This project kept being pushed to the back burner because it took time for me to stop punishing myself for being like you in many ways. It’s hard emotionally, mentally, and physically for any human that feels disconnected from its source. We all get our survival skills from somewhere, even if we don’t agree with the lifestyle. But after all these years of chaos, changes had to be made and for the first time, they started with me. There was a serious need to do major soul searching to clean up my own issues first. Looking back, I frequently caught myself saying freedom started after graduating high school but that wasn’t true. A substantial portion of my life was spent in cruise control mentally and emotionally. Living in your own fantasy world while walking around in hell was an excellent lesson for survival but will never be a life I want for me or my children. By learning how to tolerate any horrific lifestyle, I had to stop re-creating the fantasy mentally to be real. Letting time pass with no authenticity involved became too heavy, unhealthy and no longer practical in my life. That was my 2003 breakdown or breakthrough as my therapist at the time stated. I wasn’t facing reality in my life and that would cost me, my sons. (Their safety was and always is worth it all. I will come back to how that all happened. We just really started, I don’t want to overwhelm you.) By sharing my view on how choosing to love myself is your achievement as well can only bless all that may come across this story. This is done without blame, hurt, or anything opposite Love. You are my mom and I am truly grateful for all you’ve been through. Those things include the struggle of being everything to all people while working in and out of the home with two children and a roaming loveless husband. It showed me that regardless of the pressure, anger, abuse, hatred, fear, loneliness, and despair life can throw at you; there is humility in simplicity. But you also had two distinctly different personalities. Depending who you were in front of your personality would either be the real or married you. I’ve seen the real you at peace and in your element, it’s a remarkable thing to see. Yet we also dealt with the woman who rebelled against the 1950s rural Tennessee severe Jim Crow traditions and family expectations. You rose above your turbulent youth while giving lessons on how life can be pleasing by seeing the bright side of life always stuck with me. We got all our critical relationship learning out of the way early so when the time came where my thoughts mattered; I could deal with both sides of your personality. The lesson of a family taking care of each other, loving, protecting, and respecting one another was taught sparsely to make sure the most important survival skills were maintained.
So yes, I understand the difficult choices you made as a woman in your situation were far and few. You did the best you could do with the tools given by our family tree and divine intervention. I’m eternally grateful for all my mother figures; Grandma Polly, Grandma Kate, Mee-maw Emma and those who stood in for them or you throughout my life so far. With all our family’s strength, there is a tremendous amount of anger festering from the hidden traumatic events in our past. It took a long time to realize that the pain and violence experienced does not define me ever. So, when my children were young, I had to be compassionate about the surrounding story to their lives until they could understand why their history affects their life. My boys are grown men now and are dealing with their own cards placed in their hands by life and me. It’s no longer feasible holding in the source of my anger and distrust. I chose to look at my achievements and you should do the same. The indispensability you taught through your actual tears is at the root of this journal. The fact that I have never seen a picture of you before being pregnant with me and your life started with my father shows how much you wanted to leave that world behind. Especially since you realized this might be your only choice to get out of the nightmare of your young life in Newport. Understandably you stayed with what you knew you personally could handle. It’s amazing how things fall into place once you put responsibility where it belongs. Therapy didn’t bring me all the way but when I felt lost and unheard, the talks I had with so many people whom I consider family helped. This has been done 4 times but for the wrong reasons. I was very angry at many things trying to promote Love’s existence doesn’t work. Fighting myself every day for immolating our survival instead of being authentic to myself. I never learned to put me first in any situation. Servitude is mental slavery when every thought is for all except yourself. There cannot be freedom, when I hear your voice tell me how, what, when and to only expect the worst. Breaking free from knowing my place, saying what the other person wants to feel safe has been difficult. My safety and life should only be in my hands without guilt. I rejected the thought, work, and knowledge that came along with the tasks. Because it made my choices good and bad fall back onto my shoulders but with understanding and compassion. I give that blessing to you also. Without our turbulence, there is no way I could’ve maneuvered through my own created madness. The rules are no judgment, just facts, since this exercise causes for brutal honesty on where and why my anger became blindness for me. The barely functioning adult that was taking care of two people through the grace of God. My lessons weren’t done because you can’t run from who you are regardless if you currently live the in same environment, doing the same, thinking the same; there can only be one outcome. Personal accountability means dealing with the seeds of my past so it can help my present and future.
To Be Continued
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