Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Know How He Feels

Even though I was very sleepy, I watched Tyler Perry's interview yesterday. I had to. I needed to know why he chose the projects he has chosen and they all are parallel to what he experienced as a child.

I am the female version of him. One of many. My mother was the abuser in our home. She belittled me and like his father, felt you were only working if you were using your hands. When I was 15, she asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I told her I wanted to be a writer and she went crazy yelling, "That's sitting down. That ain't work." I was devastated and for many of my dead years, (from birth to 26) I experienced a lot of writers block, although for some reason I was able to keep writing about my daily experiences. I have kept a journal since I was 15.

This saved my life. The other day I went to a training that was talking about kids who do not receive the proper care from their main caregivers. As the psychiatrist was talking about the subject, I had an true "Ah Hah" moment. I completely realized the extent of the neglect I experienced and was completely aware of. Being hypersensitive, I somehow always felt I didn't get the nurturing I needed past infancy. And if what I am told is true, she let me cry a lot. She didn't believe in holding children. What a throwback attitude from slavery. They separated us and it was hard for some of us to let go of the old slave survival ways.

I was neglected. I finally understood completely why I would always say to them, "Thanks for growing me up," because that is literally all they did. I no where near got the attention I deserved and most definitely no respect for who I was, or who I could be. Seeing him, and having the experience I had the day before has opened me up even more if that is possible.

Whereas he waited until his mother died before purging himself, I waited until my brother grew up enough to get from under my mother's apron. When he was in his 30's, he called me one day and told me they had fallen out. Almost immediately I began putting my autobiography together. It was published in 2003. Telling the Truth and Shaming the Devil is the name of the book. I had to write it. I had to take care of the little girl who was almost destroyed.

Girls just got it going on. The entire way we're made makes us so capable and I am no different. The psychiatrist said to me, "You were lucky. Your brain found a way to process what happened to you." And she is right. I have always been blessed with the ability to self-soothe. So, unlike most people who do not get the proper nurturing and seek everything but what they need, I knew I needed to be intimate. I knew I needed to learn to love and be loved.

Even with all the suffering I have endured, I am very proud of the woman I have become. I have had 18 months of professional therapy, but for the most part, I have healed myself. My eyes don't cry no more. I used to not be able to even think about the past abuse, or my parents without crying. Those tears have long dried up and I truly have forgiven them. I don't have much contact with my mother. She threatened to sue me when she read the book and literally cut my kids off. They are in shock because they no longer have the wonderful grandmother she portrayed herself to be, but as I have always known, as soon as something does not go her way, its on the highway and my kids are no different. Yet, she claims when I said in the book how distant and self-centered she was I am lying. She claims the cruelty she still displays is a lie. What she has successfully done is proven me right by her actions.

I can deal with the alienation. I know I can if the little girl I was could. She took beatings, floggings, pinching, verbal abuse, and neglect. She was strong and like Tyler Perry, I owe it to her to be successful and I have been. I have successfully stopped the cycle of abuse in my family. My children won't neglect theirs because they were loved with every inch of my being and they know it and proudly boast about it.

Tyler Perry needed to let that stuff out, otherwise he stood a great chance of losing all he has accomplished because like Oprah said and knows so well, all the money in the world can't fix you. It can't soothe the pain and it doesn't get you from one day to the next. He did exactly what he should. The striking similarity is when I approached my mother about the abuse, she laughed at and mocked me just a his father did him. Those type of people live to try to make their wrongs right. My theory is it is most the over opinionated and undereducated who have the most to say about what they don't know.

I am proud of Tyler.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You Don't Know Me

So many people I meet make up their minds about what kind of person I am instantly. Then there are those who hear about me from others, form an opinion, then apologize stating, "You aren't like they said."

No, you don't know me. I am a strong black woman, capable of many things. I have come to the conclusion that the choices I made were necessary for my continued growth and maturity. I have chosen a hard path, one very similar to my grandmother and mother. My girls will break the cycle. In many ways they already have.

Yes, I am a peacemaker. I have been for all my life. I am the type that would love to burst into song throughout the day. I love to dance and laugh. I want everyone to feel as comfortable as they can around me. This is why I have developed the ability to allow others to be themselves with very few expectations. I am open to their process as much as I am my own, because I know people come into your for a reason. It is up to us to accept this and learn from the transactions that transpire between those we engage.

When I was in high school, I was accused of having the "Martin Luther King" syndrome. People hated the fact I would do what I could to find a win/win situation for all. Throughout the years I learned how impossible of a feat this can be, especially when you are dealing with those who would rather inspire conflict than a resolution. I desire peace. I desire harmony and silence. Because of this fact, I keep my life pretty clean. I have cut off, dropped away from, or simply forgot about certain people who were either hangers on, or folk who like to complain, but never really stand up and do what is necessary to make a change.

