An Open Letter To My Mother

This is the follow-up to the essay I wrote last week. In it, I come to grips with childhood trauma and searched for answers in my mother’s actions. Read that essay if you haven’t yet, then come back and read this. 

 

Dear Mom,

I’ve begun writing this too many times to remember. I’m angry. I’m upset. I’m sad. I’m disappointed. I’m trying to make sense of so much, Mom, of our broken family, of you being emotionally absent for me and my siblings, to you prioritizing a piece of scum over your children.

What man would talk down to a woman and verbally assault her in front of her children? And what mother would allow that to happen and scold her children if they tried to protect her? Do you know that I refuse to celebrate my birthday, and it’s not because Grandpa passed away on my birthday years ago. It’s because you never prioritized my birthday, one year you simply left an outfit on my bed and left a note stating you’d be at his house for the night. I spent the whole night crying, Mom. There is no reason my oldest sister, who for reasons you refuse to take responsibility for, had to raise me and my siblings. You were the mother, you were the parent. But you weren’t there.

I’m sure I should be in therapy. Everyone thinks I’m so put together. I do what I have to do for my family, but I’m a mess and for the longest time I refused to work through the negative feelings of my childhood. Do you know I have almost no recollection of my childhood before age 11 except a few moments that stand out. The time you flung me across the room because I asked a friend’s parent for ice cream money. Or what about one of the many times you were beating me and I cried out my brother’s name. That was my childhood, Mom – that is what I remember. The affects of living with an emotionally absent and depressed woman is that I now have severe issues with communication with friends and in my relationships. I withdraw and I shut people out – for awhile I got scared because I worried I was going to end up like you. Miserable and manically depressed.

While I can’t imagine being given up for adoption as a newborn as you were, I do know what abandonment feels like. You abandoned us – you abandoned me. For someone who wanted a big family so bad, you sure didn’t treat us like you wanted us.

Read the rest of “An Open Letter To My Mother” over on The Young Mommy Life. 



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Loving My Mother Though The Hurt

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I have always been slightly confused and jealous of friends who have functional relationships with their parents. I grew up without my father around and watched a severely depressed woman raise four children in fear. Her children were supposed to obey her and be polite. Over and over in my childhood I heard people tell my mother how well behaved her children were because we used our manners, didn’t talk loud and called our Mother ‘ma’am.’ We were the kids on the block that were called inside before it got dark and were always put together. We were beat with a belt or fists when we did something that she didn’t approve of…like the time I asked a friend’s mom at school for money for an ice cream. First she flung me across the room, then she made me return the money. All my mother wanted to do was be a mom, one would think she would have showered her kids with love – I would have grown up a different woman if that was the case.

I wish the memories I had as a child were ones that included our family going to the park, doing arts and crafts together or in the kitchen baking. Didn’t you have a good childhood? my friends and daughter ask. Did I? What I remember is my mother giving me my first bloody nose. I remember her leaving me a birthday gift on my bed and telling me she was at her boyfriend’s house. I remember her being at her boyfriend’s house. I remember a quiet empty house. I remember being alone in a suburban town and feeling like an outsider. I never did discuss with my mother how I felt, how sad I was growing up because in our house we didn’t talk about our feelings. It’s no wonder I have such communication issues in my love life.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised that she got annoyed when I asked her to drive me and my two-day-old daughter home from the hospital nine years ago. I shouldn’t have been surprised that as soon as I laid my newborn daughter in her crib I heard the front door slam, her truck start and zoom off to her boyfriend’s house. I shouldn’t have been surprised that the first night at home with my daughter my mother decided to be at her boyfriend’s house.

Read the rest of “Loving My Mother Though The Hurt” over on The Young Mommy Life.



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Listen To Your Mother Boston: I’m A Castmember!

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I’m a storyteller. I share painful and honest stories about my experiences, my fears, my mistakes and anything and everything in between on my blog. Opening myself up through writing over the past five years has provided me with an insight into myself I didn’t have before. It’s too easy for me to focus on the negatives in a situation – but through my blogging I’ve been able to work through those negatives, put them into perspective and try to come to peace with them. I write to heal, not because I’m broken, but because I want to grow and become a better woman for myself and better mother to my daughter.

When I heard about the Listen To Your Mother show come to Boston I was initially intrigued, share your story about motherhood? That’s what I do ALL the time on my blog and social media sites!! After the initial excitement wore off fear kicked in. I’m behind a computer screen pouring my heart out, not in front of a live auction. I was immediately worried my story wouldn’t be valid. That there wouldn’t be a place for me among the cast – that I was too different. I was scared of failure and worried I wouldn’t be able to deliver.

But sometimes you just gotta take a leap. You gotta get uncomfortable to grow.

So I auditioned.

And I was cast in the show.

When I walked into our first rehearsal this past Saturday I was beyond nervous. I was scared. Worried I wasn’t good enough. Why do I ALWAYS feel this way?! As we sat in the circle and began sharing our stories of motherhood a bond was created – no story mirrored my own but I found a piece of myself in every story that was shared, and I realized there is so much more that unites us then what separates us. I of course, cried my eyes out sharing my uncertainty on being a teen parent. What I didn’t know was someone else in that circle, Julie of Sober Mommies, was also a teen parent, had experienced many of the feelings of guilt and shame as I did when I found out I was pregnant. I walked in that rehearsal scared, and walked out with a renewed sense of confidence in myself and my experience and a new friend. I got so much more than I had bargained for, and while I’m scared to share my story to an audience of 500 in April, I know that they will hold me and support my experience.

