“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” -e.e. cummings
For a long time I blamed both of my parents for the way that my life went. I felt like if they had been less negligent to my needs I would have been a more productive person. If they had stayed together and raised my siblings and myself I would have been better off in this world. I held on to the resentment that I had for the both of them and that emotion became the catalyst of my lack of motivation and progress. It was my security blanket that allowed me to wallow in defeat without taking personal responsibility for my negligence to my self.
Yesterday, after months of not speaking to my dad, I learned that a friend had lost her mother via Facebook post. Her only request was to speak to her one last time. My friend had not said anything about her mother being sick so the reflection sent shock waves through my body leading me to frantically call my loved ones. I sent messages to my sister and mother professing my love to them but when it came time to call my dad I stalled.
I stalled because though I knew I needed to call, I wasn’t speaking to him because he had forgotten my birthday for another year.
When I was four years old, my parents divorced, my mother, brother and I moved to the town that I grew up in. I grew up thinking that my life would be better if I was able to live with my dad, this belief began to bring a wedge between my mother and myself. I did not understand why I could not be with my father and I blamed my mother for keeping him from me and I felt like she had done something that could have been prevented.
When I became old enough, I began to reach out to my dad, calling him once or twice a week. By that time, I had a daughter and needed male guidance more than ever. Though I was happy to have him in my life again, I still had unanswered questions that I was afraid to ask because I didn’t want to run him away with my inquiries. I was also disappointed because not only had he remarried but the woman had three children two of whom were girls!
OK, livid was more of the word .
When death occurs, everything that mattered before the event seems of little to no importance at all. When I saw the post I immediately knew that I needed to talk to both of my parents. My father forgetting to call me on my birthday seemed minuscule compared to not being able to speak to him again. As much as I wanted to be stubborn and maintain military silence, ain’t no coming back from death.
Though my childhood was not as pleasant as I wanted it to be, those experiences helped to create some of my best poems, inspirations and insights in my adulthood. At the age of 28 I still sleep with a teddy bear. It was given to my older brother as a gift but was placed in our storage unit when we moved after my parents called it quits. I was about 7 or 8 when I found it in the garage, I cleaned it up and it has been in my life ever since. This teddy bear knows all of my secrets and has been my birthing coach for all four of my children. It has comforted me in the midst of break-ups and has laughed at Coming to America more times than I can count. It reminds me of a happier time that I refuse to let go.
After a tear-filled conversation with my dad I began to realize that both of my parents were doing the best that they could with what they had. They were kids just trying to figure it out and take control of their destiny, something that I am so familiar with. Though my inner child was not ready to release the pain, I knew that it was imperative that I release the past and grow up.
You never know the liberation of adulthood until you begin to become one.