1.123 – The Letter

To my beautiful baby girl….. On Feb-16-1984 I gave birth to you in an unconventional manner. First you came into this world too soon and too little, weighing only 6 pounds and 1 ounce. At 6am in the morning, after they made the incision in my stomach, I didn’t care I just wanted to look at you and hold you. But I only had a glimpse and I kissed your head. You stared at me and I felt small. It didn’t matter that you weren’t a boy at all only that you were so small. My love for you knew no height. My guilt was even greater. Why did it happen? How did it happen? When you were inside of me I loved you, I didn’t take good care and that was wrong but no amount of self indignation can ease this pain. The next day I went to see you and I knew fear. And I prayed. God please…don’t punish me this way…its not her fault she’s so tiny, It’s mine. Tears wouldn’t make it better but every time I see you they just come out. It hurts because you’re so special. I dont want to lose you. I’m so afraid I wish that I could take your place and let me go through the agonies that you are going through now.  I need to hold you very very bad. I need to kiss your tiny body, to hug you tight. I want to give you my life, every ounce of breath. Please….fight because if anything happens to you, some part of me will die. Please….understand that I love all of my daughters the same but you U love all the more. And every time I visit you without ….incubator and see you all I have put you through I want to break every damn thing around me. And those needle marks do not help to make mother better. Love, today I visited you and saw that you had gained a tiny portion of weight but you were under that infernal light and I still had no pride because I shouldnt have allowed for you to be brought into this world so easily in time and with so little defenses.  …..you’re my last child. The baby of the lot and I don’t care that you’re my fourth girl only that you’re health improves and you come home but until you are really stable, I will have to be able to leave this pain and need to hold you. 

This is the first page of a four page letter my mother wrote to me after I was born. It is a letter that I have kept for 28 years. It is a letter I can’t force myself to throw away. It is the letter that tortures me. Angers me. Saddens me. For so many years, I couldn’t figure out why my mother had so much guilt. What had she done to be so remorseful for? It took many years and many conversations to figure out. Someone recently said it was hard to believe that I had avoided a drug infested life because of the odds against me. This is true. I was a junkie before I understood what walking was. My mother brought me into this world dependent on her drugs and alcohol. Her addictions forced my out of the womb, into a world that wasn’t ready for me. And a world, based on my many months in the hospital, that I wasn’t ready to be apart of. For so many years, I thought I should have been a boy. I needed to hold on to as many masculine attributes as possible. Because thats what everyone really wanted…what everyone really would have loved. It’s okay you weren’t a boy…doth thou protest too much. This letter saddened me for a really long time…how could this apologetic woman never really love me? Forsake me for any man that looked her way? Ignore the mental/physical/emotional anguish I was battling? Inflict so many scars? But now this letter just angers me. I am not a perfect mother. But I will not knowingly inflict pain upon my light and then say my bad. If my son says someone touched him – I will believe him. If my son needs me – I will be there. I will love my son unconditionally without trying to live his life. I will not inject my son with poison. Period. This letter gets me all fucked up. But I hold onto it as a reminder. Of what not to be. A reminder of why I fight every single day. A reminder of my goals, my duties, my privileges. Some days, I question whether my son was blessed or cursed with having me as his mother. But this letter pushes me to be the best damned mother I can be. That was the best mother she could be. Was it good? No. Was it right? No. Did it hurt? Yes. Does it still hurt? Of course. Am I a fucked up 28 year old because I have mommy issues? Probably. Will my love for my son surpass my hatred for those who abandoned me? Ya damn right it will. I wasn’t planned. I wasn’t wanted. I may not be wanted now. I’m okay with that. Because this life aint about me. Never was. Never will be. This life…this one is for my boy.

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1.118 – Searching For Something

The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it – kushandwisdom.tumblr

Someone posted this today on Facebook and it caught my attention, with good reason. Self reflection is a bitch. A bitch I don’t like but one that is continuously all up in my face.

