Hindsight is 2020 (Mother's Day)

Jonathan, Marilyn, & Robert Brown. 1989.

My love for this woman has no understanding. It surpasses respect and lapses admiration. I don't know why thoughts of her put me in a myopic haze. It's like when I try to process my Mother, I lose sight of myself because of the way my concern bleeds when she enters my headspace. I try to remember:

"She's stronger than she looks. You can't judge her abilities off of the hell she's faced."

I had to learn to give her space and not allow myself to be a crutch, so she can learn how to identify and utilize her own strength. I have had to remind her of who she is, I have had to show her where her improvement lies, and I have to continuously inform her of how important her health is. In the above photo, my mother was a beautifully radiant 27-year-old high stepper. I've looked at the pictures of her siblings, I checked out their style and demeanor, and I can honestly say none of them hold a candle to MY mama's natural aura. Let me not go too far into how not only was she the best dressed, but the sassiest looking, and the most graceful out of all her siblings. My mother had Louis Vuitton and Dooney & Burke bags when I was little. I remembered the Louis Vuitton print when I started to see it on celebrities' shoes in middle school and immediately registered it as "purse material". Not that it was an actual designer, but some old purse leather thinking that Louis Vuitton purses were like them glasses or plates every Grandma used to have. I looked at the "LV" print like that when I first saw it on shoes. Amazingly, that's the first time it dawned on me how stylish and current my mother actually was when she was younger. I had forgotten it completely since all I saw her wear, for the majority of my conscious childhood, were ankle-length denim skirts, French Rolls, and Wal-Mart vests.

Marilyn Y'vette Watkins Brown wore make-up and never let the make-up wear her, she accentuated what she already had and she could dress to the nines. I mean everything coordinated. Plus, she was just as graceful as she was stunning with her looks. All the way down to her handwriting. I still tell her all the time that she could have been a Professor of Calligraphy or studied the psychology of handwriting. She has such God-given talent and teachers used to know whenever she helped me with homework because of how detailed my work was. They used to think that she taught school like them because of how prepared I was in school and church. To know all that she was, it's difficult to see where she's been and had to become due to her circumstances in comparison to the woman she should have had the opportunity to be. If anybody knows my sister, Lashaundria, to put things in perspective, they are technically twins based on the above photo.

You can literally see the hell my Mother endured just by looking at her face in the following picture, and my heart hurts because of what she’s had to go through with just my minuscule understanding of her past, and not even her own account of those events because of how guarded she is of her own hurt. I wonder now, as I write this, how much did I, my sister, and my Father drain from her? She was a college-educated, classy, corporate-style woman with a heavy fixation on decoration and design. How did she end up with two kids, alone, living in poverty, with nothing to look forward to but paying bills and church on Sunday?

Now, this isn't a condemnation of her looks in any fashion. She's still beautiful to me. Her soul makes her even more so, but to know where she came from and she was still the same size and person after Lashaundria was born, I have to give way to what happened after my sister's arrival as the catalyst to these changes. Whatever it was that she was faced with was what pushed her to vacant the things about herself that were cemented aspects. I know that she was abused. I know she was divorced. I know she was a single mother of two with minimal financial help or literacy thereof, and it weighed on her in every aspect of her physical make-up for years.

I can’t imagine what it’s like raising two children, by yourself, in a one-bedroom shotgun house in North Bessemer. Sleeping on the living room couch (Every. Single. Night.) just to give your children some semblance of having a bedroom. She will, and has, given me her absolute last dollar, and sometimes with no idea of when the next one will come. Then, will be just as happy giving it, as you giving something to her, in knowing that she could help you. She will attribute her having it and you needing it, as evidence of the presence of God taking care of us all. That's how she remains so selfless even up to this very moment. I know my compassion and capacity to help, encourage, and uplift others is the fruit that falls from her tree. I am some of the most beautiful parts of my mother, and everybody I introduce to her she loves, she prays for, she welcomes in, she gifts to, she speaks life into, she compliments, she consoles, and I can identify that now, in my 30's, that I am her child through these truths. I’m not calling her perfect because we are all flawed people, but she has always tried to give ME my heart’s desires, no matter how much it hurt her to do it, or how much effort it took for her to fulfill.

