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Free My Mama

In the Black family you are expected, groomed almost, to keep your business to yourself. Don't dare air the family's dirty laundry. Uncle so-and-so can do whatever he wants to whomever. But if you talk about it, tell someone, your ass is a damn pariah. I have never understood why people become angrier at the reveal of a transgression than at the actual transgression. That makes absolutely NO sense! It breeds defenseless, insecure, trapped individuals. My mama....may she rest in mama.....fuck it, she can't tell her story, but I damn sure can! Buckle up. This shit is crazy.

Now before I start, let me be transparent. I spent the majority of my life believing that my mother didn't love me. It wasn't until her death that I realized she was trapped and victimized. Telling her story gives freedom to the shackles that bound her spirit and stunted her growth. She deserves that.

When my mother was around 18 months old, she was kidnapped. My biological grandmother became ill, and medicine in the 1950s wasn't what it is today and my biological grandfather worked and couldn't handle 6 kids alone. So she had trusted friends and relatives keep her children until she got better. My mother was sent to stay with a married couple who my biological grandmother thought were her friends. When the time came for my mother to go back home, the couple devised a plan to show the child welfare system that my biological grandmother was unfit and neglecting her children. They spun the story to make it seem like my biological grandmother didn't have her children because she was unfit. They stole my mother because due to malaria, the husband of the couple was sterile and they wanted a child. Unfortunately, their plan worked. When my mother found out who she really was, she ran away, back to her biological parents. Of course she was dragged back to what she knew as home. But she ran away again, and again, and again.....

On the surface it seemed my "grandparents" provided a great home environment for my mother. She received an eduction. She had a home and family. She was active in school and the church. She was well-rounded. A war veteran and a domestic who both worked very hard to have a comfortable life seemed perfect. It was not. Now, I know the kidnapping part was shocking enough, but there's more. My mother was born prematurely and didn't start walking until she was almost 2 years old. She had skin the color of milk chocolate. She was as fluffy as cotton candy at a carnival. She had an afro that would make the Jackson 5 jealous. She was beautiful. But she had no clue. Her "family" never nourished her beauty. Instead they found ways to make her ugly. Instead of a simple sweet, white lie, her "parents" told her a horrible lie about how she became their daughter. These raggedy asses told her her mother gave her away because she didn't want her. She was told daily that she was too fat and too black to ever be loved. "Ain't no man gon marry you all black and big as you is." I forgot to mention the woman I knew as my grandmother was high yella. My "grandmother's" sister referred to my mother as a lemon because of her physical developmental delays due to her being born prematurely. And when she wasn't being

called fat and black, she was being molested. The man I knew as my grandfather, and a few uncles, decided to pass my mother around for their perverted pleasure. As a result of this serial molestation, she got pregnant at 15 or 16. When the high yella woman told her sister about my mother being pregnant her response was, "I told you that little bitch was trying to steal your husband. You better get that baby out of her and fast!" Yup, that old bitch actually said that shit....IN FRONT OF MY MOTHER!

Love? No, wasn't no damn love in that house. My mama was never showed love. She was never taught how to love. From the time she was a baby she was told why she couldn't or wouldn't ever be loved. They conditioned her to not even love herself. And guess what? You can't love others when you don't love yourself first. You can't love your friends. You can't love your significant other. You can't love your family. You can't love your children. Like I said, I spent the better part of 36 years believing my mama didn't love me. It wasn't until after she died that I was able to understand that she did love me, she just had no clue how to do it properly. She grew up believing she wasn't enough and worthy of her mother's love. And she raised me to believe the same. I hated my mother for many years. I hated her for not loving me and not allowing me to love her. I hated her for placing everyone and everything before me and my father. I hated her for not seeing me. I had friends whose parents were alcoholics and drug addicts, but they were active and present in their lives. Their demons didn't stop them from being good parents. My mother had a career and a damn doctorate! In my adolescent emotion filled mind, she had no reason to not be a decent parent to me, her only child.

But she was trapped. She was trapped in dysfunction that had no room for love to exist. In hindsight I realize she did the best she could. She did what she knew. My mother told me that I was the only person she ever told about the molestation. My father said he didn't even know. When she finally had the strength and courage to tell me about what happened to her as a child, she was 55 years old. Let that sink in. She held that shit for 40 years! She held that because she was taught to keep her mouth shut. So she suffered. She sat in a jail cell in her mind for decades because someone told her she was the dirty one. She went to her grave without the opportunity to confront those nasty men and women who condoned and allowed her molestation. She never got to tell her story. Since she died, I like to think of myself as her healer. I heal her by healing the parts of myself that have been damaged as a result of her not being taught how to love me. Every time I heal from a trauma, a part of her soul is freed. That's my main free my mama by freeing myself.

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