On the other hand, I have no problem with conflict if it is necessary to get to a peaceful resolution. Sometimes somebody might have to get cursed out to get the point. If that is the case, I can do that too. I'd much rather have peace, but I can do chaos.

You don't know me. You won't know me if you don't allow me to be me with you. If I have to be certain way to be your friend, I won't be your friend. If I have to have money to hang with you, even if I had it I wouldn't. If I had to know a certain set, or run with a certain crew for you to consider me, I won't be considered. I love me just the way I am with all my imperfections, limitations, and failures. I am.

The Other Side-Part Two

My husbands chronic illness is really taking its toll on me and the family. He has been admitted to the hospital twice within a week and a half. Yesterday, before I could get to the door, he was calling me to tell me needing to call an ambulance because he was throwing up blood. When I got in the house and saw how much blood he had thrown up, I fought off the shock that ripped through my heart.

The first thing I thought? "Wow, he really just may die before he is 50," which is at the end of November. He is frail, his kidneys are only working at 24% of their capacity, he had several mini-strokes over the weekend, he is having trouble breathing, he can barely hold anything in his hands. His muscle control is lessening due to the strokes, his legs are swollen beyond recognition, his skin is turning dark, he can barely hear, and his eyes are failing.

All this from diabetes and high blood pressure. He lived the wild life, all his life and now he is paying the piper. Oh yes, he certainly danced to the music. I often watched him in awe throughout the years, secretly wishing I had the nerve to live so recklessly, at least a little. Instead, I stayed on course and did my best to bring some balance and awareness in his life.

Now that we are on the other side and are actually enjoying each other on many levels, his health is a big issue. It is really hard to get in the mood for much after watching someone throw up their guts. I told him Sunday, "You know, we are really blessed to have each other and to have had each other for so long." He agreed. He began to look for something and I lead him directly to it. He turn and said, "Boy, men who don't have a wife don't know what they are missing." He has, he will and he did.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Other Side-Part ONE

My husband's cousin once encouraged me to stay in my marriage by saying, "Hold on there is another side." I had a man in his 70's tell me, "It took me 47 years to grow up. Hang in there." Well my husband will be 50 in November and he is just this year showing the most continuous growth.

I sit in awe when he gets something I introduced to him 20 years ago. Our relationship has truly forced me to learn to meet others where they are. He had so many issues, (abadonment, neglect, institutionalism, low self-esteem, inferiority complex, and male brain syndrome.

Believe me, I had my share of issues, but I was working on myself when I met him. He would get angry because I would cry and fret over trying to figure it all out. I would do all I could to try to understand why the things happened to me that took me so far away from who I really was. My family and environment forced me to be someone I did not know. When I met him, I had been away for almost a year. It wasn't long enough for me to be over anything. He would encourage me to just not think about it, or ignore my desire to be someone better.

He lived his life that way for a long time and now he is paying dearly, because not only does he have to deal with the stuff he ran from, but he is also dealing with his chronic illnesses. He tried to use to "just ignore it," mindset, but what he found out is the body has its own timetable. Now he is paying dearly for taking that approach.

I, on the other hand, am pretty balanced and very healthy considering I've been fat all my life. All I can do is have compassion for him and be grateful we are on the other side.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Empathy-Part Four

The birth of my son triggered a desire to become more male friendly. I fully understood I had no idea of what it is like to be a man. Even though it took a male to help make me and I know biologically I am half male, I wholly experience life as a female.

Many women don't understand the importance of empathizing with the male species. They would much rather try to change him, or expect him to do as she wants because she claims to love him. Or she may have all kinds of warped expectations due to not growing up with a male, or never taking to the time to pay attention to those around her.

The media, the government, employers, schools, retailers, etc. all benefit from the battle that goes on between the sexes. What women need to know is battling with men will not get you what you want. Men, understand this about women that's why many of them have taken the stance that they are afraid of women. Their fear is based on the unknown. They don't know us either and not much in our culture tries to cultivate true understanding among the sexes.

There are a few people are who are genuinely wanting to make the relations between the sexes better, but not many. This country thrives off conflict. We can't get enough of bitter feuds and disconnected partners. We flock to the news stand to read about who broke up or on the verge of breaking up. We love to look at others in pain, while simultaneously running to the divorce courts to heal our own.

The answer? We must come to our relationships with more understanding and willingness to participate at our highest level of consciousness.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Don't Hate

Don't hate me because I am not afraid to say I have learned enough about marriage and relationships to keep mine afloat. Don't hate me because my husband still finds me attractive, after 25 years. Don't hate me because we laugh and have learned to enjoy each others company.