Ok. Short Story.

My mama would work 16-hour shifts at Wal-Mart in Hoover. The night before Valentine's Day in 5th Grade, she got home late as she usually did and brought home the personalized cards students would pass out to each other on Valentine's and a few bags of cheap candy. I was already on edge because I was in love with this girl named Tychena Sanders. Like, I was a pure fool for her. I read this story once that if you held a strain of hair from the head of somebody you had feelings for in your hand, for 3 hours, that they would start to mirror how you felt for them. Why was I in class the week before, trying to pull a strain of this girl's naturally golden-brown hair out her head, without her noticing? I held a piece of that girl's hair in my hands until 8 that night, thinking: "..if all you need is 3 hours, she should love me if I hold it for 5!" Hey. I was young, imaginative, and didn't have anybody other than peers to learn up-to-date things from. Well here we are, the night before, and I have held hair and prepared myself. I help Mama get stuff out of the car, I see the candy and I'm like, "Mama why got the cheap candy? Tychena likes good candy." She already knew where I was going but was too tired to engage with me so she just shrugged it off and said, "You wanna go with nothing?" I sulked and thought my day tomorrow was all but ruined while I went inside and filled out the cards for all the students in my class. Lashaundria and I got up early the next day and went to my Aunt Carolyn's house next door because of how much earlier my Mama would go to work than we went to school. I got my two bags of candy and my cards and walked next door. My mama told me as she was getting ready to drive off, to leave the candy and she'll bring me some to the school. I was happy already. Well, we finally get to school, Westhills Elementary, and the time until we exchange cards and candy is counting down in my head because my Mama gotta make it here on time or else I'll be even worse off because the only thing worst than cheap candy, is no candy.

We had been in class for almost two hours and Mrs. Thomas, our 5th-grade teacher, announced that those who finished the early morning assignment could start sharing. My heart drops because all I have are some goofy WWF Valentine's Day cards that say things like: "Love today, will be a BIG SHOW!" with Big Show's picture on it. It's people in here with huge bags of assorted candy and balloons. I'm not panicking, but I need to make sure my mother is coming. My teacher and I never got along when I would ask her questions. It's like the inquisition in my voice vexed her.

Me: "Mrs. Thomas can I go call my Mama?"

Mrs. Thomas: "'s 10:30, what are you calling her for?"

Me: "She was supposed to bring my candy."

Mrs. Thomas: "If you left your candy at home, too bad, be more responsible."

Me: "..but I did'n-"

Mrs. Thomas: "Ummm, Mr. Brown, turn around and pass out what you have."

I sit still, everybody started passing out cards and candy, I get a few cards from the people who made something for literally everybody in class just as I did. I finally, when everybody seemed distracted, started to walk towards the front of my class to hopefully pass out these lame cards. As soon as I start to walk, the intercom blares: "Jonathan Brown, please report to the main office, Jonathan Brown, please report to the main office. Thank You." My heart drops! Sheer excitement floods over me because I know that's my Mama and I know she got candy for me. I could finally empty half a bag of candy on Tychena's desk and I knew in my rabid-ass adolescent mind that she would start to like me when I did. I fly out of the classroom, didn't even ask for permission to leave. I catch my Mama in the hallway and not only does she have a Wal-Mart bag FULL of candy. She has cupcakes and sodas too! I'm hype! I literally try to strongarm all the stuff she had and she stops me and says, "Wait, wait, go get the flowers out of the car first. Take the dozen to your teacher, and you can give the single rose to Tychena."

Mama put me ALL the way in the game. I walk in with the flowers for my teacher which I didn't care if she actually got, and everybody pauses and stares at me walking in. I give her the flowers and I could see the contempt on her face. I fly back out and come in with the cupcakes and sodas, and the ooh's and ahh's start back again. My mama comes in with the rest of them and I go get the last remaining flower out of the hallway. I walk back in, one rose, Tychena is the only one that notices me walk back in because everybody else is talking and playing around. She had the most beautiful brown eyes, and I would ask her open-ended questions just so she would have to talk to me and I could stare without being creepy.

