So, I’m at the house, trying to become one with the perfect cup of coffee, and all the while, I’m feeling some kind of way this morning. On top of being encouraged, and feeling inspired, I am also feeling just a little bit dumbfounded.
Have you ever experienced hate? Not just having someone say to you the words “I hate you”, but have you ever felt hate radiate off of a person, and onto you? I mean, they smile with you, and they tell you all sorts of unbelievably beautiful stuff to make you think they are down with “Team You”. But secretly, they want you fail. And, you can feel it. Have you ever felt anything like that?
I thought I had experienced all of that. I thought, especially after graduating from a predominantly white university, one infused with racism, hate and indifference by the way, that I could withstand any thing that dare come my way. I thought, after being called a black coon b*@#h on campus, and the university finding no reason to act against my aggressor, up to, and including letting me know that if I responded, I would not be allowed to graduate, I thought after experiencing that kind of hate, ‘hate’ itself would never surprise me again.
I was wrong.
New question, second cup: What do you do when that kind of hate is flung at you like feces from a child that you gave birth to?
I mean, I’ve seen that kind of stuff on television, you know. I’d be sitting there, a nice cup of Joe to the right of me, resting on the wooden table that sits next to the couch. And I’d hear some kid, usually on the Dr. Phil show, saying something like “F#$k you mom”, or “kiss my a**, mom”, while a Sarah, or a Jane, cries about it. And of course, I’d be thinking something like “Fffft! If that was a black momma, Lil Timmy wouldn’t have any teef left”. But, I never thought that I would hear something like that come out of the mouth of my own child.
When it first happened, I thought to myself “My God! I didn’t know she felt that way about me. What could I have done to make a child that I gave birth to feel that way about me?” For a moment, I began to do what I always do. I started to blame myself for something that is completely out of my control. She’s twenty-five. But, she’s mine. So, I don’t ever want to see her hurting. And, the fact that she was hurting, began to hurt me. Then, I had another painful thought. “Why didn’t she ever tell me she was hurting this badly? I must’ve done something wrong.” As a result, I didn’t say, or do anything to correct her behavior. In essence, I let her get away with it.
Before long, it was a weekly thing, her disrespecting me. I became Sarah, and Jane; sitting up crying about a disrespectful, abusive offspring, wondering what I could do to change the situation instead of just changing the situation. Motherhood doesn’t have a color. Neither does love. So realizing that, I sat down to do some thinking.
I thought about all of the abuse that I’ve endured. From my experience, before any actual physical abuse ever starts, an abuser starts in your mind; they get in your head. They use what they think they know about you, and your situation, to manipulate the relationship into a thing that they can control. And, if they get a sense that your mind is too strong for the game, then they will do what they can to whip you into submission, like a slave. Like an, old, dusty, I-been-out-in-the-field-all-day-can’t-I-please-rest-ma-feet-before-you-work-me-anymore slave. And, I just don’t need that in my life, I don’t.
I had to have a talk with the Lord. I said “Now, Lord, this girl is burning my biscuits”, because I don’t curse any more, you know? “Lord,” I said, “Back in the day, I would have given her the business! She is talking all kinds of crazy, Jesus. If it wasn’t for my grandbabies, Jesus, she would never hear from me again. Lord, you know I don’t fool with folks like that”. And, I wanted to ask Him “Why?”. I wanted to understand why, after all I have already been through, is my own child seemingly trying to pull me back to the nasty, and toxic, way that I used to be?
And, I only had one answer to what, on the surface, sounded like a very difficult question.
I ain’t goin’!
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I begin to talk that thing out with myself. “Self” I said, “You have to recognize an abusive demon, even if it’s working through your own child. That girl is grown. God knows, and you know, that if she were under eighteen you could take it like a champ. But, she is grown. And, this has now become an abusive situation. It may be mental, and it’s going to hurt you to let it go, but it is abuse. And, God delivered you from that. You’re free.”
Normally, I wouldn’t even talk about something like this because it’s not something we do in the African American community, expose our weaknesses. But, this is a message about deliverance. Keeping it a secret is not going to help me, or any body else. I decided to share it because I noticed what it had begun to do to me. I had started to feel like I used to feel; angry, depressed, shaken to the core.
And, had I wallowed with the questions, rather than recognize the behavior and it’s significance to where I am in life right now, I would have once again been reduced to the title of “Victim”.
So, rather than take it personal, I decided to acknowledge my daughter’s feelings. I accepted the fact that to her, those feelings are very valid; very real. And, she’s allowed to feel them. I can’t control that; can’t control any of it.
But, I can control how I respond to it. And, I want you to know that not responding to it made her even more mad. And, guess what? I can’t do anything about that either. All I can do is love her, even if that means loving her from afar. And, that’s okay. Love is not about proximity. It’s about longevity. And, people get that twisted sometimes. I get that twisted sometimes.
Until our next cup;