Don't hate!

Don't hate because even though my marriage isn't perfect, I still feel I am where I should be and could not be had I not made the choice to marry the man I did.

Don't hate. It is such a waste of time. Instead, try to find your own way to get what you most desire from your relationships. It takes love, not hate.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hard Times

We are not prepared for the randomness of life. I am in ICU waiting for my husband to have surgery. He has internal bleeding. Since the four strokes in 2008, he has been in and out of the hospital. He is only 49 and it all seems premature. The doctors told him he has the body of a 65 year old. He has not cared much about taking care of himself and know he is paying dearly. My father didn't care about his health either and would often boast about having to die with something.

My husband has him beat. My husband has high blood pressure, diabetes, gasteoparesis, is in kidney and liver failure. It makes me sad to see how little he cares about himself. I have a hard time accepting he can't accept how bad off he is. He seems to have a death wish. I pray for God to touch his heart and open his mind. I hope he'll recognize his worth.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Acceptance 3

Wow, I could write on the subject of acceptance all day long. I really do people have such a hard time in life because they refuse to accept what is often right before their eyes. So often people are looking for someone else to save them, or to help them in some way, when in actuality we all have what we need to get what we want out of this life.

Many people are afraid to live. They create fantasy worlds, or retreat to watching TV while others live their lives. Some feel they cannot accomplish, or do not know how to get things done. So many of us have little faith in our capabilities. We let others do and sit back and say, "I wish I could."

You can. All you have to do is accept what you want may take hard work. It may take a long time, but it is doable. We must accept certain aspects of our lives before we can change them. Not accepting a circumstance, or situation we cannot control will only cause us more grief and dysfunction. With a little acceptance, you can go a long way.


"Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got." Janis Joplin

I know, I know. She killed herself with drugs, but that doesn't mean she didn't have something worthwhile to say. She was right, which she learned; if you compromise yourself, you may not be able to comeback from whatever you gave yourself up to.

It is important we recognize when we are compromising ourselves. There are times when compromise is necessary, especially in marriage, but even then there are limitations. What is happening is many people give up so much of who they are without any true understanding of what they are giving up. Then, when they go inside themselves they find nothingness and loneliness. They look up and everyone they have given to have taken and gone. They are left to figure out how to get what they need. Oftentimes, they have to do without because they have compromised too much. When you lay down for people, they have a hard time when you try to get up on your feet.

Know who you are. Know why you want and need. Find a way to get it and learn to say no.

Prayer for Others

My Prayer for You

when you're lonely
I wish you love
when you're down
I wish you joy
when you're troubled
I wish you peace
when things are complicated
I wish you simple beauty
when things are chaotic
I wish you silence
when things look empty
I wish you hope

Share this with someone and really mean it. People are weary.


One of my co-workers asked me how I wanted to be remembered. I told him I wanted people to remember me as someone who knew how to love.

I truly believe that is why we are all here. We are here to learn to love and forgive. Forgive and love. According to St. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians love is:

Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous, it doesn not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love's forbearance, its truth, its hope, its power to endure.

My power to endure really bothers people. They have labled it many things. Many say I am a fool, I am gullible, I am weak, etc. But what they miss is what is really going on, I am doing my best to learn the limitlessness of love. On the surface, I may look like to fool to many, but for those who really know, they know I know how to love.

Life 101

Myhusband is a but man. Whenever you tell him something that is true, or right, he'll say, "You right, but.

Life 101
"You said, 'but.' I've put my finger on the whole trouble. You're a 'but' man. Don't say, 'but.' That little word 'but' is the difference between success and failure. Henry Ford said, 'I'm going to invent the automobile,' and Arthur T. Flanken said, 'But...'" Sgt. Ernie Bilko, "The Phil Silvers Show"

Unfortunately, my husband has always been that way and his life shows it. He always finds a 'but' to insert and it usually wipes away any chance that something could be different or better. Now that he is chronically ill, I see how his negativity is causing him to have more bad days than good. For some reason, he just can't seem to understand he can't overeat. Not only because he is diabetic, but due to the severity of the diabetes his body is no longer able to process large amounts of food. He suffers greatly for days, sometimes weeks at a time. I look at him and think to myself, "If only he believed more. If only he would get out of his own way."

Instead, he consistently loses each day he begins. He holds on to things he should have long let go. He lies to others and himself and he refuses to accept the situation for what it is. He will never again be the same. The strokes, heart attack, kidney failure, and now liver failure, have all caused his illness to go to another level. He hasn't changed his ways.

I often wonder, "My God, what will it take for him to do something different?" It may never happen and I am prepared for that too.