The other day, I had an allergic reaction to food I should not have eaten. It wasn’t that serious – easily fixed with three shots. It was actually quite embarrassing. No one wants to be THAT person in the middle of the scene. Jesus H. Christ, just give me a pill and Ill be fine…and stop poking me with shit. No, I don’t want to pay far too much money for a two minute ambulance ride. It all seems very silly – people have heart attacks. People have seizures. My throat burned and tightened up and I had trouble breathing. A couple of hours later and I’m doped up, passed out on my couch.

All I could think about was my son. I’m not supposed to go out like this. I’m not suppose to stop breathing because of a piece of fruit. My son is at daycare and expects my ass to be there, bright and vibrant at 5:30. But the fact of the matter is…if something did happen to me…something triggered by bad footing, eating the wrong thing…a life changing moment unforeseen by anyone…life will go on. With or without me.

I can tell myself that I have all the time in the world to get my shit together. To reach my goals. To pull my head out of my ass and face the demon that is my self deprecating low self-esteem…but I don’t. I might only have today. I might only have this hour. I might only have this minute.

Will I teach my son…will my legacy be that I was a quitter? That his light wasn’t bright enough to push me through the dark hours? Fuck that noise.

I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what my career is supposed to be. I don’t know if I’m ever supposed to be an accomplished writer. I don’t know if I’m supposed to ever be in love again. I don’t know why I’ve beat the odds as many times as I have. I don’t know why I let my fears get the best of me.

I may never know that magic of love with another adult. I may never get beyond working at the level I’m at. I may never be on a bookshelf. Those are all maybes. But what is certain is that I’m going to die someday. SOME DAY. But I’m breathing today. I have a voice today. I have feelings today. I have thoughts today. I have love for this life in my heart today. I can teach my son something today.

I’m not dead yet. So I need to stop acting like it.

I laid in that ER room and scrolled through my phone, searching for someone to come and get me. “Do you have a ride,” the nurse asked a million times. And I was ashamed. Because I didn’t. Because if something had happened to me…who the hell would they call? Who would answer the phone? Yeah, I’ve got friends. Yeah, I’ve got family. But who would…who could drop it all for me? Staring at my phone…scrolling aimlessly…that was hard. Realizing I havent made that deep of an impression…

But hell if someone didn’t help me out. And I’m grateful. I may not have any ONE person who would drop the world for me. But I have ONE that I would drop the world for. And if that meant walking to my car, drugged up and all, I would have.

I’m not dead yet. So I need to stop acting like it.

I’ve still got time to make that impression. To be the light to others that my son is to me. I don’t know how. But…I want to figure it out. That, alone, is a step toward something.

Something more meaningful. Something connected. Something magical. Something worthwhile. Something better.

1.83 – A Crappy Lie?

Here’s a story. It’s a true story.

It’s New Years Eve. I’m working. I go on my lunch break, because that’s just how I roll. I check my phone and see that there are five text messages from my sons father. It goes pretty much like this:

GAHHHHHH, ANGER, RAGE, ANNOYANCE, OUR SON CAN’T POOP, PANIC, ANNOYANCE, MORE ANGER, SCREAMING, MORE CONVO ABOUT POOP.

My son has been blessed with a moody stomach since he was born. In short, sometimes – he has trouble taking a crap. He just can’t. The boy claws at his face and screams, it hurts that bad. It’s no joke. There is nothing more painful to a parent’s ears than the cry of pain from a child.

So I call my sons father and we have an exchange in which he explains that my son hasn’t dropped a log in two days. Yes, I just referred to poop as a log. Again, because that’s how I roll. I can hear my little man screaming in the background, grunting and whimpering. His ass hurts. Period.

My sons father cant take him to the store, my child is that agonized. So he says he thinks he’s going to take him to the ER. This will entail random people messing with my sons rectum, a large bill and a very annoyed father. My head already hurts. He then informs me that he is considering performing an enema on my son with…and I quote, “I have a turkey baster and water…that should work.” You want to stick what in my son? OH HELL NO.

