Okay guys, so we’re going to go a little deeper on this post. I promise these post will get a little more uplifting eventually, but again I hope getting this off my chest can help someone sort through their problems. This is something that I’ve never really talked about because I never knew how to, but you guys are about to learn where my emotional fragility comes from. As promised, this post has a sound track that you can listen to here.
Now one thing you will learn about me is that I am probably one of the biggest Jay-Z fans on this planet. Although I love his wife more, his music has always helped me elevate myself, his words have always been the motivation to my hustle. They say that the worst part about having heroes is that you eventually learn that they are human, but Jay’s my hero because he’s always been human to me. Even at a young age, I related to his lyrics more than I should have. I understood his drive, his ambition, even the anger, and animosity he held towards his circumstances (real fans know what I mean). So you can assume that the award winning 4:44 (I know it hasn’t won anything yet but come on, it’s Hov) has been churning the wheels in my head since it dropped. Specifically the bonus track Adnis, where he talks about his relationship with his father. In the footnotes, he created for the song he talks about being able to release the anger he held towards his dad once he understood why his father left, once he had a better understanding of who his father was. I can relate to the anger part but I haven’t quite learned how to release the anger. Let me explain.
I am the by-product of two 19-year-old teens, who made a mistake, and neither was prepared to deal with the consequence (neither of which I’m communicating with at the moment). Once I was conceived, my father immediately took off to college, not because he was smart and actually wanted to continue school, but to run and to continue living life as the child he still currently is. My mother, on the other hand, bared the burden and treated me as such since the day I was born. She despised me and took her anger out on me anytime she could. Before I continue, I want you to take a deep breath as I just did because shit is about to get real.
If you grew up in a black family you may understand how most “issues” get swept under the rug and never dealt with (not a generalization, I just know it’s a good 90% of our realities). Things like drug abuse, child molestation, adultery etc. Which is why it has always been hard for me to speak about the abuse I faced from my mother. Everyone knew about it, but no one did anything about it because most people viewed it as discipline… I remember a time when I was around 6 or 7. She had a few of her “friends” and few of our family members over for one of their usual ratchet gatherings. I was sitting in my room playing with a BuzzLight year toy that I had. You see my homie Buzz was getting attacked Zurg right, and I had to let him know what was going down.
“Buzz our ship, our ship!” I yelled to let him know that shit was about to go down. But before we could clap back my mother called me into the living room. I knew I fucked up because she cut the music down, but the rhythm of the room never stopped.
“What the fuck did you just say? You cursing now?” She yelled as she slapped me in front of everyone.
“I didn’t curse, I said my ship.” I cried but she slapped me again. Apparently, the word “ship” is a curse word although my 7-year-old mind thought it was just slang for Buzz’s main method of transportation. Her friends laughed as she continuously slapped in the face, once she finished entertaining them she took Buzz and grounded me for 3 weeks. That was the first time I ever contemplated suicide. At 7 years old I felt that death was better than my circumstance. Sadly that wasn’t the last time.
Things got increasingly worse when my younger sisters were born and my step dad moved in. Even with the physical and mental abuse that I faced every day, the worst thing she ever did to me was feed my sisters the same animosity she held towards me. I was never really apart of “their” family. She would make that very clear to me, like the time my dad dropped me off home after one of his quarterly visits. He called ahead to let her know that I would be home soon and she told him she would be there. But after the 5 minutes that it took us to travel to my house, there was no answer when I knocked on my apartment door. I sat in the hallway for four and a half hours waiting for them to come home. When they did, my little sister happily ran to me to show me their “family” photo.
She broke me at a very young age because although I began to develop a resentment towards her, I also developed a need for her to accept me. I thought that would happen after a sudden change of events. When I was in the 4th grade she was hospitalized after suffering from a severe stroke that left her unable to speak and unable to use her right hand. My step dad split immediately leaving us high and dry. Even after all she had done to me, I felt sympathy for her, I knew how it felt to want love from someone so badly only to have them treat you like a burden. I thought we could start over, I thought she would be nicer, but I was still unimportant. Without the ability to speak she still showed me that I would be nothing more to her than that mistake she made at 19.
My dad, on the other hand, has always been exactly what I stated above, a child. Unlike me, he had a 2 parent household with a mother that would do anything for him. He’s extremely spoiled and the thought of taking care of anything outside of himself was a foreign concept.. it still is. I don’t think I’ve ever really respected him or even viewed him as a man or a father. He never really fought to prove those things to me either. Hell if anything I should be calling his mother my dad, she took care of all his unwanted responsibilities, including me. Even though I understood that, I loved spending time with her. She was the only person that made sure I had few good child hood memories. Every year on my birthday she would rent a room at the Marriot Marquis in Time Square and take me to see a play of my choice. It would be times like these that I would completely forget about the reality that I had to face at home. She had no idea what was happening to me and I honestly couldn’t bring myself to tell her. Being with her was a safe space and I feared that I would ruin that by opening my mouth. But even that haven came to an end.
When I was 16 years old I visited her to attend a huge birthday celebration she was throwing for herself. She had recently gotten remarried to the Grinch (paternal grandfather, who never liked me for some unknown reason) who had an attitude with me the entire time I was there. He would often say very disrespectful things about me, even in front of my dad, and like the child he is, he would let it happen. Once the party began to wind down and everyone began leaving someone accidentally locked him out the house. He was infuriated that he had to reach in his pocket, grab his key, and open the door. He immediately blamed me for it, because I had nothing better to do than to lock an old man out of my grandmother’s house. After expressing that to him he attacked me. Once my cousin was finally able to get him off of me my eye was swollen shut, I had bruises all over my face… the old fucker almost killed me. My aunt called the police but all of the witnesses and my face was no match for my Grandmothers badge and testimony that I attacked him first. My father also believed that and rather than calling to comfort me he called to ask me why the fuck I put my hands on his father? He also stated that I deserved whatever I got for starting the situation. Without asking me what happened or even if I was okay.
These are just a few of the things that keep me awake at night. I put up with abuse and mistreatment for damn near my entire life. Which caused me to put up with it from people that I thought were friends and lovers because that was all I knew. They would say they would love me and I would believe them because whatever love they were giving me felt better than what I received at home. I needed to get this off my chest because I am ready to finally love myself, I have finally stopped feeling sorry for myself and have grabbed the reigns of my reality. I have realized that I can’t change anything that happened to me, but I can change how I let it affect me. I’m tired of allowing these past pains to control my current mindset. I have let what they did to me control every step I’ve made in this life. In order to move on, I had to release this.
Although I’m not speaking to my family at the moment, I just want to say that one day I may be able to face you all without resentment. One day I will allow myself to be empathetic for whatever drove you to what you all put me through, but until then just know that I forgive you.
I hope this post will help you start the conversations you need to, don’t let the tradition of sweeping shit under the rug keep you from speaking up or keeping your sanity.