Tychena currently, but her eyes are the same.

This has to be the first time I can remember anxiety. All I had to do was give Tychena a single rose, and as I make my way to her desk, Mrs. Thomas yells out and draws the attention of almost every soul in that wing of the school. "Jonathan Brown did you get me a single rose too!?" I turn back to the class and EVERYBODY is staring at me now. I look at Tychena one last time and Mrs. Thomas walks from behind her desk to meet me. She hugs me and reaches for the rose. I couldn't for the life of me tell her, in front of the entire class, that the rose was for Tychena because I had never told a soul in my class that I liked her. First female-based punk-out of my young emotional life.

The point of this embarrassing funny moment isn't to highlight my punkasseness, or an attempt to bring up and old flame because me and Ty are cool to this moment, but to showcase the fact that my Mama literally went to work, bought all this stuff, and then left work to bring it all the way back to my school. While all at the same time, fulfilling her own child's selfish request when she has already done what she should have. Provided. Had I had the balls to give the rose to Tychena, I would feel at least a sense of pride from that moment now. My mama did all that work just for me to nut up at the goal line.

My mama would do for her children when she could and when she could, she didn't patronize the idea of happiness, she forced it onto us. She tried her best to take away our pains but retail employment and two kids don't create a whole lot of wiggle room. She made sure whatever she did reflected how much she loved us to anybody that would wonder. I gave her grief and ungratefulness the night before, and where most parents would have let that generic off-brand candy be it for their children, she spent money she didn't have just because she knew how bad there were things I wanted, that she knew she couldn't give me. I used to cry to her about not having friends when I was younger, and she's always put herself at the forefront of every opportunity for me to have what I desired if she could gift it to me. Most times she couldn't, but when she could. She always showed out. She gave me the best Valentine's Day I could have asked for as a 10-year-old. That's my Mama.

She would end up getting sick two years later, complete nervous breakdown. This is where that suncatcher becomes relevant. The one I mentioned in the last blog, that she painted and sits inside my Aunt Sandra's front window. It's not a handclap moment for my Aunt Sandra for keeping it there as if it's special to her, we were just pushed off on her because our mother was sick and that's where we lived when Mama gave it to me. I doubt anybody in our family has paid any attention to it since I put it there almost 20 years ago. The conversation that next morning in November after she was admitted into the hospital I had the first real shove into adulthood, even though they would only give me the Wal-Mart edited CD version of what was wrong with her. They told me she wouldn't be there to see me off to school that day in 7th Grade. I asked what happened, fighting to hold back tears because I'm scared and asking over and over, "What happened to her?" They told me that "...she's going to be fine, don't worry. She just works too much and her mind got really tired". That's how what was wrong with her was explained to me at 12 years old.

This is what I reflect back to staring at that suncatcher, ringing the doorbell that day. All those heavy emotions, and repressed memories, and traumatic situations are now live streaming directly over my eyes. I'm ringing the doorbell outside that same Aunt Sandra's house where my mother was living at the time, and the world around me seeps deeper into a deafened wind tunnel. I can only imagine how long I sat there, staring off into the depth of myself from the cliffs in my mind because I only stopped ringing the doorbell when my Mother got close to the door and she walks with a cane. I've always added the blame for my mother's sickness on the possibility it was just delayed from my father's abrupt departure from us 8 years earlier. Now I am being told by somebody, whose opinion for my life I hold in high regard, that I must go see him and get the answers I seek about myself. It was not an easy pill to swallow. The anger you've held onto for so long that is a part of you now, you have to start to let go. That anger has become a crutch. It allows me to divest myself, to not care about people's emotions if I don't want to, to not get close to people, to not trust anything people say because even the people who love you will leave you. It allows me to hurt in silence and show my rage in well-placed, over-exaggerated irritations. I would have to remove that anger to even consider talking to him, and I was nowhere near the realm of reality where it'd be possible to do that yet. Not now with what I had going on that particular day, and the weeks following up to Mother's Day.

May 9th.

