I hope she is proud of me. This is my Great Grandmother Bertha Sanders she transitioned in August of 1972. She was 80 years old. Her Father was an African Slave and her Mother was A Native American. She worked and was on her feet till the day she passed.. She had just been diagnosed with Heart Disease when she told us that she would not under any circumstances die in a “white man’s ” hospital. She said, “I am going to lay down, prop my feet up, close my eyes and go home.”
That is exactly how she transitioned. She laid down on the couch in the living room and closed her eyes and did not wake up.
I had gone to church and when I returned she was already gone. The coroner had taken her body. It was just my Grandmother and I left to fend for ourselves.
My Great Grandmother had what we now call a bucket list. She wanted a Family Reunion on her 80th Birthday July 4th. She wanted me to start going to church. This had not really been a priority because she prayed with me and read from the Psalms and Proverbs to me at night before bed.
After her death I swear I could hear her at times saying to me, “Nesie be a good girl.” I also remember that she would say to my Grandmother Mamie, “Give that girl whatever she wants.” I was her girl and forever will be.
I share this story in HONOR of Black History Month. My Great Grandmother is truly African American. This is why I am offended when society wants me to be reduced to a color.
There is only one race, the human race.This is my HerStory
I honor the Mamie and Bertha in me
the image they continue to give me is one of possibility
these women stood tall, I never saw their backs break
a slight bend now and again
but never broken
I never saw them without what they needed
they showed me with hard work anything can be defeated
I am not afraid to break a sweat
so you have not even seen the best of me yet
I am like my Great Grandmother Bertha,
she walked through this world on her own terms
she paid the price to decide
when to prop up her feet and die to flesh
this is who I am
my grandmother Mamie did the same thing
you would always her saying
I will go die before I lose my independence
and she left this world on her own terms
this is where I come from
backs do not break
we walk on through
our souls help us decide what to do
like their great, great, and great-granddaughter Melisa
even though they left her for dead
she has a mission
she will decide when it is time to go home
so I am going to be all right
this is where I come from
I have decided I have more work to do
more light to shine, more seeds to be sown before I go home
I am going to lay my burdens down
at Mamie, Bertha, Cara, and Margie’s feet
they are already free
and they are waiting on me to finish up this work
and come home and be free
by mozayik “the souls’ poet” 3.11.13
A journal entry from 1.3.2013
All day today I have been hearing that Mary J. Blige song “Just Fine”. I made it through a tumultuous year. If you had told me everything that happened in my life was a promise I would have laughed. I believe I can be more than a survivor. I can thrive. I know how to hold on to my Joy. (still holding 3.25.2013)
I am still in therapy and I plan on staying for the long haul this time. I am truly falling in love with me. I had told myself that I deserved bad things to happen to me as restitution to what I thought I had done to people I love. My therapist had me look at and what I found was that I was quick to take the blame for everything that went wrong in my children’s’ lives, the people I was in relationship with or any other situation. It was easier to be the scapegoat that way I did not have to address the issues.
Our society conditions women to wear guilt like a cloak of honor. A case in point is my divorce and the custody battle. My ex husband had one of the best and most expensive lawyers in Missouri and they had plotted their plan of action against me months before I ever spoke to a lawyer. The Legal Services of Eastern Missouri http://www.lsem.org/ could not help me in the late 90’s, I hope the patriarchal stupidity has stopped
because they used his income to decide if I qualified for help. Although, it was documented that he was physically abusive.
Of course he won custody but I am still treated as if I abandoned my children. Not once has anyone said anything negative about a man who would take his children from their mother when there was no history of anything negative. As I look back I can understand his perseverance to keep them away from my incestuous family. He knew all about the Sexual abuse of me and my siblings and was determined to keep his children from that and I don’t blame him. Looking back with 20/20, things happened the way that they were supposed to.
But I do blame myself and allow others to guilt trip me. (working on changing my thoughts)
It showed up in my relationships. Particularly the most recent involvement with a woman that triggered me to relive my trauma and neglect. I clung to her with my life, and would not let go because doing so meant I had to stop blaming myself and do the hard work of healing. I willing allowed her to tell me all of our problems were because “I had issues”. She was abusive and I made excuses for her so I could live in denial, but that is another story..
I am grateful to know that I can be alone with myself and have peace. That was something I had lost last year.
I am still free from the fear of being alone. 3.25.2013