Damned Brown Girl Tears

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I remember he cried.

Once as he left to go back to wherever it was he lived at that time in my life; he cried.

His tears I noticed only after my own. I kicked and I screamed. I wailed and begged him not to leave and not to put me down. I remember the rickety powder blue and chipped white porch we stood on outside of my maternal grandmother’s house. He carried me as far as he could outside of the door before he had to put me down and walk away to his car.

He put me down and said his “I have to go now,” speech but I didn’t want to hear any of it. I didn’t care what he was saying or why he was saying he needed to leave. I only wanted him to take me with him or him to stay with me.

He did neither of those things though. Instead he peeled me off him, stopped for a short minute to sniff and wipe his own tears (he never wiped mine), and he disappeared. I don’t think I cried that way to him over anything else ever again.m (until the last time I saw him alive).

For the first time ever, as I think back to this day…as I see him, my father, young and handsome in his black leather coat; with his maroon sweater, and his deep brown high top fade…I also see me.

I see myself: the little brown girl with ponytails and ribbons and bows. I see my little outfit (not as detailed as I remember his). Maybe it was corduroy and maybe it was brown. I had been dressed up nice and pretty that day because the adults around me knew he was coming to visit.

I see that little brown girl; dressed up nice and pretty; in distress. She’s crying and she’s screaming the way my son once screamed after he’d been left with people he didn’t like; who did mean things to him. That little brown girl is crying the way babies cry when mamas leave one too many times for a weekend with friends.

Today I finally see her.

…and I realize this instance to be a moment that broke her heart.

I don’t remember who grabbed that little girl to take her back into the old country house. I don’t remember her daddy’s car or what it looked like driving off that day. I don’t remember anything else that happened or that might have been said later that evening.

I just know that this moment stuck; and it shaped how that little brown girl viewed and related to her daddy and to other men she encountered. It also sent a damning message to her about the value of her little brown baby girl tears.

They don’t matter, the message said. The tears of little bitty girls like you are damned the minute they well up.

Victory

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If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, the most powerful first step you can take is to tell somebody. The shame satan wants you to feel belongs on your abuser and their enablers. No shame belongs on you.

Today’s, Friday April 9, 2021 the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services exonerated my husband from false allegations that he was sexually abusing our son.

To be clear, my husband has not now, or ever, done anything that sick, but the people who accused him of this have.

On Monday, March 8, I confronted a cousin of mine who sexually abused me, and other children in our family. For most of my life I thought that only my siblings and I were her victims, but slowly, 1 by 1 I discovered there were others inside our family.

My mother knew. My father knew. My grandmother knew and no one removed her from me, or from other children in the family, and no one thought it necessary to get her any help. As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, this same cousin was placed in charge of supervising my siblings and me and she almost always abused her position over us. Life with her was full of manipulation, coercion, and pull into plots and schemes we were never aware were in place.

I took all of this as a child and I internalized it because I was manipulated by the adults around me into feeling sorry for the cousin abusing me, because she had first been abused. It was an excuse; a reason I was given, and a reason I adopted to cope with everyday life living next to, and depending on my abuser.

I would also be lying if I said I didn’t love her. She was my big cousin and in many instances my protector from bullies at school. She taught me to drive and, as sick as it is, she was my first experience with sex. More than anything though, she was manipulative and she was so good at exploiting my trust in her for her own personal gain.

The day I called her; to sort through the frustrations in my marriage; was no different.

Now, had I not been brainwashed into keeping her at the top of my life for the entirety of my life, it would have been common sense to, at the least, cut her off as soon as I was no longer forced by my mother to deal with her. At the most? I definitely would have never let her anywhere near my own children.

Sadly though, I had no such common sense and on this day, on a lunch break from a job I had no business working, I confided in the cousin who had abused and manipulated me for most of my life. Together, we decided it would be helpful for me and my children to visit, for me to get a better job, and for me to take some time away from my husband.

That decision was the beginning of the saga that lead up to a child protective services supervisor on the other end of my phone relating to me what I already knew wasn’t true about my husband.