In the time leading up to May 9th, a few things happened that egressed my now polluted perceptions, and I was tested in a lot of trivial and aggravating ways. I was becoming that angry person that had every annoying facet of my life pushing me to react. COVID had taken my podcast away from the recording studio, so now the only option was a Zoom call or a streaming platform. We elected to live-stream and episode 55 of The Whitted Committee that was supposed to highlight the difference between being raised on love and being raised on survival.

The conversation was ok, it was what had become our typical outing. I always enjoy firing off stuff in my head that people would want to listen to. It's always something going on up there that I don't think people care to hear unless they ask. I got what I knew I would, I honestly just wanted more from the conversation as a whole due to the fact that I was kinda soul searching myself at the time. Here I am trying to understand did growing up without my Father in my life make me better? Or terribly worst that I could have. I guess I was looking for insight on what to feel, and as to why I should let this nigga in my life now after all this time. There were periods of time where I would go on auto-pilot in conversations because I can't shake certain thoughts plaguing my mind. I was there for about the last hour thinking about doing anything other than what I was doing since the conversation was on something else completely. Seemed like everybody else didn't mind it, so I just kept it to myself. I began to feel like all we do is chit-chat now, small talk centered around dope topics, filled with random outbursts and sidebars that have nothing to do with the general conversation.

I just focus on being the personality people expect to see and that's just as hard as pretending to be ok and you're not. I was just the well-spoken big guy that has to laugh and be joyous to keep everybody at ease because I've been told that when I'm not, that's when I'm irritated, or when I want to put my fist through something that it bothers people and makes it difficult to be around me. My energy then is "draining" to say the least. When pretending to be ok, it can be disguised as inner strength, but I was just acting like everybody wanted me to, which feels even worst when people don't recognize the effort you make in just being what they need or expect you to be. Very few people know how strong I actually am. Very few know what blanketing rage looks like on me. I do what I need to do to keep myself at bay at all times. However, with acting out a persona, you're not even allowed to be anything else without feeling like you're pushing away everybody you want around you. I remember sitting on Deandre's porch one Wednesday before the show, wanting to quit. Just end the show for a while and focus on something different because I was feeling like I was underwater running out of air. I was getting low, and then and I was told I couldn´t quit. So I put on my big boy pants and kept pushing. Now, here we are months later and my tolerance and peaceful fortitude is cracking.

I know my feelings towards things mean nothing to anybody else, I try to keep that thought ever-present thought in my mind to make sure I don't expect anything from people, even sentiments and understandings. It helps with disappointments and irritations. I´m also cognizant of how I may be an irritation to other people. I could tell that my relationship with my cohost was becoming different. I couldn't tell what was causing it, I just knew I needed to rid myself of the negative feelings from it because I didn't have the extra space to deal with it. So I let everything ride. Deandre told me to separate the friend Courtney, from the business partner Annise months before and I kept that in my head every time we were around each other. I love my friend. I adore my friend. However, life with my business partner wasn´t what I envisioned it to be anymore. Not that she had to be what I wanted, but our connection and how we worked together wasn't the same and hadn't been for a long time. The energy was different. We came out of 2019 with new wounds to learn to heal, and old wounds reinjured so it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the disposition. We were in new territory with new problems and new demons to face. I tried to make sure the friend never forgot me, never forgot who I was at my core. The person who is always willing to help and be present. The "melee fighter" to her "shooter". The person always willing to go there, to endure, to get their hands dirty. It only seemed to be harder and harder for us both to be in a good mood around each other. I slowly started to not try as hard for us to be, just start to let things happen naturally. It had its benefits.

Cinco de Mayo was another point where I wasn't in the right headspace, I just wanted a night to laugh and talk and play spades with my people because Deandre's other homeboy Bear was in town and I had been wanting him to meet Courtney for a while due to what know about their personalities. I was asked to bring Queso from Moe's, and I really didn't have it to spend after being off work for now 6 weeks, and savings was wearing thin. Unemployment due to COVID still hadn't started and that was driving me crazy. I can't stand the thought of being helpless and being without any financial resources as a grown man is helplessness personified. I fell into a deep depression before and that's what every single day felt like. Hopeless Helplessness. That was a time where I literally wore slides every single day almost for an entire year. The only time I didn't was to go to church and to the countless interviews I went on that never panned out into anything. The crazy part is I don't think anybody registered it as something wrong and looking back (hindsight) it's the same thing my mother does. You stop caring about looking your best because internally you know you look horrible.

