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On my knees I pray to God to show me,
How to forgive so that I can I live free,
From the misery you bestowed upon me…
“Hello.” I answered nervously.
“You think you grown! Get yo stuff and get out! You so stupid! Did you think you was gone get away with that? You are so dumb! You knew the secretary was gone call mommy! So you get your stuff out MY house! I don’t care where you go.” The call ended.
Sitting in the bus shelter with many spectators, I try not to cry. I think about when my mother had said those same words to me, get out, just months earlier. Now my four months pregnant sister has made the same decision. I would feel lost, like I don’t belong and homeless but it’s already too late for that. Maybe I was no longer of use to them. I couldn’t help my sister move from her one bedroom apartment, in which she gave me that only room, into a house because Section 8 wanted me to be in her custody. In order for her to get custody my mother had to release me, which she was eager to do because if I wasn’t in her custody she could get food stamps, due to reduction of income; my father wouldn’t be paying her child support. I wonder if they were in collusion; if that was the plan. It makes sense because they both would have benefitted at my expense.
A phone call from my mother vibrates my phone, “Hello.” I answer with a voice beaten and empty of life and full of despair.
“I’m through with you. I am officially washing my hands of you, stupid. You are someone else’s problem. You thought we wouldn’t find out that you skipped school? Now Yattie wants you out of her house. Where you gone live? With your father and his girlfriend,” she pauses briefly from her diatribe to let out a laugh, “good luck.”
Trying to hold back the tempest of emotion is out of the question, so I cry. This is not the first time that my mother has told me she is through with me, but every time it hurts the same.
You verbally abuse me and accuse me of things you know not,
And it hurts to hear that the one you love,
Thinks so negative of you because,
You are the closest to my heart,
Though I wish you were not part,
The bus arrives, by this time my tears have stopped. I board the bus, take my seat and think. I try to think cogently. Maybe I am to blame and deserve to be treated this way. I did skip one day of school—a three hour day, which would have been only an hour and a half day due to me awakening late. Cogency is not working. I give it up. I make a call which I thought I would never have to make.
“Hi Daddy, um Yattie kicked me out and I wanted to know…well because I skipped school. Would you have kicked me out? I thought so. I wanted to know if you could take me to get some clothes from her house? Then later this week I could go get the rest of my things. Thanks Daddy, I guess I’m finally coming to live with you. Love you too, bye Daddy.”
That night, in the dark, lying in a bed that was familiar to me as a child, I cry. A deep, emotional, shake my whole body, contort my face and shatter my soul cry. Trying to repress the screams, I take deep breaths. I do not care to wipe away the tears that fall freely from my eyes or the mucus that drips from my nose on to my lips. All I do is shake, breathe and think. Telling myself I am here for a reason, I remember that everything happens for a reason. This comforts me. When everything in my life is changing and no longer rational I have that belief to hold on to; to make sense of my irrational reality and give me strength. Then the other thoughts arrive to litter and pollute my mind. Why have I been alienated, disowned, thrown away? How could they be so selfish? Do they not see how I feel? Do they really love me? My chest heaves, I breathe and feel that breath pass over the raw, exposed tissue of my heart. I feel it passing through the missing pieces. It hurts. I close my eyes and sleep. It is my temporary emotional aspirin.
The unit in which unconditionally,
Love is passed around equally,
Except to me…
Not wanting to get up immediately, just wanting to listen, I wake but my eyes do not open. Outside this room’s door is another world, a world which I am oblivious to. With people who do not function the same way, who look similar but different, who eat different and who have different convictions. They’re a sub culture that I have just become a part of. So, I listen. Beyond my door I hear familiar sounds, familiar to a home I once knew, but I do not feel comfortable.
Afraid to roam my new world, I wait until all is quiet before I go to the bathroom. Once there, I begin my usual morning rituals, but in my new home they seem so foreign. I think twice about sitting down on the toilet and choose to squat, like a visitor would do at someone else’s house. I brush my teeth and take my shower. When I am done I do add my tooth brush to the holder where the other ones lie. I take it with me because to add it with others denotes I approve of being part of this world. I want to live in it not be a part of it. I feel like an illegal alien who had dreams of a promise land, forced into exile by the ones who are paramount in her life. But, this promise land looked better standing on the outside, when I was not forced to live with my father.
Momentarily my mind spins,
As the imminent threat of change begins,
And fear wins…
School took place. School ended. Summer began. I had been living with my father for a couple of months now. I was officially moved in. My room didn’t seem so foreign now because my things were in it, though it still felt as if I lived in hotel as if I was a temporary guest with no plans of trying to photoshop myself into a picture that was taken thirteen years ago. Nonetheless, I was becoming more comfortable in my new…home. I was even getting along with my father’s girlfriend, Kay, which I thought would be impossible. When I was younger, and would spend the weekends at my fathers’ house, I was intimidated by her. I was afraid to speak to her, to ask her to cook when I was hungry. I wouldn’t leave the room to use the bathroom unless there was no sign of her coming up the steps. I was on my best behavior so that I wouldn’t get in trouble. Still somehow she found reason to resent me. I was never as impeccable as her son, Justin. It seemed she had changed, she apologized for how she treated me as a child and she stated that she was glad that I was living here. Then she took off her beautiful mask of happiness and acceptance and showed the ugly underneath.
Coming from work, I walked in the house. Kay, sat in her usual spot on the couch with a cigarette in her left hand and a beer in her right, didn’t look away form the TV. I cordially spoke, “Hey Kay.” No response followed as she took a drag on her cigarette. So I continued walking to the steps. As my foot hit the first step Kay opened her mouth to speak with malice in her voice, “Do you ever stay home?” Still, I continued to my room. I would not justify her question with an answer. Once inside I plop down on my bed, work clothes and coat still on, and say to myself in an aggravated whisper, “You were the one who complained about me coming in the house and blowing right passed you and now you don’t speak when I finally do! Ugh! She is so capricious!”
We continued on this way. I spoke, she didn’t. I got used to it. My nine month pregnant sister was not speaking to me, which hurt me more than Kay not speaking. I had looked up to my sister my whole life, but I could no longer be oblivious to how she mistreated me. Her words always echo in my head, “You stupid! You fat! You a hoe! You ain’t gone be nothing in life. You stupid!” I will never forget or forgive her or my mother. I could no longer justify their actions with the word family.
So long have I lived with these feelings of insecurity and negativity,
Wondering if it was me,
It was you,
Some say it was jealousy,
I’d rather it not be,
God give me clarity…
Today I am going to the hospital. My sister had her baby, my nephew. I missed the birth and the baby shower. No one called me. It didn’t bother me. I don’t want to go alone so my best friend, Tonisha, will go with me.
We arrive at the small hospital, find out what room she is and head to the elevator. As we step off I look at the pink walls. It reminds me of vomit and simultaneously makes me want to vomit. My heart is beating out of nervousness. I don’t know what to expect. We reach the room door and inside is my sister holding her baby, Kristopher. People, such as her friends, the paternal grandparents and maternal grandmother were there. I immediately focused on him. I begin cooing at him and taking many pictures of him. In between the cooing, playing and flashes no one spoke to me. Once again I felt like an outsider, a stranger. As I held Kristopher and watched him sleep, I had an epiphany. I am who I am today because what these people here did to me. I am stronger more independent and ready for this cruel world. I do not cry. I smile and rub my nephew’s cheek.
On my knees I prayed to God to show me,
How to forgive and now I live free,
From the misery you bestowed upon me…