The Black girl’s story is redundant lately isn’t it?
We fear being like our mothers, who were used by our fathers, we’ve been abused by our brothers and now try to find ourselves between sheets. Sheets in books and beds. I give information on my life in pieces because if not,I fear it will be just another story of a Black female writer.
“My mother was servile and my father an angry Black man. I obeyed and knew my place was in my mother’s shadow. My [Insert (fe)male figure here] sexually abused me and now I do not trust easily. I question plenty, but ask none and I have hopes and dreams, some I mention, others I see only at night. I have tried to destroy myself but am too weak, or maybe love parts of myself too much, to. I am here, another Black girl.” That is how it goes, that is how I’ve come to relate to many women, I’ve had a rough idea of what might be, and gone from there. Rarely have I been wrong.
As time has passed I’ve come to identify with the very labels I did not want to define me. Black, young, female, bisexual, African, artistic. I’ve found that whether we like it or not, as much as these labels state what we are, they only define us as far as we’d like them to. I could be Black, but have that only be skin deep, as I could be young, and have an Old Soul. Experiences have shaped me, as I am now, time has taught and erased and words have continued to come through all of that.
These are my thoughts, my opinions, my wisdom and my foolishness, as a Black girl trying to make all our stories count. Even if it’s just to us.
“I’m locked inside a land called Foolish Pride. Where the man is always right. He hates to talk but loves to fight. Is that alright?” – Janelle Monae
My earliest memory is of sitting outside a room listening to my father argue with my mother, then hearing a loud crash and seeing him walk out the door. My earliest recollection of feeling, at that point, was terror and confusion. And guilt. It was a fight over something I had told, so obviously it was my fault. Or at least I felt so.
Happy families are built on facades and hope for the most part. In my years of existence I’m fairly certain I’ve only seen a handful of them. The other parents I saw were merely attempting to add as much glitter to a dull picture as possible. And as I’ve grown I’ve come to attempt to understand why. Our parents did not necessarily marry for love. They attempted, for the most part to make the best out of situations. It mattered not what he looked like, what he wore, more what he could provide, the Man he was, and frankly, if he was worth it. It mattered little what her skin tone was, who she knew and what her hair looked like, but more the kinds of kids she would raise, the comfort she could provide, and the Woman she was.
Looking at the fact that there was no romantic love, that they did not really aspire to have gifts to brag about and such were considered a luxury, I guess what most of us grew up witnessing makes sense, even if it was wrong. Witnessing abuse will always have an impact on one. What it molds you into is purely up to you though. I have friends who use it as an excuse. A crutch. They have no identity without said tragedy. “I am like this because when I was 5 I saw my dad hit my mother.” I also have other friends who have seen this, taken it and learned from it. Those who have become stronger individuals in spite of it. They may be paranoid, quick to fight and yet peaceful in times of potential distress, but they have taken their background in stride.
I don’t think most Black parents think we should carry what never happened to us. But my generation has spent so much time speaking and witnessing, we find it hard to believe things don’t involve us. It’s not really a matter of shame, woman abuse by a partner is not necessarily as taboo as we’d like to make it seem. These things are not kept secret out of shame. They are kept quiet because it’s nobody’s business. As a child, you don’t speak because you have no understanding,and therefore, no voice. In his eyes, he owns her, is putting her in check, or is just doing as he should/wants to. We live in a misogynist patriarchal society that if one does not step outside of the mold they’ve been raised in, faults,flaws and evil become nothing but what we know.
I used to detest women who watched their men cheat, hid their black eyes from their kids and died slowly before their family’s eyes. I judged them,I mocked them, they were weak to me. I could not understand how one could take that much hate, in it’s many forms, and cover it with smiles to call it Love. I did not know anything of affection but that It never hurt. Despite what the R & B songs said,it could not hurt if it was given purely.
Only through growing did I know that a man could use you to his heart’s content and that would be love. That his upbringing would be an excuse to erase yours. His pain would be what only you, as a woman, would carry, as he found joy and solace in somebody else who knew nothing of his True Self. And because you were she who stood firm and still represented all his past misfortune, he would begin to hate you. To detest the fact that even as you carry such burdens, you never use it as a reason to be anything more than that which you are, a Woman. This, attempting to support him and give him love that he could never stomach because he had never received it, would drive him up the wall. How you could be stronger than he is. How you could carry Him. You and all which you are the center of, would perplex and unsettle him. And he would seek to break you. Broken people are only ever comfortable in chaos. He’d want to have little victories over you. And the battles would be what you,as his wife, should aspire to solve, and not necessarily win, til Death do you part. This would be Love. This would be what you would grit your teeth and bear it for. The occasional smile would be what you hope for.