Meet the cast:

If you are in town and want to hear an amazing group of women ‘give motherhood a microphone’ I’d love to see you on April 26 at 2:00pm at the Old South Church in Boston. Tickets are only $15 until March 15 and after that they are $20 and can be purchased by clicking here. I assure you – it’s a show you don’t want to miss…and I’d love to see a familiar face or two in the crowd!

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[Learning To Let Go] Removing Yourself from Unhealthy Relationships

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Even though I’d rather forget, I still remember my first unhealthy and toxic relationship. I fell in love at summer camp. I was 15. In between long days of activities with campers he and I would exchange glances and smiles at the lake or during dinner. It wasn’t long before he asked me out.

The first time he yelled at me I freaked out.

The first time he pushed me I wondered what I did wrong.

I spent the majority of that summer catering to someone who didn’t view me as special. He held no place for me in his heart, but told me he loved me. I allowed myself to be manipulated, I allowed him to treat me like just someone. It’s no surprise we never talked again after that summer.

That relationship started a pattern of engaging in unhealthy relationships. I blamed it on not having a father around; I needed a man around to love me, because I didn’t feel it at home. I felt incredibly stuck in my small town. I had no supervision and I craved something more. Something tangible, something that could fill my heart up. I didn’t want to feel empty anymore. You’d think after that summer of love I would have learned my lesson, I would have thought more of myself than to get involved with men who just tossed me aside. I only knew my daughter’s father a couple of months before I became pregnant.

I’m a lover—as much as it hurts, I give love a chance over and over. It’s a risk, but I can’t help it. The rush, the excitement, the acceptance – I crave it. I need it. I’ve been searching for something, and in the process I’ve gotten my heart stepped on and tossed aside. Sometimes I wonder if it still beats.

Most recently I entertained someone who I wasn’t planning on inviting into my heart. But his smile…it got me. What started out as innocent flirting quickly developed into something more, something passionate, and I didn’t want to stop the roller coaster ride. I was used to the uncertainness and feeling unfulfilled, so his unwillingness to take our situation to the next level only heightened my desire for him.

When he told me he loved me I was in shock – his actions didn’t support it, but I was ecstatic hoping finally we could move forward together. I became slightly obsessed with our unhealthy relationship – we went through some hard times and he wasn’t there to support me. It didn’t seem like he cared that I was hurting. He said he did, but where was he when things got rough? This destructive pattern continued, my friends saw how miserable I was, told me I deserved better. But I didn’t think so. I felt like I got exactly what I deserved.

Read the rest of  [Learning To Let Go] Removing Yourself from Unhealthy Relationships over on The Young Mommy Life.



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The Importance of Celebrating Black History Month From a Mom’s View

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My guest post on The Cubicle Chick

“Negro History Week” was born in 1925 and celebrated for the entire month of February in 1976. Carter G. Woodson and his organization the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) thought up this celebration week to bring much needed “awareness to African American’s contributions to civilization.”

As Black History Month is upon us and I see pictures of Araminta Ross (Harriet Tubman), Frederick Douglas, Nat Turner and countless other African Americans and my heart fills up with both pride and sadness. Celebrating Black History Month is much more than reading about slavery, the freedom trail and injustice to African Americans. Learning about these issues is extremely important but it’s not at the heart of why celebrating and educating myself, daughter and others is imperative.

The resilience and strength of a people – a people who weren’t respected as individuals, who were beaten, raped, lynched, burned, forced to live in horrendous conditions – that is why I celebrate. It would seem like all the odds were against African Americans, that they were doomed to just be Black and die. Slavery can enslave a person, but it doesn’t enslave their soul. Black History is a celebration of the spirits of African Americans; known and un-known who endured cruel treatment, who helped others, who sacrificed, who didn’t give up, who made significant contributions to society. It’s a celebration of those who refused to treat African American’s as an alien race because of our beautiful brown skin. It’s a celebration of the many achievements African American’s have made throughout our nation’s history, that have made our nation stronger and richer.

5 Black History Month Fast Facts:

  • Sojourner Truth’s birth name was Isabella Baumfree. When Sojourner’s son, who had been emancipated under New York law, was sold into slavery in Alabama, she sued to have him returned and won.
  • In 1896 the Supreme Court decides in the Plessy Vs. Ferguson case that “separate but equal” satisfies the 14th amendment which gives legal sanction to “Jim Crow” segregation laws.
  • Over 200,000 people March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, convening at the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes a famous speech about racial harmony that begins with “I have a dream…”
  • Toni Morrison is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 becoming the first African-American to win the highest literary honor in the world.
  • 300 Tuskegee Airmen (or their widows) were bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal at the US Capitol in 2007. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first all-black aerial units; they served during World War II. Together, they earned hundreds of Air Medals and other accolades for their service.

Read the rest of “The Importance of Celebrating Black History Month From a Mom’s View” over on The Cubicle Chick.

Reference links:

http://www.biography.com/tv/classroom/black-history-timeline

http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/



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