If you’d like to know what happens next in this saga comment “more” below so I know I’m actually being helpful and that I’m not wasting my time telling this story; and if you know anyone else who would like to follow this story, share this post with them. The more comments I get the more encouraged I’d feel.

Thanks for reading so far and I am hopeful that this won’t be the last post. Peace.

Oh, and if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, the most powerful first step you can take is to tell somebody. The shame satan wants you to feel belongs to your abuser and their enablers. No shame belongs on you.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 
ROMANS 8:1

Tell Somebody

When I was a child, my older cousin sexually abused me and some other children in my family. After years of holding this secret Elephant in the room between my cousin, my siblings, and my mother, I finally confronted my cousin who abused me, and openly spoke with my siblings about it. My cousin did not take it well, but I immediately felt lighter. So much so that I felt free enough to start to actually heal.

However, I also had conversations with my mother and asked some very hard questions. One thing my mom kept trying to convince me of, was that what I experienced is “normal “ and that it didn’t affect me. While I have struggled with this question myself, I now understand that this behavior is not normal. I’ve been reading a lot about what I think I experienced but I can’t heal myself alone without help and my healing is too much to expect from my husband and my friends. So I’m pushing myself to get professional help too.

My concern now though, after my cousin’s reaction, and my mother’s reactions; coupled with learning that other family members abused family members as well; is that this type of behavior will continue to be perpetuated. I am also very certain that my own children have fallen victim to my abuser and possibly to abuse by my mother.

So, with that understanding I’ve cut off all communication with my family of origin, especially my mother, because as long as they are okay with this type of behavior, I don’t trust any of them. I am also especially upset with my mother and cousin who abused me because they have filed a report with Child Protective Services accusing my husband of abusing our son. This of course is false.

While this is all frustrating, I’m relieved I don’t have to hide anymore. I’m relieved I have some sense of clarity of what is right and what is wrong. I’m relieved I don’t have to feel shame and guilt around my body or in times of intimacy with my husband. I’m relieved that this darkness is coming to light and I am relieved to know that platforms like “Tell Somebody” exists. Thank you, Aleesha for the space to speak up and for the encouragement and empowerment it takes to do so.

Encouragement For New Mamas Going Through

Frustration With Your New Baby

Every night it’s the same dread: putting your crying and sometimes screaming little baby to sleep. Every. Single. Night. As you tackle this task every night, your mind is racing with negative thoughts and you are literally tired of fighting to figure out how to get your baby to just be quiet and go to sleep. Your thoughts are everywhere. YOU are everywhere until you look down and realize: “I’m thinking about my baby, but I’m not thinking about my baby.” You realize you are so frustrated because you already feel defeated and because frankly, you don’t want to do this right now.

Change your mind. Change the narrative you’re reciting to yourself. Change the record playing in your head. Stop the speeding. Slow down and remember: you have to, yes, but you want to and you will because you can.

Believe that the crying will stop and that you will succeed. Here are some helpful steps to get you through each doubt and anxiety -inducing crying spell.

  • Look at your baby.
  • Calm and ground yourself
  • Kiss, smell, cuddle and snuggle him/her
  • Breathe
  • Pray
  • Cry if you need to
  • Catch hold of your complaining, frustrated mind
  • Rejoice and thank God you are fertile, your baby is alive, your baby is healthy, and anything else you can give thanks for.
  • Take advantage of rest in times of quiet after the baby is finally sleep: Close your eyes, breathe, take a nap, drink water.

If The Crying Doesn’t Stop?

Take a break. That’s okay to do. It’s okay to sit swaddle your baby, sit them is a safe spot and let them cry out their frustration (and wear off some of their own energy) while you take a walk to another room for a moment, or lie down and destress. Sometimes your baby will fall asleep crying, and other times you will have to get back in there and try it again. However, after the crying alone, it is typically easier to put your baby to sleep because they are tired now (you, on the other hand, are rested). If you believe in pacifiers this would be a good time to try one.

