My life is often mistaken as having been easy. A fairytale even. . . both of which are widespread misconceptions and so far from the truth.
One day my mother lost her keys. I had to be about 4 or 5 years old at the time. I was helping her look for them. I said, “Hey mom I’m not sure where your keys are but I’m looking!” Out of nowhere she took her comb and struck me with it in my forehead. I don’t recall doing or feeling anything. I just remember a HUGE knot developing on my forehead, and the man that I grew up knowing as my father being so angry.
At this time in my life, school proved to be most difficult for me as I navigated familial challenges among other struggles. My mother and I would fight and argue on a consistent basis, often in the middle of the night. She would make fun of my appearance, call me bitches, hoes, and make fun of the size of my body. This caused me to hate what God had naturally given me. A struggle I still navigate until this very day. While I don’t want to paint my mother in a negative light, I do want my independence and freedom from these moments, this pain that I have held close to me for so long. This blog submission is an effort to release this pain and to walk in the independence and emotional freedom that comes along with leaving these thoughts on electronic paper so that I might grown into a freer version of myself.
These arguments ranged from molehills to mountains. One night, things were more difficult than other times. I am not sure what triggered the argument or the hate that spewed from my mother’s tongue. She eventually shouted that the man I believed to be my father, was not. I was 18 years old at the time. After the words spilled out of my mother’s mouth, it was as if I made the connection to all that had questioned for so long. For instance, the many times I would run into this gentleman’s family in passing they would call me their niece, cousin, etc. I’d ask my mother why they did that and she’d laugh it off and say “Oh ignore them people they are crazy!” So I did.
In finding out the truth about my biological father, I shut down. I didn’t have the words to express what I felt. I remember later questioning her about it at which time she told me she only said that out of anger. In the pit of my being, I knew that wasn’t true. Years later a prayer team came to our house. Our pastor was there as well. It was at that moment that they prayed over our home. From there our pastor asked my mother if there was something she wanted to say to me. In my spirit I felt fear. I couldn’t imagine what she might have to tell me. To my surprise, my mother told me that it was true, that the man that I grew up knowing as my father for 18 years was possibly not my father. She used possibly so loose that I am not for sure if she was doing that to lighten the burden or if she really did not know. Years would pass before I would come to terms with the anger and resentment I felt. I blamed my mother for wanting a place to call my own and for the longing I had for wanting to know where I came from.
This was just the beginning of my pre-existing and growing troubles. I had recently entered college and event though my mother and I were often at odds, I had tried my best to help her navigate challenging times. There were moments she couldn’t pay the bills and I would help. There were moments she needed me and I was there. She eventually met and fell in love with a man. He was everything that she wanted and everything I prayed she would one day receive. I later realize these prayers came at my own expense.
My mom was so in love with this gentleman she started saying things like, “He’s coming over. You have to get out.” I was so shocked. These comments were typically followed by, “and you better not go to MY parents house.” Where was I going to go? I would think to myself. It really didn’t matter to her. My resentment grew and grew and grew.
My mother would tell me repeatedly that she was going to move, and I needed to figure out where I was going, but I never believed her. One day I came home after my shift which would end at midnight and the house was a skeleton. Most of her things were gone except our couch and table. I could not believe it. I cried and cried and cried. I had no words. Tears were my only response. I called a close friend who came over right away to help me pack my things as quickly as I could. I called my grandparents to see if I could stay with them. I was devastated. In hindsight I wonder why I was so shocked and hurt. Maybe I should have expected this right? But she was my mother. Why would she leave without telling me where she or WE, were going?
I didn’t hear from my mom and I didn’t speak to her for more than a year. I’d see her in public or at my grandparents house and ignore her completely. She abandoned me. I felt the depths of betrayal in my soul. I wanted nothing to do with her. How could she neglect her only child to be with a man and play mother to his? How could she love a man and not love me? This added to the challenges and the animosity I had toward her. Our relationship was never healthy. That coupled with the reality of questionable paternity, topped off with abandonment was my breaking point.
I finally found it in my heart to forgive my mother. I never got the answers I wanted about my biological father and I don’t think I ever will. The man in question suffered severe brain damage, last I heard and at one point, I wrote a letter to his residence trying to figure out if he would just even recognize me, call me his daughter or anything to validate paternity. I never received a response. There was no return letter. There was no call. There was no effort. Before my grandparents passed away, they told me that I should leave it alone. I would later discover that quite a few people in my family knew about this. My trust had been violated on many levels. I did not know who to trust anymore and these trust issues have plagued my life ever sense.