The pressure is on and it’s up to me to do something. “I don’t know what to do,” he says, which means I have to be the one to fix this. And there goes that mothers dilemma. Working and Family. Family and Work. I’ve helped with inventory but there is still much to be done. But my son can’t go on like this. That turkey baster is not going near my sons ass! So, I make the call. I’m going to have to go.

I tell one person and he is fine with my decision. He gives the best advice he can. All I can think about it my son screaming. But I have to inform the right channels so I’m not considered MIA. So, I find the next in command.

I get attitude. A wave of the hand and a “well what about…” comment. But I don’t have time for that. I’ve got to do for my child. I am on the road in no time. I head to Walgreens. “Um…hi…my son can’t shit. What would fix that.” Why beat around the bush, right?

The clerk gives me the generic suppository. But this is my sons ass we’re talking about. Now is not the time to try and cut corners to save money. So I pay the 8 dollars for the legit medicine versus 1.99 for the store brand. Yeah, I know, I’m all about dropping the big bucks. I get some Pedialyte so my son doesn’t dehydrate. I’m with my son just minutes after the purchase.

I attempt to ignore my sons screams while I administer the medication. And then I hold him. Try to soothe him and myself. I’m in full fledged mommy mode, cradling my son until he falls asleep in my arms. I set him down and head to the door. “He’s going to crap within the hour. I’m going back to work.”

I’m back in 1 hour 5 minutes time. Pretty damn good for the distance, purchase and enema I just performed.

Shitty day, right?

That’s not the annoying part for me. My son can puke, pee, shit all over me. I deal. It’s just apart of the makeup of mommyhood. You know what did get to me. You know what really made me break down? Two things. I’m only going to address one of those things in this post. The second thing will be in the following post, which I will pen shortly. The thing I can share with you is this:

I am annoyed that anyone would imply or insinuate by asking someone else if they think I am telling the truth about why I had to leave work. Lets analyze this. If I was going to lie – Don’t you think I could think up something better than “my son can’t shit?” SERIOUSLY! Secondly, what is asking this person going to do? You’re placing whether you believe me on someone else?

My feelings are not hurt. I’m pissed off about it. It is questioning my moral character, my integrity, my choices as a mother. I will not have anyone, EVER, make me feel like I have to worry that I will be believed when it comes to my son. It is insulting, demeaning, and offensive. PERIOD. What am I going to do with this situation? As of right now, I don’t know.

My son is doing much better. THAT is what matters. I will deal with my son’s bowel issues to the best of my ability. I WILL NOT take random adults bullshit. You couldn’t pay me enough.

Here’s a lie for you. I like you. I respect you. I think you’re good at your job. I look up to you.

The End.

1.71 – Dysfunction > Dedication

Daniel Craig, the James Bond dude, recently made a comment about the Kardashians being “f**king idiots.” Damn, Bond really knows how to hit the nail on the head.

The Kardashians, along with far too many others, live a life of fame and fortune for…nothing. Scratch that. They live a life of fame and fortune for scandal, appearances and everything else outside of talent. But isn’t that what our media is made up of? People who are famous for nothing. The Jersey Shore cast, The Real Housewives of (Insert location here), Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton (haven’t heard anything about that one in awhile), etc etc.

  • The Real Housewives should be called The Typical Housewives. Milking their fifteen minutes of fame for all it’s worth, they encourage the cameras to role through divorce, petty drama, shopping sprees, business ventures and spousal suicides. Perfect time to release a book! Cha-ching.
  • The Jersey Shore cast gets paid to be drunken, walking sexual disease transmitters. Perfect time to release a book. Cha-Ching!
  • Lohan goes to jail, gets out, does more drugs, goes to jail, gets out, drinks some more, spreads eagle in Playboy, will probably go to jail soon. Bet she’ll be putting out a book soon. Cha-Ching. Why would people pay to see her crotch in Playboy? Just wait for her next drug binge and see the crotch shots for free via TMZ.
  • Marriage for 72 days and yet KK is talking about having a baby on her show. How did you go from baby talk to divorce? That was hella quick.

