What my mama taught me about the Feminine: Part II

When I was thirteen, I remember coming home from school one day and waiting for my mom to come home that evening, she never did. She had gone from drinking to using drugs again, it was the late eighties at that point, so crack was her drug of choice. Some of the past is still very blurry for me, a lot happened, I remember my siblings and I being separated and I moved with an aunt in Brooklyn. Not to get into too much detail but from that point until my early twenties my mother was in and out of my life, she was in and out of rehabs or on the streets. It wasn’t until I had my very first child that I had become even remotely interested in helping her. I’m not saying one could only have come to that conclusion by becoming a mother, I believe we are all mothers. However, in my case, having a child at 19, I wanted nothing more than my mommy. I spent the next few years helping her get clean, but also studying her. Getting to know her pain and her anguish. I had never really taken the time to do any of that. It was easier said than done believe me, I wanted to give up on her countless times. I searched for my mother in alleys, all over the streets late at night sometimes, it was agonizing. I was so angry, I didn’t want to expose my children to that, but in hindsight, I am glad I did. It was real, and give me anything real any day over bullshit.

One thing I failed to mention in my prior post, was some of the things I learned about my mother during her recovery. As I stated she lived with me as she was working on her sobriety and through countless relapses. I got to see her addiction live and up close, but this time as a woman and mother myself. I remember attending a family meeting for her final in-patient recovery stay. In that meeting, I learned my mother was raped. She was somewhere between 13-15 when it happened and it was someone she knew. He held her at gunpoint and raped her. I was shocked that my mother had experienced that trauma and here I was at 26 not ever knowing this important part of her life. Please make sure you’re sitting down for this next part. She didn’t say this at the meeting, she told me this once she was released during one of our talks about her life. I remember asking her what happened, why didn’t she go to the police? She kept telling me she handled it, it took me a few hours but I finally got it out of her, she had shot and killed him. Now I’ve seen enough throughout my life and in the movies, to not faint when she said this. I was angry for what she endured, but still, to take a life? All those years ago, all this time, all the other abusive relationships in her life. I remember thinking in that moment, shit, I wouldn’t want to live with myself either. I mean damn, what else was this being walking around with? I remember often watching her at home doing some random thing on the weekends and thinking, no matter how angry or slighted I may feel at the childhood I didn’t get to have, nothing can compare to what I know she lives with on a daily basis.

Please note: I am not endorsing this as an approved method of revenge in any way shape or form. I know fully that this is a crime, not ok and did more harm than good. I am simply sharing the truth.

Now let’s fast forward, the point of this is that I never really knew her. In fact, I had never really taken the time to explore what it was to be a woman in this world period, until my mother’s recovery and more deeply during my work at the School of Humanity & Awareness. My teacher there is the most brilliant woman on the planet. I am deeply humbled to be her student. She designed a curriculum that walks your psyche through levels upon levels of trauma and experiences so that you can shed what is not you in order to allow the authentic self to arise. During one of the longer courses there, I started this inquiry and dove into my subconscious to dig out the answers I had already mindlessly inherited and or absorbed from my culture and society. I had many breakthroughs but I remember the moment I realized, my mother never stood a chance in this world. She was indigenous, she was an empath, she was strong, she turned away from the Catholic church, she practiced Santeria and she had a hard life and no one truly gave a fuck. Now let’s be clear, I am not suggesting my mother needed to be rescued. I did have some realizations that I was victimizing her in order to defend her, to be the righteous child that protected her and no that didn’t work out well for me either. Nor am I suggesting there weren’t people in her life who tried in the best way they could to help her get clean. However, being clean and dealing with your trauma, demons whatever you want to call it, are two very different things. I am simply stating that she did not have any real resources, the conversations we are having now collectively, they were not having then. The work I was doing at School of Humanity & Awareness wasn’t available to her. She was expected to swallow her life and move the fuck on like a good little girl. Shut up and appreciate what you do have, you’re lucky you survived. Well clearly that was too much for her and well you know how the story ends.

After her passing and during a course is when many of these realizations came to me, and oh how I wish I could have shared them with her. In another life maybe… This awakening is what changed my views on the Feminine forever, this had me sit my girls down and tell them EVERYTHING. I remember telling myself this is it, from now on everything is on the table. No bullshit, no making it pretty, no protecting them from what’s real. I decided I was going to be a warrior in the fight for the Feminine to exist, to be valued, honored, seen, heard, and to lead in this world. I also decided I would raise my sons to do the same.

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