Circa 2011

I focused on the fact that I should have a dope night and it's worth that at least to make a move. Some laughs, stories, and jokes should get me right because I hadn't had a night with my own friends in months. It did nothing for my irritation level at first though. I DO think I'm a little aggressive and unforgiving when I get in that space. Anything can set me off, especially slow-moving lines when I have somewhere to be. Dre said we were going to start at 7:30 that night, I was running late and got to Moe's at 7:25 thinking that I would get to Dre's at 7:45 and not hold anybody up too long. I had been at Moe's 20 mins when I took this picture at 7:45. I was stewing.

I finally get the queso and make my way to Dre's house and that night, I was sitting across from Dre, because we planned on playing Spades, and he is my Spades partner. We sat and chopped it up for about an hour waiting on Courtney and Tiadra, all the while, personally making sure we waited for them to get there before we ate. They arrive and the hungry started to react to the opportunity to finally eat. I realized I was in the way of people making their food due to where Dre's kitchen table is positioned. I stand up from the table as somebody tries to squeeze by and say, "Y'all can fix your plates first. Let me know when yall done and I'll make mine so we can play." I get up and go into the living room out the way with the other one of my best friends, Jasmine. I sat there, and after 10 minutes I walk back in to see everybody sitting down eating and now my chair is being occupied. It was not a real issue, definitely small, and something I usually wouldn't even say anything about 99% of the time. However, THAT day it infuriated me. That Neglect Anxiety kicked in and took off. Here I am, the largest man in Jefferson County, on most days, trying squeeze by the chair I was sitting in, and having to repeat myself after saying excuse me and nothing happened. I zoned out for a split second, ready to fire off in aggression thinking, "I gave yall the respect of waiting for you and to make your food first, and I come back and the night just going without me now?" I stopped myself, remembering that I'm the one not in the right headspace. I wasn't going to unleash what I had, but I didn't even want to be there anymore. Jasmine could tell I was frustrated and just asked if I wanted to go. Normally I would have just chalked it up but today, I was done because I obviously didn't have to be there. Looking back, it was the same pride that eats away at us all starting to rear its ugly head. I could feel my anger building day by day as I lost routine after routine that helped me deal with life.

Days pass and I stewed over the fact that nothing was going right for me right then. I was angry, a lot, and I couldn't bring myself to want to do anything besides continue to drown myself in binge-watching Netflix and Hulu. I felt that I shouldn’t expect anything from people at this point, no matter what I am to them, I should never expect the same things I give, in return, because that's not how this ever works. I sucked it up as long as I could but after weighing what to do about reaching out to my father, and trying to remain calm about my finances, I finally caved. I needed to talk to somebody. 

I reached out to a good friend of mine named Meagan who I have known for 10 years, somebody I know has a spiritual connection to a higher power. She was somebody that knew me, the people in my life, and had enough foresight to give sound advice and instruction when necessary. She painted the above caricature portrait of my cohost and I for me. We have always spiritually have been close because she could always see my soul. We met in 2010 through Twitter and have always talked, encouraged each other, and checked in when communication dropped due to our personal up's & downs. I trusted her with my mind, and I rarely trust anybody when it comes to that. I felt like I needed guidance, direction, and understanding. I unloaded what I had that I could share and after going back and forth for about an hour about finances and COVID and the show and my possibly reaching out to my Father, and finally, she interjects, “I think you have problems because of expectations and forgiveness.” I was confused at first and asked her to explain and what she followed with made perfect sense. “You expect things to be a certain way and you get disappointed when they don't, and you struggle with forgiveness. I think that you hold grudges, so much that it creates these blocks in your progressions. You need to get that weight off of you.” I sat for a minute considering what she just told me and then told her about what Jameka said to me a month before, and Meagan responded, “Exactly. You should go and speak with him, you never know how much it could really help because this is something you've never done.” I sat for a second trying to digest the idea that made me want to stick my fist through somebody's face. I gritted my teeth and said, “....yeah ok.” She affirmed that when you hold malice, bitterness, subjugation, and pride in your heart, you are tying a weight to your feet that prevents you from progressing. She said I wanted to fix this issue I needed to work on releasing the negatives. Meagan affirmed a lot for me. She confirmed that I am a dominant force and that when I move how God wants me to, nothing will sit in my way as a hindrance unless I allow it. I told Meagan I would try my best to speak with him. I actually made a promise that the next time I got the opportunity to be in his city, I would attempt to get in contact with him to test the possibility of coming by to talk to him.