Craig couldn’t have said it any better although he could have said it sooner. But at the end of the day, I’m going to say what Craig didn’t. We’re all f**king idiots. These fame whores wouldn’t be famous if we didn’t watch. If we didn’t talk about it. If we weren’t so quick to buy in to the poor display of money hungry vultures that has become our Hollywood.

It baffles me how these people are considered famous and yet you see struggling artists, musicians, writers, dancers, actors…but you don’t see them. Because they haven’t attached scandal to their skill. It’s quite discouraging. Why bother? Our world relishes garbage and refuses art. I can only hope for the day when the dialogue will flourish over artistic dedication instead of human dysfunction. Passion instead of payrolls. Skill instead of scum. I’ll keep waiting.

1.56 – Not What You Think

I pass the gas station after a long day of work. (Update: I’m kicking this food poisoning things ass but its definitely waged its war on my energy). There is an officer that does night duty at this gas station. He says hi to me all the time. To be honest, I think he’s crushing on me. This is not to sound vain, but a girl knows when a guy goes out of his way to make conversation and why he’s doing it.

So, he steps outside to have a smoke while I’m buying some juice. I walk outside to go to my car and he stops me to ask where a good place to get a tattoo would be. (You see the convo starter). Blah blah, I recommend a place for him. I tell him they are really good because they are very knowledgeable about colors and skin tones. (I’m caramel so blues and yellows fade on my skin). He’s probably a little darker than me.

He asks me what I am. I say, I’m Puerto Rican. He says he’s black and Italian. Great, we now know our family origins. I really just want to go home and drink my juice and lay down and watch a movie. So I say kbye and start toward my car. He stops me and whispers, “are my eyes okay,” with this dorky smile. I say “um, yeah, I guess.” He smiles and says “you know how it is, with all this work stress, a mans got to kick back sometimes.” I say “ew. Thats just ew.” He says “oh come on, it aint that bad. You don’t?” Thats when I get in my car and drive away.

You don’t smoke weed? No, I don’t. I don’t partake in any drug activity. I don’t even drink.

The fact that an officer of the law asked me if I smoke weed does not bother me. Hell, I’ve seen my fair share of crooked cops. What does bother me is this…

What about me makes you think I’m a fellow druggie? What about me makes you remotely think we can relate on such a disgusting level?

Apparently, something about me screams “drug addict.” Well, here’s a clue: your vision is skewed. When you look at me, you will see a dedicated mother, a hard ass worker, an independent woman, an aspiring writer, a girl who skips on fashion to guarantee my son has the very best, a girl who merged book smarts and street smarts to become a better woman.

I cannot even count the number of times people question me the minute they hear I’m a New Yorker, I’m Puerto Rican or any of the other “red flags.” I really should make a freakin’ sign.

Yes, I know drug dealers. No, I’ve never sold drugs. No, I don’t do drugs. Yes, I know who my real father is. No, I am not on welfare – I bust my ass like every other tax paying citizen and make due. Yes, I know who my baby-daddy is – I was married and we planned my sons conception. Yes, I was born in this country. No, I am not an illegal immigrant. Yes, I speak English – I’m just ignoring you. Yes, I recognize that you and I have a different dialect – I say wash and you say warsh. Yes, I finished high school and went to college. I have tattoos and piercings and I can rock a suit like nobodies business.

I can cut you to shreds with a smile just as easily as an F bomb. I’m an equal opportunity individual. If you’re stupid – I hate you all the same. Swallow your assumptions and keep it moving.

1.46 – I’m The Anti-Drug, Non-Prejudicial Puerto Rican…Crazy Huh?

In doing something to my page, I deleted the previous blog post. Oh well, it wasn’t that good anyway. This post will probably be no better.

The week is catching up with me big time and I’m tired.

I was happy, until some douchebag rained on my parade. Despite being bombarded by customers today, I tried to keep a smile on my face, to keep things moving, to look at it as a positive. Business is job security.

