the difference between

who is this kid? this girl? this young lady? she is nothing like me.  and yet everything I am.  “she looks just like her father, but she acts just like you.”  …created in his image, but my likeness.

where is her drive? what is her passion? her motivation?  I am so lost. I feel so damn deflated.  at times I hate talking to to her as much as she despises listening to me speak.  I hesitate to say the words “baby, come lemme talk to you a minute” and I see the “wtf now???” on her face as she approaches.  At her age, I was -and still am- ALL ABOUT FAMILY.  she’s all about friends.

where does the difference lie?

I am one of 6.  my family is my friends.  until two years ago, she was one of one. her best friends are her family.  this is the difference.  the distinct variation.  the break between she and I.   I always turned to my siblings first.  because I had them.  she’s had her friends since elementary.  they mean SOMETHING to her.

I need to accept this.  respect this.  honor this.

she is the same as me.  just different.

mother daughter

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I wish I knew you… (maternal lineage)

…when you were praying for me.  an oracle or someone of the sort told me once: “one of the great-grandmothers…maternal lineage…she prayed for you long ago…blocked some things on your behalf.”  So, from my heart to yours, thank you. Thank you for looking ahead and thinking of me and mine. Thank you for having that divine connection…to know that you needed to do that for me.

…when you were your younger self. lesser children. maybe one.  were you happy then? did you dance? ….you were never my favorite.  you felt distant. I never really connected with you.  never really gravitated toward you.  never felt the urge to sit and talk with you….I don’t know why.  you were never open…free…willing to talk…willing to listen.  I just couldn’t.  I wish it were different.  because just following our family grapevine news/history, I’ve come to realize that your story was deep.  your experiences were …… different. the start of a snowball effect of strength and power and strength and independence and STRENGTH and STRENGTH and STRENGTH.  I wish I truly knew you.  understood why you were so stern…mean…  understood why I hardly ever saw you smile.  understand why I will never forget your laugh.  that laugh that I still hear through my mom.  I wish we connected….

Poppa. you were the best.  fearless. I adored you.  you were…. a true leader.  the people in the community looked up to you.  the day you died was the day I fell apart.  crumbled for days. because you. were. gone. I would never get to feel your soft hair again. I would never get to follow you around the yard again.  Stand next to you as you stood outside the kitchen. feel that amazing sense of safety (which I didn’t realize that’s what I was feeling at the time).  hear your voice thunder as you called for one of the boys to do something. give instructions and see them hauling tail to get to where you were and then see them hurry to complete the task at hand.  I thank you for being such greatness in my life. in my memories.  I wish I had more time with you.  Yet, I’m so grateful for the time we shared.

Mom…. There isn’t enough time. space. words. to express my forever gratitude to you. my forever gratitude for you. for your existence. your presence. your truth. your independence. your strength. your ambition. your determination. your strength. your persistence. your drive. your strength. your guidance. your direction. your strength. your instructions.  your intelligence. your strength. your voice. your song. your strength. your fervent prayers. your spiritual sight. your help.  your strength. your pain. your tears. your strength. your forgiveness. your strength. your love. YOUR STRENGTH. Oh, to be like you: peaceful.  POWERFUL. STRONG.  I’m glad God chose YOU for me. I can never imagine anyone else. I love you. Forever.

To my ancestors: great-grandmothers, grandma and poppa.  I wish…….. but even though I didn’t…..  I thank you for my mom.  I may not have known you all well, well-enough, or at all, but I believe that my mother is who she is because of you.  and so I thank you for her. For My MOTHER.

maternal lineagejamaica 2

I wish I had…(paternal lineage)

known you in my time. in these days. I feel you would be proud of me.  I feel you would have sat me down and told me your own stories, your own struggles, how you overcame.  how you birthed all those beautiful children and then raised of few of theirs.  I feel you would have told me to just stop thinking so hard. so much. to be at peace.  I feel you would tell me about the “white side” of us. told me the truth of our bloodline because looking at your pictures, you seem more native-Indian.  told me how racism/prejudice outside is one thing, but racism/prejudice WITHIN the family was something different…deeper…more painful.  looking at your pictures I see such strength. your skin is bright-colored -red, as they call us. your face, freckled; a mark that can be seen even in the ones I birthed. your hair long. your body, strong. that smile…I see my grandma in you.  I wish you were here to see your grandson, my father, become a handsome man who absolutely sucked at being a husband, but does really well at being a dad and is an amazing grandpa.  You would probably say “he’s horrible, but he’s yours. pray him through. love him much.  he’ll get better.” and he did. you know this.

I wish I had more time with you.  you were horrible to my mom. yet you loved all her kids to pieces because they were planted by your son. I wish you didn’t push back against her pain. I wish you hadn’t contributed to her hurt  .I wish you hadn’t supported your son, my father, in his bulls**t the way you did.  and yet when Mother Time passed by and walked off with your memories…it seemed she only took the bad ones.  because when you remembered my mom, you remembered her as “the nice girl your boy married“.  you didn’t have a bad thing to say about her.  and that same Time, allowed me to sit with you once again. sing with you. use my thick thighs as drums as you sang along and it pleased you so well you smiled and said “likkle gal, yuh good pan di drums yuh nuh?”  and I grinned back with “only for you though granma!”  and me, though a 29 year old mother at that time, was once again a 5 year old in your presence.  and though Mother Time confiscated your bad memories, she left you with your knowledge of the words of the bible, the spiritual songs you learned growing up and throughout your years, your love of music and your love of family.  and even though as we sat together and sang, and at times you had no idea who I was, I knew you.  and I introduced myself to you many times throughout the day (as all your grandchildren had to) and we would start fresh.  I loved you.  I wish I had more time with you.