Remember that.  Meagan assured me that over the next few weeks if I worked on doing what I was being led to do, God would reveal himself to me. She told me I had hate in my heart, against God. I rejected the notion in my first breath but, I quickly had to eat those words because she was absolutely right. I did resent God. I used to ask, "What did I do to deserve this life?" This life of glorified nothingness. This abysmal labyrinth of purposeless efforts God loves to taunt me with. Light comes from around a corner and no matter what I do or how fast or slow I go, that light of direction seems to evade me. "Who did I piss off or what generational curse was I born under that happiness becomes a luxury I can't consistently afford? Why does God need me to die to be happy?" I know I’m smart and capable, but why is it every time I apply myself to being better and doing better, it’s like I’m getting punished for trying. When I’m alone, uninspired, and without motive, I can seem to dodge the unfortunate circumstances that tend to follow behind me. However, when I try to just be what I know I can be, it feels like I waited too late to start and my time runs out. Everything starts to stop working, everything becomes an issue or a problem. I always feel like no matter how hard I pour my heart and soul into committing to an endeavor that feels right for me, God does his absolute best to get me away from it. I try to find out if it's something I'm doing that's halting me, maybe I'm not focused on what's important. Maybe I'm causing the disruptions because when I start to feel like I'm losing ground, I cut think to cut my losses and start something else. Maybe my Neglect Anxiety activates when my bare expectations are omitted and triggers my need to protect myself from further disappointment because surely if that's a perception that sours my relationships, it's possible that I do it to myself when the female I'm interested in is some idea or initiative that I truly believe will deliver me results to save myself and my family. In the midst of our conversation I had to address what I was uncovering, where does this sense of defeat come from? What is this regret and hurt feeling that manifests when things don't pan out for me at all? I feel like a guy losing a girl he's falling for like every single time.

It's the same hope you have when you've met somebody that genuinely sparks your interest, you get chills and you can't stop smiling. The relationship begins to take off as you start to see this beginning to change your mood even when you're not involving yourself with them. The air starts to feel different around you. You're inspired and see meaning in everything. All you do is think of ways to deepen the relationship and improve your understanding of them. This is the beginning of a good idea for me, it's like falling for someone new, unexpectedly. The person you didn't think you'd like at first glance but now feels suddenly perfect for you. What tends to happen that triggers my anxiety is now that my guard is down, the relationship changes. Time is always getting away, talks aren't as frequent, and circumstances ruin dates to plan and cultivate the relationship between us. Idea and I always start hot and when I try to make amends for the bullshit, Idea's ex Life shows up, and 'Dea seems to start to ghost me. Maybe she thinks I won't beat the circumstances, or maybe she doesn't feel like she's in first place anymore and pulls away. I know eventually, I need to have some sort of backbone and not wallow over what is becoming lost because maybe 'Dea isn't for me. I begin to fall back, giving up, thinking that if it's supposed to happen, let it go and if it comes back, it belongs to you. I know it's cliche but it's the best way to illustrate the feeling of why I lose faith in things. Being neglected from my own progression in my goals feels like it's in my best interest to create distance.

Maybe that's why I'm never really pressed about women and relationships. I love a beautiful woman to look at, but I'm never getting up in arms about establishing anything with anybody anymore. "If she want me she need to act like it" is something I would always say but now I'm thinking that maybe 'Dea just makes me numb to actual physical connections. After all, if your idea doesn't pan out, you don't usually develop malice towards yourself if it sours. I took Meagan's words to heart and tried my best to change my circumstances and those circumstances that were presented to me only. I would try to accept that it's never God's fault for what was taking place in my life because I still have to walk through the doors he opens for me so when the outcome is sorting through assorted, sordid stipulations, it's still me that's making the decisions. I would ask for forgiveness, for not forgiving my debtors, as he forgave the debts against me. I would pour energy into what was asked of me. I would allow myself to follow the ordered footsteps before me and the only thing Meagan asked me to do initiate it was to...

