Reconstructing a New Feminine Consciousness
As the world scrutinizes the legal lynching of Bill Cosby, 2016 rolls in like a billowing wave moving across the surface of the sea. The surge abates for a moment to reveal what riding high on the tide, it is the value of Woman’s work. I look at the times to ascertain and make sense of the world. This Cosby event looks like someone with alternative motives stripped away the covers to reveal what happens under the sheets. When did this become of national interest, something that happened decades ago.
The whole world looks with a million eyes on the Black man. Bitter-sweet images pierce the hard shell enclosing my heart. Mine is a love story that reaches back to a time in childhood when I felt protected by my father’s love. I was his favorite with all the advantages and privileges it entailed. I thought I held a special spot in his heart. A feeling I cannot totally explain.
Ours was the image of the perfect family. We took fun trips to Beach Bend Park and weekly trips to the zoo. I knew that I was loved, and it would save me. Nonetheless, when I was seven years old the last of our siblings came into my eldest sister and my bed. With her smiles and coo, Sonya soon replaced me in my dad’s heart. I still savored the moments when I would run my father’s bathwater or make his tea. I liked the way he poured his tea into his saucer so it would cool. I watched while he took small gulps, the sounds of slurp still ring in my ear. Those moments paint a picture of life lived like a characters in a story book and I was the main character.
It was not until I had reached adulthood and I let go of the story-book life to examine the source of my unhappiness. It was there that I found shame. It was the story I told myself that I was unlovable and of no value to the world. The story followed me like a shadow into adulthood. Each relationship I entered looking for a love no man could ever fulfill.
The first relationship I had was with a man five years my senior. He was twenty-one, and I was sixteen. It evolved into both a physically and sexually abusive union. One time I ran from upstairs to the living room where his mother lived. His relatives stood around and did not intervene as he kicked me while I lay on the floor. Many times his mother told me he was no good, but I did not listen. He was the only thing in my life, and I held on as if the relationship would save me.
My parents did try to intervene and save me from this abusive relationship. They sent me to Atlanta to live with an aunt. One time we stood by my father’s car and Frank threatened my father. But my father stood his ground. Frank finally walked away. There were many such moments of abuse. With the help of my step-mother, I got the courage to walk away.
As I awaken to the truth of my life and the understanding of the interdependence of all things. Life is like one continuous moment touching the next creating an unbroken chain of events.
As the plot unfolds, I realize I have always written the script. It may have been easier for me to blame my father, mother and the men I took to bed. I welcomed those actors into my story, and they became a willing part. I soon ran them away when the story wasn’t fun, and I wanted it to end. I believe I have the power to change the story at any time and write new lines that explain life as it is, not what I want it to be. I accept my life and the experiences I have lived. It has all been my choice. I am free to be in the world, not held down by the past and what I believe someone did to me.