Chapter Two

As time goes on you start to mature and the things that were important to you at 12 years old are not the same as when you are 16 years old. My prayers changed because the desires of my heart changed. The days of wanting to go to the skating rink was about being accepted by my peers, making friends. That never really happened, even now, as an adult, I still have issues with acceptance and making friends. But my outlook on those things have changed as well. That’s a conversation for later in the book. At the ripe age of 16 years old my desire is to be loved. That is my new request to my heavenly father. First, the love of my mother. My mother loved me but not in a way that felt good. She loved me in the way that she knew how, but at 16 years old I did not understand the different dimensions of love, I only knew how I felt in the moments when I looked at her, and she looked at me and there was no joy – only pain. For a young teen girl, a lack of connection can be detrimental. It causes you to do things that are not only dangerous physically but emotionally as well. For me, I looked for not only the acceptance of my mother, but I also tried to love like her. See, my mother was married to a juvenile man who only had love for his mother and grandmother, every other woman was a conquest or notch in his belt. My mother was someone slightly different. She possessed a determination and fearlessness that my father admired and loathed all at the same time. He was very aware of the fact that he needed her strength to empower him, because he knew under the façade of ghetto-fabulousness he was merely a boy trying to be a man.

My mother played a very critical role in the dysfunctionality of her marriage. She was and is very much aware of whom she married, but she had ulterior motives as well. She needed to escape the dysfunction and abuse of her own family. She recognized that she would never be able to dream and be her best in the midst of her core family. So, she latched onto the boy from the city in hopes that he would take her away from all the ugliness she was currently experiencing.

Neither my mother nor my father included me in their plans to manipulate each other into false happiness. That must have been a great honeymoon night because that is when I was supposedly conceived, nine months later my 18 years old mother and 19 years old father now had a bouncing baby girl. I would like to think that it was a blessed event, but those words were never spoken. My mother has never really told me how she felt about being pregnant, being a mother. Based on the 18+ years that followed, I would surmise that she was not very happy about it. That’s not to say that she was unhappy, that would not be a fair statement for me to make; however, considering the events that were to follow, she may have been happier if I had not been a part of the equation.

Like I have mentioned multiple times, my father was, and in some ways still is, a man-child. He likes shiny toys, having his way and he pouts when he doesn’t get those things. On some occasions his pouting would turn into physical and verbal abuse towards my mother. He was not a faithful man-child, mainly because he thought he was cute and so did the ladies. He did not understand honoring wedding vows because his father left his mother to raise four children alone. He didn’t have an example of what a good man looked like. He knew how to run wild, to do as he pleased, to not answer to anyone. That was one version of him. That is the version my mother saw on a regular basis.

That’s not what he showed to me. Me, as a child, he spoiled. He read me bedtime stories. Stories from the Bible. He gave me this huge children’s Bible. I looked forward to him reading me those stories at night. It was during those times when he would tell me, “If you have no one else to turn to, you can always turn to God. He will take care of you.” I believe(d) him. The words my father would speak to me were better than gold. I truly believed that he, as with my heavenly father, would never leave me nor forsake me. He was literally my sun and my moon. He was my protector, not from strangers but from my mother. In my mind he loved me, she did not. He liked me, she did not. She hurt my feelings, he did not.

I couldn’t understand why my mother disliked me so. I thought I was a well-mannered, typical kid. It appeared everything I did irritated her. I remember one night she and I were watching a Diana Ross concert on TV. I was singing along with Diana and my mom made the comment, “Diana can sing because she’s not worried about being pretty!” I remember thinking, “I know I can’t sing, but am I not pretty?” That moment had such a lasting impact on me. From that day forward I was self-conscience about singing and about my beauty. Within a few years of that incident, I remember being at my grandmother’s house (my maternal grandmother) playing and my grandmother made a comment about the clothes I was wearing. She obviously thought they were not up to her standards. She even compared them to the clothes my aunt wore. She let me know that my aunt had enough clothes to wear for two weeks without having to wear the same ones twice. She also let me know that my aunt wore Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and I could not afford them. Of course, I couldn’t afford them, I was a jobless child! Now, I am self-conscience about my voice, my beauty, and my attire. That is a lot of baggage for a kid that is not even a teenager yet. At this point, it had not dawned on me the abuse that my mother might have endured at the hands of her mother. My mom could only love me in the way that her mother loved her. I have heard it said that hurt people, hurt people. In this case, it is true.

My mom hurt my feelings and my backside a lot as a kid. So much so, I started to write about it in my journal. I needed an outlet for how I was feeling. I didn’t have many friends because momma didn’t let me go out to play a lot. I couldn’t really talk to my dad because he was married to her. But my dad told me that God would always be there for me. So, I would write my prayers and my feelings in a journal. The writing was so cleansing for me. Sometimes it was more cleansing than crying and I cried a lot. After some time of me writing, my mother found my journals. Of course, she was now angry about my feelings. Now I had to live with the scowling, disappointed look she would give me every time I entered the room. The way she looked at me after reading my journals devalued my feelings. It was as if I had done something to her when all I was doing was expressing myself – because of her I could no longer be heard. That started my anger.

Now I am in the 6th grade. For the past eleven or so years I have endured spankings, ugly remarks, rolling of the eyes, and just a sense of disappointment. I was angry and done. Done with feeling bad, done with not being good enough, done with it all. I had to find an outlet for all my doneness. One day in my 6th grade Language Arts class a friend and I were talking entirely too much, having too much fun. The teacher told us to be quiet. Remember, I was done. So, I kept talking. The teacher demanded that I leave the room and sit in the hall. I didn’t care, as a matter of fact I wanted to leave her room. She also told me to write a paper about respect and turn it in the next day. Fine. I wrote the paper and told her that she didn’t earn my respect, so I wasn’t going to give her any. Why did I do that? My teacher sent me to the principal’s office, who in turn called my mother. This was not going to be good. But, once again, I did not care, I was done. I told the principal to call my mother, I hate her too. I could see on the principal’s face that she did not know what to say, but she knew what she could do while waiting on my mom. She gave me 10 hits on my bottom with a wooden paddle. Then my mom shows up with the same disappointed scowl that I had come accustomed. Long story short, I was suspended from school until I apologized to my teacher which took me about three days to do.

Writing in my journal was no longer an option, getting into trouble was counter-productive, what else could I do – pray. I began to pray for my mom to like me, to love me, to feel some sort of pride concerning me. I prayed nightly. I prayed fervently.


Click here to read chapter two of ‘He Said “Yes.”‘