A Letter to Someone I Lied To

by | Aug 26, 2021 | Letters | 0 comments

Letter 8: A letter to someone I lied to

This letter is to everyone I lied to until age 29. Which is everyone. Every. Single. Person.

They were not unintentional lies. Nor were they intentional on my part. They were not my lies at all. They might well have been 100 years old, by the time I last lied them.

They were about race, and they are hard to share.

My great, great grandparents were plantation slaves in South Carolina. That’s really not that long ago. I don’t know their individual stories, however, history does not keep them for us, and we didn’t keep them for ourselves.

They came to the UK around the time of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Their son was recognised as the first BIPOC boxer in Scotland. I know some of his stories. Their granddaughter was my Granny, the adult I was closest to for much of my life. I know more again, of hers.

Unless… that was never true at all. Because here’s the problem. I don’t know who first told the lie. Was it my granny? Her dad? Or her grandparents?

All I know is that at some point a lie was told: a forged heritage as Native Americans. Passing. The place between desperation, survival, internalised racism and colorism.

I grew up believing I was 1/8th Native American. In my heart I cherished that knowledge, I adopted it fully as my truth. It gave me solace when I was bullied and called “Mowgli.” It gave me belonging that I longed for, far away, on reservations I dreamed of visiting one day (and believed excitedly, that a US passport was a possibility, as I’d heard Native American descendants could claim one for several generations).

I was 29 and Granny was in her final few days when my parents unexpectedly uncovered the lie, researching our family tree.

Well into her 90s, we didn’t challenge her – what good would it have done, if she never knew and found out only at the end? What would it have done if she’d hidden it successfully for a lifetime, only to be found out at the last? For better or worse, anything she suspected or knew died with her.

As she herself was dying, a whole entire version of me stopped existing along side her. I can’t say that it died, because it was a lie. But it felt real.

It’s hard to put into words, that loss. A cut that stops you being something as fundamental as an entire heritage. As big as it felt to me, it served to inform me of a deep and awful truth. The truth that it was the tiniest fraction, distilled through generations and geography, of the suffering of my own ancestors and those of so very many others – African American and Native American both.

Infinitesimally small, I felt the weight of knowing that in inheriting the story passed down to me, I was receiving something stolen. It was never meant to be mine. A blood story.

For months, I suffered from intrusive thoughts. I had horrible nightmares. It so happened that as this was all unravelling, I was in exactly the field that could support me – the study of invisible realities and ways of being, obscured by dominant narratives. Looking back, I see how I was guided into it, and the blessing that it was.

Even after that process, it took me ten more years to understand why the real story is one that must be told. As personally uncomfortable for me as it may be, it intersects black history, white history and Native American history, told and untold, folded and unfolded, in real beings and bodies. It’s real and it’s horribly messy, and I have the distinct feeling looks bad from every possible perspective. We don’t have enough of those stories. Most history is still problematically, pristinely white.

Perhaps I couldn’t have told it sooner. I didn’t have the verbal emotional capacity to do justice to the inner work required to work back through it all. I was so blessed to have an incredible mentor who I worked closely with throughout my 8 postgraduate years, and to have the opportunity to unpick it all, with his incredible support. That’s something I will say for both ancestors and mentors: they stay with you in memory forever. They’re not fleeting relationships for overnight results. They’re ones that both inform the very fabric of who you are and how you show up in the world. You can’t choose your ancestors (even though you might try). But the best mentors are part of the legacy you can choose ❤

Read Letter 9: A Letter to Someone I Worked Beside

Dr. Morgana McCabe Allan


There’s always more to LEARN

And here’s just a few starting points…

“I’m sharing a win, I made more money this week in my business than on any other offer last year. And it was so easy. This money river is flowing today! I’m only $700 away from hitting my new monthly goal and it’s only the 2nd of the month!”

Elena Saxton

Coach for Artisans

Morgana McCabe Allan is incredibly wise yet personable, revolutionary yet relational, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be coached through mindset calls with her. I will be hearing her words in my head for years to come!

Danielle Bettmann

Host of Failing Motherhood Podcast

“I signed my first client!! {…} I showed up on the call fully present, gave her everything I could and I told her I want to offer her a 3 month package where I will honour the free sessions I had posted about within the price point. And she signed up! 🙂 “