Isolation, Loneliness, Disconnection

  • In your quiet time , read about Biblical principals of motherhood, wife—hood, womanhood
  • In play time with kids, watch YouTube videos on your TV featuring moms you admire or feel connected to, or who give you valuable information about the work of motherhood you’re doing
  • While cooking and cleaning listen to podcasts of admirable mothers, wives, and women

Feeling Inadequate

Evening fussiness, skin irritation, and sleep deprivation can easily make you wonder “am I cut out for this?” “Am I good enough, knowledgeable enough, strong enough, or enough enough to care for this baby?”

You got this and the answer is: absolutely; yes you are. Is your situation unfair? Probably. Are you overwhelmed to your limit? Of course you are. Could you use help that you will probably never get? You sure could. Can you keep going without it? Yes, you really can.

How?

Give yourself some grace

Be gentle with your thoughts about, and words to yourself. Even if you do the job imperfectly, even if you do no more than stumble through today, even if you achieve the sleep training method 2 out of 7 nights, KEEP GOING. Whatever you manage when you give your all, it makes a difference and Jesus will bless your efforts.

Look for relief where you can find it—no matter how small—and thank God more than you complain.

Celebrate your wins!

The baby FINALLY stopped crying after 45 minutes of screaming? YES! Praise God like you just won a new SUV.

You got in and out of the shower AND had time to moisturize…but the baby woke up as soon as you put on your robe? Praise God like you are fully dressed.

It’s Only A Season

Remember, your baby won’t be this age for long. Sleep gets easier for them meaning it gets easier for you. Breastfeeding will end (although some times you really wonder). Crying will eventually be replaced with words. Hang on in there. I bet you’re doing an amazing job.❤️❤️

Oh Yeah, and PRAY

“Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need then thank Him for all He’s done.” Philippians 4:6

If all else fails and worry consumes you, pray. Matter of fact pray the entire time without ceasing. Jesus appreciates when we have enough faith to cast our cares on Him.

The Problem With Labeling…

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” 13th Amendment to the Constitution

labeling

  • Attach a label to (something)
    • – she labeled the parcels neatly, writing the addresses in capital letters
  • Assign to a category, esp. inaccurately or restrictively
    • – children were labeled as bullies
    • – the critics labeled him a loser

Give a name to (something)

  • – she labeled his new Riviera a “Star Wars” car

WARNING: This video contains graphic content and that may not be “suitable” for younger audiences.  Viewer discretion is advised

Was all of that really necessary? 

What does labeling have to do with any of it?  Let’s see…

 

Labels encourage the grouping of mass numbers of people into a single category.  It assigns a definition–attributes to be associated with every person falling beneath that label.  In particular, labeling someone a criminal defines them, by social standards, as: evil, inhumane, subhuman, and degenerative by nature.  Personified, a criminal harms people, steals things and/or sells drugs.  That’s what “people like them” do.

This is dangerous.

By labeling, we forfeit our opportunity to discover who “these people” truly are because the label they’ve been assigned defines them for us.  What need, then, is there to investigate further?  We already know who they are, what they are, and what they believe.  They are different kinds of people–unlike ourselves: human beings who require and deserve fair and just treatment– the basic human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  However, once we’ve disassociated ourselves from this group of “others” we tolerate any mistreatment they endure because their label suggests that they deserve whatever treatment befalls them. They are not, after all, humans like us. They are criminals.

While humans should not be locked away in cages and treated like animals, criminals should; but is that really fair?  What happens when these “criminals” are released back into society?  Don’t they at least deserve to be given the opportunity to become more than their assigned label?  Then why don’t we give them these chances?  Why can’t many of them vote?  Why are they legally denied employment?  These are things no human deserves to endure but criminals do?  What, about stealing out of desperation, or selling illegal substances changes human desires and needs?