Dad, I’m glad I didn’t know the true you growing up.  I’m glad I saw you as King. I’m glad I saw you as Lead. I’m glad I was hoodwinked into thinking you were the best.  I never thought I would feel this.  but I am glad.  I’m glad I was well into my teenage years before I knew who you really were.  we have gone through some crap.  I always say, that of all your kids, I’ve dealt with you longer and deeper. I know you better. and we have gone through some crap.  you’ve crushed me, and I’ve hurt you.  but we always, ALWAYS, forgave and got back to being right.  I wish you did right by your own physical health. I wish you listened to our pleads for being better.  but I’m glad that after all of it, you’re still here. we me. with mom. with all of us.  I’m glad my children know and love you. I’m glad you still care.  I’m glad you feel you still have some control over us…I’m glad I’m able to respectfully remind you of the truth.

great-grandma> grandma> dad> me> mine…. this lineage of love and faults continue. and though I wish I had known the ones before, got to spend time with and learn about and from them, I’m glad I had and have what I have.  I’m glad I have truth.

family

to my brothers

I wish I could break you open like a pomegranate. see all the tiny seeds within. dissect each one of those seeds and understand the essence of you. help you understand yourself.  who you really are. who you have become. help you accept your truth. I wish I could strip the paint off the walls of your soul. you have so many coatings. get down to the raw concrete of your very being and help you see you.  I wish I could dance with your spirit. to the music that you create. to the music only you created.  He is music.

You. you are different from the first. you feel powerless. you’ve lost it all. gave it all away.  the place in which you now stand is empty.  it feels crowded. claustrophobic.  but you stand alone.  the noise you hear is within you.  it is the sound of your own voice. in different tones. tempos. rhythms.  the yelling is from your own fears…hurts…regrets.  the wall that you have built is made of glass. I see straight into you. you are different from the first. you believe your own lies.  failing to realize everyone else sees your truth.  you are different from the other.  I don’t not wish to understand you.  I simply wish for you to acknowledge yourself.  for who you truly are and not who you used to be. I simply wish to show you the exit out of your own emptiness and be the realtor of the newness that awaits you.  He is strength.

You. different still. you are first. you should have been his heir. the one who “sits at his right hand” and receives the blessings. But like Cain, you walked away.  Like Esau you missed out on your birthright.  not at the fault of any ‘Jacob’, but simply of yourself.  you forfeited. threw in the towel. and stayed away.  Instead of his blessings, you inherited his curse. addiction to something or other. functional in everyday society. continues to exceed expectations. but continuously limit your own self.  your story has different versions. made up and retold over the years like the legends of old… people fill in the unknown spots and write on the blank pages so the story can make more sense…be better understood.  still, your truth remains untold.  He is knowledge.

So to the three of you, know this:  whatever, wherever you are…whoever you’ve become. you are loved. you have a safety-net below you built by us. the women. the mothers. the sisters. when you fall off the fences on which you sit -the fences you each built- we will catch you.  your stories will never be that of stupid humpty-dumpty.  No. your stories will be that of the great acrobats. who fall from high and simply bounce right back.

share him

we all grew up together. same damn town.  went to school together.  same Sunday school class.  our parents fed us together.  we attended each other’s weddings. celebrated the birth of all 11 of my children and all 8 of yours. you were there when God took back my infant.  you cried with me.  Helped me be the mom the others needed and celebrated the births of the others. some of our kids dated. fell in love with each other. married. and now our grandchildren and great-grands and so on are cousins. our families tied. extended. blended. forever. we laughed about it whenever we visited each other.  you were important to me. more than just my friend. you were like my sister.

my question to you is, after all this. all these years. laughter, tears, friendship, why did you sleep with him?  Even if he’s the one who initiated it, why wasn’t our bond tight enough for you to lay with your own and leave mine alone?  Even if he preferred your pretty red skin over my smooth dark tone, why wasn’t our sisterhood strong enough for you to turn away from him?  Even if his caramel sweetness and his soft hair, his bow legs and sweet talk was intoxicating at sight and sound, why wasn’t our pact powerful enough for you to resist.  Yes, I should blame him, but I don’t. cause he’s a man. and you’re beautiful. and just as you and I bonded, he also felt a connection with you as well. You with your “better” color and your “quality” hair.  you who understood words better than I did. spoke more logically.  you who had a husband to move you up the hill and away from the misery. you. you knew better. should have known better.  I loved him. needed him. enough to be willing to turn a blind eye to his desire for you. enough to ignore the hidden moments between you two. enough to share him. with you.

So now that he’s dead and gone.  and I’m gone to be with him. have him all to myself finally.  Now that you’re alone. tell me. which one of your 8 is his?