To my teen

I’m aggressive. I’m hard at times. I don’t listen to anything you say. I don’t hear you. I don’t understand.

The thing is I do.  all of it. I do. The thing is you don’t understand that I honestly wasn’t born a mom.  I went through all the years you’re going through.   I work hard and sacrifice a lot of my own self so as to give you a life of ease… I went to school in the hood. Period. I know what it’s like to have to go through metal detectors and get my book-bag searched every morning.  I know what it’s like to be in the halls, the class, the cafeteria, the city bus and watch a random fight break out.  I know what difficult school days are.  I know what it’s like to walk home CAREFULLY from school because these fools and the stolen cars were reckless and they killed a lot of kids (including themselves) with their reckless driving and they were a part of my afternoon walk…   I know how to live at one end of the block and stay on that end because literally a block over, the drug dealing was rampant and well-known. I know what it’s like to have the boys come at you because you’re different and you look different and act different.  I know what it’s like to have to say “man no! I’m not going home with you and hell no you can’t come over! I don’t want my momma/daddy to kill me!”  I know.  I know what it’s like to listen to the other girls tell their stories about who they’re doing and which chic is coming after their man….while I figure out how best to pass this  drafting class and electronics class. And get my work done for physics and chemistry classes because I know one or two of my friends are going to be looking to me for the answers the next day, so I was succeeding not only for myself, but for them also.  I know.  I also know what it’s like to keep up with my guidance counselor so I can choose the best college for me.  I knew how to make those appointments and stick with them without missing out on any important class assignments.  My parents didn’t go to college but they were hard-working and smart and the older siblings were already off to college so I figured it out.  I know.

So I work hard and make sure we live in a “better” neighborhood.  Rent would be a whole lot cheaper 20 minutes down the road, but I want you to feel safe, so I work hard, and choose other…. “mom, you just don’t get it. you don’t listen...” but I do.  Mom you don’t understand how hard these classes are. Oh but I do. been there.  Mom all my friends are coupled up with somebody or other.  I understand.  But what you don’t hear them tell you about is the pregnancy scares and how many different STD’s they’ve contracted on account of being “coupled up”

I hear everything you say and more.  I hear what you don’t say.  I hear what you feel.  I hear what you feel. Do you get that?  Without you saying a word, I hear you.  I know who you are.  I know who you have been. I see who you’ve become. I see you at your crossroads.  I hear what you feel.  My child who’s been an A student all the way up till high-school is tired.  I get that.  She feels pressured. I get that. The closer she gets to having to choose a college, the more she lets go of trying…She’s scared of going off…away.  I understand. I hear what you feel. I hear what you don’t say.

Allow me to help you choose your next path.  Remember this: you are a black woman.  No matter how pretty you are, you are a black woman.  In this political climate that we’re in, you will be seen as that. Black. Woman.  Double Jeopardy.  Create a life that will make them WANT to choose you. HAVE TO CHOOSE YOU.  The colleges. The jobs.  The applications don’t have your pretty face on them.  The applications have your name and your qualifications.  I chose your name carefully.  No one can look at your name and assume your race and culture.  Your name alone requires further review.  Now the qualifications attached to your name are totally up to you.  Choose your path -not as another black chic trying to make a living- but as a young woman who will do great and marvelous things.  Don’t allow the fear of success to cripple you.  Allow it to pique your curiosity to reach for more…greater.  Be the success you were meant to be.  In this political climate that we’re now in -that we’re facing- you can’t afford to be anything less than great.

I hear what you feel. You feel afraid.  It’s o.k.  I know. I promise I understand.  And I promise it will all be o.k. because no matter what, you’ll never have to go it alone.  I’m here. I love you. Forever.


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