So this crabby man comes up and places an order. I’m all smiles and he’s not really playing along. That’s fine. I make nice and run his order through. Not a minute later, my coworker comes up to me and says the crabby man said I was probably using drugs…because I was happy.

“No, I do not use drugs. I happen to do my job well.” Did the guy hear me? I don’t know and I, quite frankly dont give two shits. I will not have someone degrade my value by insinuating in any way shape or form I am happy because “well, she must be on something.”

Was the crabby man joking? Do I look like I give a shit? -.-

No, I don’t.

If I’m not all cheery – I let the weight of work and baby and writing and life in general slow me down: I’m a depressed, emo, a cloud of a person. I’m bad.

If I’m cheery – Optimistic about life and possibilities, leading by example, making the most of my time, enjoying myself and working with my coworkers: I’m a crackhead!

I am proud to say that I am a drug free individual. I have lived a drug free life and I am also keeping a dry home (no alcohol). This is my personal choice and I happen to enjoy my life this way. Are you surprised? Well, if you are: SHAME ON YOU!

I think it’s a damn shame when someone is actually trying to be positive and someone has to shit on them just because they are unhappy in their world. I hate your face and I hope you go home to your miserable little house and you sit next to your miserable little wife and you waste away in your miserable little life. Meanwhile, I’m going to make the most of it.

And FYI: I don’t care who you are – referring to someone who annoys me by their race followed by some adjectives does not help me. In fact, I don’t like it. In two days, I have two different people refer to someone as “that grouchy white guy,” or “you know the type, uppity white dude.”

I don’t care about color. If you are annoying, it’s your soul, your mind, your wicked little heart that annoys me. Or maybe we just caught eachother on a bad day. But at no point do I ever look at someone and think…”white = annoying.”

It’s like people look at my brown skin and assume that there’s this secret code: insult a white person and I’ll relate. No I wont. Because I’m not prejudice. Pride in my own does not mean I have to degrade another.

And my final FYI: I AM PUERTO RICAN. I know it’s hard here in the midwest. I’m not pale so I must be Black or Mexican. I know it’s hard to understand the concept that there are 21 Spanish speaking countries on this earth and so many different races that fall under the tan category but seriously – it’s annoying to answer. Strangers do it, so do friends. Yes, this is my real hair. No I do not relax it. Yes, I can cook. No, my mothers name is not Maria or Yolanda. I was born in NYC and I am a legal citizen. Now that we’ve got this covered…

I now return you to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

1.19 – The Invitation

He says “they don’t know who we are,”
like his petty acts of delinquency will stand in high regard
But I’ll shun that stupidity
because I’m not impressed
by  fake or real
thugs.
Now don’t be mistaken
it’s not about a walk or a look or a color
it’s a mentality
one lost in reason.
But he laughs
like I’m missing out
because I won’t engage in this tired ass tirade
of who’s big and who’s bad
and what makes you hard…
but no one is laughing harder than I
as he brags of lighting a blunt with his boys
as he drives away in his moms Prius.

Now…that…is just priceless.

And just like that
you’re gone.
Pushed aside for lack of interest
on my part.
Attempting to hold back judgement
but how could I not
simple boys from simple beginnings
could only wish for the life you’ve been given
and you waste it away
on pills and booze
stuck in the disdain of your failures
to live up to the stigma
of your block
And I’ll send you an invitation