What we miss, when writing off individuals labeled “criminals”, is the logical and critical assessment of these “others” and their situations.  Who are these so called “criminals”?  Where do they come from?  What physical, social, geographic, economic, and psychological climate fostered the “type of people” they’ve become?  Can it really be written off as a coincidence that a great number of those with the misfortune of falling into criminal activities are produced by strikingly similar environments?  How can cycles of poverty continue to breed crime and raise staggering numbers in imprisonment and no effort be made to attack the true source?  Why is there no public outcry for it?  Why?  It is simple: no one cares.  Very few people make it past the label of “criminal” long enough to investigate the possibility that humanity resides in these individuals.  Whatever woes they have, because of their degenerative nature, are by their own doing.  It’s what “people like them” do, so no one cares.

Labels work the same way in all their uses, and are the very tools used by oppressors to legitimize the maltreatment of those they oppress.  We’ve seen it throughout history during imperial conquests of indigenous lands where Christianity was the name in which “explorers” exterminated nations of people and claimed the land as their own.  The people were labeled “savages” and “heathens” and so no one objected to their genocides because it was an evil necessary to save their souls.

Propaganda was also used heavily to legitimize American Chattel slavery, and it was constitutionally reasoned that slaves should not be counted as people, but as property.  Minstrel shows were implemented to enforce the idea of black inferiority and black people were thus labeled as stupid, lazy and frivolous.  There were even scientific studies conducted to prove that blacks people are less intelligent than white people because black people have smaller brains.  Today, as a result of this propaganda, this theory is still supported by some.

So what is the meaning of it all?  What is the thesis of this blog?  It is simple: labeling is not only wrong, or mean, or rude, but it is dangerous.

At the source of every inhumane act that takes place, you will find labels.  The bombings of the Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were authorized because the 350,000 innocent civilians who were killed were labeled “enemies”.  Soldiers killing and bombing innocent women, men and children believe they are protecting their country from “the Taliban” and we, U.S. citizens, are okay with that because we believe the same.  Those containing and torturing prisoners in American war prisons, Guantanamo Bay and in Abu Ghraib carry out these horrific acts of violence driven by belief in the same labels.  The prisoners cease to be people, and instead transform into “enemies” and so their torture and mistreatment is justified.  The 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust were labeled “impure” and so their mass death was justified as a cleansing in preservation of the Aryan race.

This could go on, and on, and on, but I assure you that the first step in mass or minor ill-treatment of individuals is removing their humanity from the sight of the public and replacing it with a label that serves to justify anything done to them.  This is the case with the word “criminal” and it is the reason that numbers in incarceration constantly rise.  It is the reason the prisoners in the video lose their rights as human beings simply because they’ve broken laws made by men.  If Jesus, who was perfect, can forgive, seek to understand, and save prostitutes and thieves, can’t we imperfect human beings find more merciful ways than confinement and torture to rehabilitate these same transgressors?

How long will we aid violence and torture with silence?  How long will we agree to the reduction of human rights before we realize that, as Dr. King famously stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”?  When will we realize what that means?  Will it take our own children, or even our own selves going to prison?  Will it take our homes being bombed and our friends and families being kidnapped and tortured?  As a society we must realize that our actions, our thoughts, our decisions, and our voices are linked to those of our neighbor.  Of the two most important commandments, Jesus declared loving your neighbor as yourself second only to loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind.  If Jesus thought to mention this commandment in such high regard, it’s about time that we regard it the same by mentally placing it into our personal ideology and by physically putting it into our daily and long-term practices.

If you’d like to read further, here are some books that opened my eyes to the slavery that is the prison system:

Are Prisons Obsolete by Angela Y. Davis

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon

Uprising: Understanding Attica, Revolution, and the Incarceration State by Clarence B. Jones and Stuart Connelly

Busy: A Prophetic Dream

Coffee cups and suits.

Buildings of blue and white.

Men in black with guns,

cause temporary fright.

Social celebrations,

No real food in sight.

Dirty dishes everywhere–

Domestic blight.

Door flung open.

No de-fensive might.

No inclination, or intent to fight.

Big bright screen.

Electrifying light.

Neglect and abuse are her children’s plight.

Back turned.

Busy.

No room for insight.

She knows she’s not wrong even though she’s not right.

Single Mother

Focus on being a mother to your children.

Be a comforter,

A nurturer,

A warm smile and a dependable hug.