“Surrender Jonathan. Surrender your plans, your outlook, your understanding, your way. Surrender everything to him.”

That night I prayed. I told God: "Thank you. Thank you for everything you've protected me from and made available to me. I asked for God to order my steps, I asked him to clean my heart, reveal those who meant me harm, and encourage me so that I could be a vessel to those who did need me. I asked him to bless and grant favor to everybody that surrounds me." I asked God to bless those people, bless their lives, protect them, and give them favor.

Protecting your mind isn’t an easy task. I know that now. I spent so much time playing Tetris with my problems and issues and obligations and plans. It always starts off easy, you know what’s coming and what to do with it to make it fit everything else. The pace is steady and you start to feel a glimpse of hope that you can handle what it is you go through. You feel good because you build momentum and that ignites your confidence that you are getting better and when that small moment comes where you can appreciate what you’re learning to do, somehow you deserve a difficulty setting boost. It’s like it was going to easy, too well, for too long. Now everything’s coming faster. You can’t keep up with what’s next because you’re scrambling trying to fix the brick you put in the wrong spot and how to correct your mistake before it comes back to haunt you. You get lucky, you know you didn’t move the brick in the right spot yourself and since the score went up, the difficulty setting shifts again. That confidence you built so far is dwindling because you feel you should have lost by now but you’ve gotten lucky. Now the bricks are piling up and there’s nothing you can do but starve off the inevitable and appreciate the experience and the level you reached but this is where you max out. This is where your consistent problems and never-ending issues meet your prior obligations and failed plans start to stack on top of each other, obstructing your progress.

Now the game is gone, and if you aren’t too far down on yourself, you can start playing again but sometimes you wonder, “What’s the point?” Trying to win at Tetris is like trying to beat the wheel in a hamster cage. It’s going to keep going as long as you do. There is no point where you can basque in the fact that you’ve finally won. There is no comfort to commemorate. We just have to learn to be content with the game itself. You have to grow to love the rain. The next day Lashaundria called me, crying. My heart dropped as I tried to decipher what was wrong with her. Something had happened with her shirt business she had started, I ran to her because I felt like God was giving me my first orders. I went to Lashaundria and helped with whatever I could. Even getting Talia her daughter and riding her around for a while. We finally deliver a few shirts and I get a card for Lashaundria, Talia, and I to sign. We make our way to our Mother and surprise her. She was always so happy to get the smallest of things. Our conversation roamed and she gave me something that would put my ego and resentment in check.

My mother confessed to me that day that, her parents never told her, “I Love You.”

Just trying to understand that level of neglect or even how to process that level of emotional trauma. That’s... heavy. That’s extremely heavy. My mother is someone who personifies love, someone who embodies what it means to showcase love, the way God intended us to, and they've never actually heard it for themselves? From the people that advocate for, and attempt to teach God's love to complete strangers? Hypocrisy abounds. As I start to think about it, and I realized that I've never heard them say it directly to me either. I guess I never really noticed it becasue my Mother never let us go a day without hearing her say, "I Love You." to us. Everything is starting to look funny to me. How could they neglect her like that? As the day came to a close and I dropped my sister back off, I kissed Talia goodbye as she ran to play with her friends. I drove home in silence as I tried to process what all of this meant for my family. If my Mother grew up deficient in love, lacking emotional intellect, how do I know that she was perrfect in her marriage considering she was completely new to the idea of love, now we're discussing her getting it from a Man, while in college, completely on her own. After all, we mess things up when we are shown love, how would WE be if we weren't? Being angry doesn't give you a pass to be worst, it should motivate you to take stand in holding yourself accountable. I didn't imagine that in the coming weeks, learning to take a stand would impact me so much.

To Be Continued...

As I write this, it is my Mother's birthday. It's Mother's. Day.

October 21st 2018

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