that I have said and done. It made more sense to abide by the inconsistent and contradictory judgments of our society. The dichotomies that declared certain mistakes to serve as lessons, while others would lynch, fit much more easily within my lifestyle. These too felt good.
But I believe that when you have truly given control to the Creator, you must also relinquish the subjective ability to decide good and evil. You have no other choice but to renew your mind to the idea of an infinite love that protects, redeems, and pardons just by faith because we are simply incapable of earning it through works.
Yes, white men in my life have time and time again battered my spirit and self-esteem—but there is nothing to gain in holding it. I no longer want to allow variable experiences to impact the way I walk through my life. I want to look at others through eyes of empathy and understanding. I want to love the way my Father has loved me.
I am sorry for what I said. I take full accountability. But I also refuse to define myself by this or any other wrongdoing—for who am I to say that I am my mistakes, when the Father has said that I am love?
I lean into forgiveness, of myself and of anyone who has hurt me—even white men. I rest in the peace that comes with denying the limitations of this world’s convenient boxes. I look upward, to the heavens, for the standards to live by.
And that feels really good.