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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1.78 – Boycott Bigotry

Lowe’s, along with about 45 other businesses, has pulled it’s advertising from the TLC show All-American Muslim, which focuses on five Muslim-American families in Dearborn, Michigan. Instead of focusing on drunken Jersey Shore adults, Mob Wives, Sports Wives, a family that has like a million children, or pageant families – this show focuses on a specific group of people, spreading awareness on the normalcy and the struggles of a people who are forever stigmatized by the events of 9/11.

Why would Lowe’s pull their advertising? Well, the Florida Family Association, founded by David Caton is on the prowl. Originally affiliated with the American Family Association, Caton continues to lead his herd of religious extremists to push his agenda of spreading bigotry. Known for threatening companies to pull from shows like Degrassi (because they have gay and trans-gender characters), Caton apparently believes that the show, All-American Muslim is

“propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.  The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.”

People who share in the same hatred filled targeting practices as Caton have spread their message to the likes of Hasbro, Kayak.com and now Lowes, threatening these companies until they pull their advertising from shows that don’t fit the AFA and the FFA’s belief system.

I’m disgusted. Here we go again. Yet another extremist group decides to spring forth and project their voice until companies start buckling. What the hell is the problem with their being a show about Muslim families? It’s hysterical to me. Lets not boycott or create email chains and websites against shows that promote promiscuity, alcohol abuse, physical violence, emotional self-mutilation for the sake of a paycheck. This group is yet another set of wack-jobs who decided to band together and threaten action and in turn, the likes of Lowes caves. If you don’t think this group is wrong, with their hate filled views on the LGBT andMuslim community, I’ll switch things up for you.

Tomorrow, NAMBLA – North American Man/Boy Love Association will have the right to boycott “To Catch A Predator,” “Law & Order SVU” and any other association, business or media outlet that does not support pedophilia. Can you imagine going to a store that will not post their advertising on a show anymore because it speaks against pedophilia? Would you support a business that would buckle under the pressure from a group of extremists because they just don’t want to piss off the extremists? And if you think this is a bad comparison, you’re wrong. For every person that agrees with these extremists religious groups, there is someone who agrees that pedophiles are just “children lovers.”

It’s the spreading of hate. Lowes and the other companies that buckled are spreading the message that such assumptions of hate, of extreme views are allowed to blanket our communities.

I watched a clip from Anderson Coopers show, in which he speaks with the cast of All-American Muslim. One audience member asks, “I realize that not all Muslims are the same and there are the extremists but I don’t know, how do you explain them? How do you…I guess try to get someone like me comfortable that…you know, there are good Muslims out there and that I don’t need to be afraid when I step into an airport?”

I’m not going to say this woman is a moron. She’s not. She’s like a lot of people who base their prejudices on fear, on generalizations. Based on this nations history, I’m going to repeat this question and direct it to you, the reader.

I realize that not all white people are the same and there are the extremists but I dont know, how do you explain them? How do you…I guess try to get someone like me comfortable that…you know, there are good white people out there and that I don’t need to be afraid that you’ll…(Insert History Here)

Insert Christians, Catholics, Blacks, Mexicans, men, women, Atheists, Republicans, Democrats, New Yorkers, Kansans, Cops, Postal Workers, etc etc etc etc. Insert who you are into this statement. How the hell do you explain that you are good. How do you defend a majority when people focus on a minority – a small group of people who did something wrong and they just happen to look like you, sound like you, believe like you?

I am Puerto Rican. I am a New Yorker. I am an American. I am a divorcee. I am a mother. I am Agnostic. I am scared. Scared that every time these extremists win a battle, the war of hate continues. And when they gain, inch by inch, ground on their trek to target gays, people of different religious beliefs…I wonder when they will stop. My religious freedom, to believe or not is at risk. My skin color is at risk. My sexuality is at risk. My gender is at risk. My hair color is at risk. My voice is at risk. My son is at risk.

I do not fear all white people for the races consistent affiliation with slavery and genocide. Because the race is not what did the damage. Individuals did the damage. A race CANNOT be an individual. It is a label. Yes, this nation was tragically changed on 9/11. But not every Muslim was on those planes. Not every Muslim supports that cause. Just as not every religious person supports the FFA and AFA.

The tyranny of 9/11 lives in those who allow their fear to become hate. Do not project your fear and target innocent people. Do not support companies and organizations which live with an agenda of hate. While we point the finger at others, thrusting blame for destruction on anyone that is different, the true terrorists live amongst us.

Oh Lowes, you silly bitch.