image

Come to my block
where poor was upper class
where the bodega knew colored money versus greenbacks.
Come to my block
where the sound of sirens and claps of gunshots
echoed the night
while you listened to the sound of thunder and dreamed sweetly.
Where neighbors heard and saw no evil
but spoke about your dirt the next day.
Come to my block
where the drug trade was a family affair
and the junkies flocked the streets like roaches
VCR’s in hand
begging for a fix.
Leave that pristine neighborhood
with the picket fences and the clean streets
and find the mean ones
where fathers did not exist and mothers worked
the nine to five job
of hustling.
Come to my block and watch
best friends get taken away by SRS
while children weep
through barred windows.
Come to my block and feel the intensity of trying to hide two runaways
around every corner and under dumpsters
where crack vials lay.
Come to my block
where so-and-so got shot or stabbed
or sentenced to life for beating a guy with a bat
after stabbing the youngin’
Come to my block where kids get hit by cars and no one stops
where the cops WONT come
if not to bust some small gamed ring
Come to my block
where he died in that apartment
and all they could do was stare
because AIDS on the floor is much easier to watch
than to clean up.
Leave suburbia
and smell the rot of failed dreams and lost tomorrows
caught in abuse and addiction and uncertainty
Come to my block
where the kids picked through dumpsters to find a bike to ride
and walked to 94 for lunch
because no one was cooking at home
nothing worth eating.
Come to my block and hear the stories
of kids smashing their faces into air conditioning units
fleeing death
only to kiss it with split lips.
Step out of your movie and watch mine
live ours
taste the tears in the air
feel the need to run
watch the concrete crumble as the girls want to be dancers
and the boys want to be men
ending up stripping in gentlemen’s clubs
for a buck
Come to my block
and ask about the purity lost on rooftops and stairwells
as college money is spent on Timbs and dope and dope and Rims.
Exist in a bubble where you may justify
the slip of a pill and the swig of a bottle and the puff of a spliff
in an untouchable world
where no one knows your game
while boys are dying over pride
and girls are fucking for lack of a hug.
Come to my block
buy a dime and smoke away your worries
falling deeper into that vast ocean of persona non grata
Join the city of zombies
of no ones
and relinquish your safety and entitlement to someone deserving.
Your silver spoon will create the fluid just the same
heated with a crack lighter
flames abroad
because I didn’t need to travel the world to fuck up my life
it just was.
and you have gulped down your opportunity to inspire
spewed it out into lies and moments of back handed compliments
because its easy to think you’re perfect when you live in pleasantville.
Come to my block
where wives jump six stories to a death
and good men get caught up in the game
only to die while walking a dog.
Walking a fucking dog.
Preach to the choir
but stormy nights could have been blue skies had it not been for…influence
the desire to lead
the strength to deter from a path so brutality beaten
souls laid down like carpet.
Come to my block
where beating a stranger is just an activity for the moment
and signs and names and titles mean you get family
family that engulfs your very being
Where a ride in a cop car doesn’t end with a slap on the wrist
because mommy and daddy love you so
This is not about race.
This is about class.
Striving for one step higher
with no effort
but a self proclaimed entitlement
because of your street address
because of who you could have been
because of nothing at all
nothing worth knowing
nothing worth understanding
Come to my block
Travel away from the streets of perfection
unto streets of tattered skin
shattered irises
clobbered knuckles
demolished chins
come to my block and smell blood stained concrete
next to piles of shit upon shit upon shit.
Flee safety and visit reality.
Visit someones reality
as the dream you live
the nightmare you have created
swells with toxic fumes into rivers
of hope.

This piece, originally titled “Maybe I Don’t,” was written as a response to the rationalization of a former friend encased in his addictions. Although I can now separate myself from the situation, as time has passed, I find that I couldn’t alter much of this piece. Addiction touches all walks of life, rich and poor, and yet…I admit I was disgusted by his continuous display of pushing away the opportunities he was given to drown in a bottle and hide behind an ocean of pills. I was angry, then, because I couldn’t understand how someone who had a genuine chance…a clean slate right out of the gates, could go and toss it aside – believing that status (his families or his own, I’m still not sure) would extinguish the wrong he was doing. Now, I have to admit, I don’t have much emotion about it. And yet, I must since I decided to revisit this piece. In hindsight, I can see where writing this sounds bitter. But I do not regret my life and the things I have seen. I would not wish some of the things I’ve witnessed or experienced on anyone. An invitation to my block is my way of saying…there is no reason we have to fall down that rabbit hole. No matter how bad our beginnings, our futures are ours to create. I hope he is doing it. One day at a time.