Someone I care about called me a hypocrite and it cut deep. I haven’t been able to let it go since, so sharing it is me trying to heal. When it happened, I didn’t express that it hurt me because I saw that they were hurting, so I empathized and absorbed the remark. It’s been months and for some reason I just can’t shake it off; I know why though. Last year during the lockdown, I spent a lot of time reflecting on myself and peeling away layers of coverings that came with growing up as a little gay boy in Nigeria – a country where I think it’s still a criminal offense to be one. There were parts of myself that I hid from folks back then, that I now feel comfortable revealing; and as I was beginning to show up as my authentic self again, it hurt to be called a hypocrite.
Now, I didn’t completely fall apart; I replayed the situation in my head to figure out what happened and understand why it happened. I’ve come to find out this is actually a trauma response that I’ve gotten good at over the years. This person was lashing out because I hurt them and that was their way of reducing their pain. I’m not mad at them…anymore and I’m not mad at myself either for feeling hurt by it; I refocused my energy on what I wanted to take away from the experience, which was – how do I keep showing up as myself authentically because I think the more I do that, the less I’m likely to be triggered by being called a hypocrite.