In addition to trust issues, I struggle with neglect and abandonment issues. I expect people to leave my life abruptly and rapidly. I give my all, sometimes too much in relationships that need to end. I lose complete focus on what it is that I really want and what I’m currently involved in and immerse myself into what they need and how to help them. It often comes at my own expense. I lose myself. It has caused me to not trust me with myself. Following this childhood and early adulthood trauma, I moved into my adult relationships with similar challenges and hurt.
In doing so, I have worked to heal, heal, heal. The man I believe to be my biological father passed away on Independence Day. I cried. Hard. I still feel like there are so many empty spaces in my life, questions that need and deserve answers. I don’t think it’s a coincidence he died on Independence Day. I am still trying to make sense of it all. I don’t know if God is telling me to release and free myself of the questions, hurt, pain, shame. I don’t know if it means anything at all. I have been leaning on Psalms 34:18 and trusting its promise that God is near to the brokenhearted.
Over the last several months, I have learned so much about grief. It hasn’t gone away. It’s evolved. For me, grief has equaled anger, tears, sadness, blame, and so much more. I am moving through this process slowly. Though I want it to be swift, it’s not. Still, in all my grief and misunderstanding and confusion and healing, I know and feel that God is with me. He has been holding me down! He’s kept me when I didn’t want to be kept! I am working now to grow through grief and I recently joined a grief group. I keep my friends close and make sure they understand that I value them! I let go of people who meant me no earthly nor heavenly good. Most of all, I prayed for presumed enemies.
I spent the minutes, hours, days, and years following these incidents immersing myself into trying to be successful. I came up with this plan that I would do all these things and be the BEST me I could be. I would get all these degrees, join all these organizations, and get the BEST job offers! But none of these things could alter the condition of my heart. I worked amazing jobs until I was bored, or it wasn’t exciting, and I would move on or get fired. Then I thought this isn’t working, let me get married maybe that will fix it. It was a disaster that ended in divorce. Divorce launched me into suicidal thoughts and ideations. I started trying to fix my body and my weight by not eating and buying a booty pop (so embarrassing), and making plans that I couldn’t complete. In the thick of it all I penned a suicide note. I recall a friend of mine messaging me on the holidays telling me the details of what they’d seen, and I was so embarrassed. I wanted to get out of the house but the fear of seeing my fears come to life was too much to handle. Eventually God would move me out of my hometown, and I would have to deal with navigating healing through a pandemic. My divorce taught me that rejection truly is protection. I am also learning that hurt and pain are universal. You can’t tell someone how to navigate a storm if you are battling it in a yacht and they are in a rowboat. I had to learn how to navigate my hurt, my pain, my trauma, on my own. The journey continues.
Much like the story of Moses, I have felt like I was set in a basket on the river of life. Like I was released and along the way there were women and men who came into my life to nurture me through life’s journey. Most of what has been shared with me through the good and bad times shares a consistent theme of moving forward, releasing hurt, and letting go of the people who orchestrated the hurt I carried for so long. One of my favorite key take-a-ways shared with me over the years is, “release people off of your hook and place them on God’s hook.”
In my roughest moments I’ve felt alone. Still, I knew someone, somewhere was praying for me. Someone, somewhere was rooting for me to make it. My roughest moments were spent on my knees in the presence of God and I can’t tell you how refreshing God has been to me. I urge you all to get in relationship with Him, trust Him and experience His goodness for yourself. We often search for answers that only He can provide to us. Prior to knowing his love, I was a slave to rejection, fear, trauma, and turmoil. I was fighting to protect my inner child. She was so sad. She had expectations of people to do right by her. Expectations of people loving her unconditionally. I became a slave to rejection, so much so that I gave up the resources God intended for me, to others. I wanted to be loved so badly, that the lack of love from a father turned into seeking love from a man. I put God down and picked up flawed human beings (as we all are). Today I am declaring my freedom from it all !! So, Happy Independence Day to me!! Happy Independence Day to anyone reading this who likewise declares that they are now FREE! All you have to do is declare and trust God that you are indeed free in Him. You get a fresh start! You get a new outlook on life! You get to move forward without the approval of others! Permission is not required at this level. Get up & walk in, achieve in, heal in, your freedom! I wish you the absolute best, in all things.
A Note from the Author: Please do not judge my mother harshly. She is human. I have forgiven her. This post is a release of my hurt and pain. My mother and I are in a better space and still working to navigate and repair our relationship. Special thanks to Queens Do Things for being a safe space for me to publish this anonymous piece. This release has helped me more than I could ever express.
A free woman.