Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ain't Gotta have Teeth to Smile!

It's been yet another long while, and I shouldn't have left you..... Sorry.
Sometime around Christmas 2008, I was feeling very depressed, though I refused to admit it.  When I got home for the holidays, I realized how much I had been depriving myself.  I realized how much people really love me, and not say they love me, or want to love me, but really and truly do love me!  My family loves me with their actions.  Just being in their presence made me smile.  I had smiled the realest smile I had smiled in awhile.  I realized, yet again, what true love is and where true joy takes root. 

I woke up early one morning, before the children, before the noise of the day, before the birds started chirping and I spent the wee hours of remaining twilight with GOD.  I had been avoiding Him.  He had been tugging on me.  I refused to sit still.  I didn't want to get scolded.  I was afraid.  I knew, or thought I knew what He would say.  He would compel me to leave some situations behind.  And I already knew what I needed to do, I was just pussy-footing around, still trying to get what I wanted out of it.  Instead, I got more than I bargained for.  GOD was right.  He always is.  And I had to deal with the consequences of my actions.

I deserved it I guess.  That's what hardheaded and stubborness gets you.  He compared me to Humpty Dumpty and told me that He sent His Son to pick up my pieces and put me together again.  I laid there in the middle of my sister's floor rug, rolling around and frolicing with GOD!  He made me laugh.  He made me smile.  There was that beautiful smile again.  My comfort was in knowing that He controls my destiny.  My life is in His hands.  My security came from knowing that I am the righteousness of Him.  There is no need to beat myself up for my mistakes.  I made them.  I knew they were mistakes before I made them.  That's my fault and I accept full responsibility for them.  But there is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Behold, I am a new creature.  I'm growing these wings!!!
At what has been the lowest point of my life yet, when I thought I had no reason to smile, He got it out of me.  He brought me joy and continues to do so.  I am at the point now where I let negativity wash off of me like water on a duck's back.  I REFUSE to be bound by depression.  No matter how much money I don't have, or how little food is in the fridge, or how long the clothes have to go without washing, or how little gas has got to last until next pay period. Ever wonder why homeless people, citizens of underdeveloped countries, people who are sick or dying, or living with some kind of inability, can smile through all of that?  Ever see a homeless man look peaceful? It's a choice... I choose to be happy.  No matter what. I wish this feeling could last forever!  I have a new level of faith now.  I choose to smile :^) 



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Searching for my Daddy

I've looked here.  I've looked there.  I've looked everywhere....
Searching for my Daddy.

I didn't think that I would have.  I never contemplated that I could have.... missed the presence of a father figure in my life.  Now that I am older, wiser, and stronger; I can attribute specific behaviors to the affect that that void had on my life.  It's not that I lacked love.  It's not that I
never had a male presence, but ain't nobody Daddy but Daddy.  

I grew up in the house with Paw Paw as a young child and then my mother got married so her husband filled in the father shoes, or a step-father's at least.   A part of me wished that I could have stayed with my Paw Paw.  He would have cared for me the way a man cares about the women he loves. Having a step father wasn't all bad.  But he wasn't mine, and we weren't his, and all parties involved were keenly aware of this fact.

As I blossomed into young womanhood, I can recall my sisters and I being referred to as "undesirables".  Now, a statement as malicious as that would make any young girl stop for a moment to think about it, even if she knows it isn't true.  It was an attack on my self esteem.  As a developing teenager, every mention of myself  was a reason for me to re-evaluate and consider how I could become who I thought I wanted to be.  I wanted to be desired.  I wanted a man to want me.  A father, a grandfather, a teacher, a homeboy, a pastor.....a daddy.  It seemed for so long that he didn't.  Whoever he was.  

I vaguely remember meeting my Daddy for the first time when I was about 3 years old.  It was raining and the streetlights in front of his mother's downtown New Orleans home made the puddles glow an eerie orange color.  He wanted to hug me before I got in the car to leave.  Of course I shied away.  I didn't know him.  My mama taught me not to talk to strangers.  Hell, he didn't want me anyway!  If he wanted me, I would've known who he was.  There would have been no hug goodbye before we left because we wouldn't have.  

Somewhere along the line, I must've gotten used to being mistreated by men.  It was so normal that if it didn't happen that way, I found myself utterly disappointed.  I wanted to hurt, and be  angry, and upset.  I wanted to have to fight to keep him around because that's what I had gotten used to. The symptoms became the cure.  And I found myself on a downward spiraling road to self affliction and dysfunction.  And even though I would cuss out anybody who told me that I was looking for love in all the wrong places, that's exactly what I was doing.  I was looking for it outside of myself.  Now that I am more mature and have had a chance to reflect, I know, with a knowing that only experience can teach, that looking for anything outside of self (i.e. the spirit of GOD that lives in self) is futile.  It has to come from within.  It simply has to.

I may have gotten temporary fulfillment from the arms of whatever man would open them up to me.  Even if I knew that he was no good, and that he only wanted to get what he wanted, I stuck around because I "had" to get what I wanted too.  But the quick pleasures of sin are exchanged for death.  My soul would seep out on a regular basis, until a point when I thought I had no soul left.  And they did.  All of the men.  They left.  Paw Paw went on to glory.  Mama left her husband.   Every man that I loved would abandon me.  So I got used to it.  

There was one relationship that abandoned me so many times, and I was always there waiting for it to come back, that that became the new norm. I justified this behavior by saying that "if it's real love, it'll come back" not realizing that just because it comes back doesn't mean it's real. We have recurring nightmares too, you know.  It's like that story about the dog who sits on a nail hollering and groaning, but he doesn't get up because it must not hurt enough.  It may have taken me a couple of decades, but I finally decided that it hurt bad enough for me to not only get up, but to not sit back down on it!

People give good advice by telling you that you should be on the look out for common features, characteristics, and attributes from previous relationships so that you can make the connections and not ignore some serious red flags.  That is not to say that we should compare one person to the next.  Just be aware.  

I have had to go through a lot of pain and turmoil to get to the point of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that I am at now.  You have to pay for these lessons.  They are not free, but you can reduce the costs if you first evaluate, consider, reflect, and grow.  Years ago a got a tattoo on my back of a Sankofa, the Adinkra symbol that means learn from the past, and I have just now begun to do so.

So thank you Daddy.  Thank you for not being there when I was growing into adulthood.  Thank you for building the relationship that we do have.  And thank you for vicariously showing me what not to accept from a man.  I appreciate it.  I have learned.  I have grown.