Be A kind ear and an open heart;

An inventor and keeper of traditions.

Be A presence,

An advocate,

A teacher—

Submitted,

Powerful,

Bold,

Abundant,

Generous,

Helpful,

Loving,

Joyful,

Peaceful,

Patient,

Gentle,

Obedient ,

Faithful,

Humble,

Self-Controled;

and trust that God the Father, “from whom are all things”,

“Who is over all and through all and in all”,

“Father of the fatherless and protector of the widows”

will provide the rest.

Serious Anxiety

She was having serious anxiety around planning her baby shower.

Would anyone come?

Does anybody care?

Is she doing too much trying to celebrate her 5th baby?

“Just get on with it!” she imagined invited guests saying in their minds.

But why did it matter and why did she care so much?

And why couldn’t she believe that people were genuinely excited for and caring for her?

Where did this skepticism come from?

It had been a long 7 years of fighting to prove her life was happy and a subsequent 5 years of working to just be happy by herself.

She felt like a prisoner being reintegrated into society.

How do you make the transition from encouraging yourself on your own, to allowing others in to do so alongside you?

Faith.

Strength.

Courage.

Just keep going.

Be strong and of good courage.

God is faithful.

You know this to be true.

Pitiful.

Pitiful.

She felt absolutely pitiful as she sat there helplessly succumbing to her husband suservantly rubbing her swollen pregnant feet.

He looked up at her lovingly, pleasantly, dutifully…it was almost too much for her to take. All this attention. All this care. All this energy seemingly centered around her and whatever she, in the moment, needed.

Was he tired?

He had to be tired.

In her pregnant slack, her husband had been running around doing everything: packing, driving 2 days across the country, and making space in and fixing up his parents house for their move.

Yes, she was attending the children’s needs, supervising their schoolwork and their play…oh, and gestating a baby ready to appear any day now…and As she thought about it, it sounded like a lot.

But Still…

she felt bad she couldn’t help him.

She partly desired to help him (and have a bit more control in the whole moving and adjusting process), and she was still trying hard to accept his invitations and advances to serve her and manage her well being.

But her tastes were changing…

It had honestly been nice. It was the fantasy she always wanted in him. But it was awkward for her and new; and wanting, she was evermore learning, was way more sexy sometimes than getting could ever be.

And finally getting was turning into the turn-on of the approaching decade of their still very young marriage.

Between roses and rose petal baths…and jewelry and foot rubs…encouraged and uninterrupted rest…she felt like a woman again: soft and delicate…open, and wet.

She found that her new found spare time and energy left her idle with thoughts of love-making and passionate, college-aged sex.

Where she had once been too sleep, or tired, or just flat out turned off, she now found herself waiting for the cover of night, the warmth of sheets and the sensation of her husband’s unrestricted touch.

Rest…

submission of control…

and the trashing of the idea that vulnerability made her pitiful, pathetic, or absolutely useless had dramatically increased her libido.

It was no wonder so many women disdained the mere thought of sex.

“Just one more thing to do. One more obligation at the end of a day list long of feminine-sucking, secretion-sucking, stamina-sucking, obligatory overwhelming tasks, assignments, and chores.

When he’s sweating during the day…I’m not and it makes me eager to sweat in the cover of night, beneath the warmth of sheets, at the hands of his, my husband’s unrestricted, welcomed, desired and day-long anticipated touch.

Grief

She was so absolutely stricken with grief.

Not sadness, but grief that hurt…and cut deep. The kind of grief that made her sick to her stomach and sensitive in her nerves. Grief so gripping that it called for solitude and tears, but so pungent and tangible that it didn’t NEED to wait on anything, any circumstance, or anyone, to make her cry.

She was so stricken with this grief as she approached her 5th birth.

Grief for her births in the past, and grief for the births and deaths of all the black women before and alongside her. Grief that made it impossible to breathe weighed heavily on her and she didn’t really even wish to push it away.

She needed this grief in this moment. It was long overdue.

It was a cleansing grief. A tunnel of grief to clarity. Something had to be done. It was all too unfair.