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SPOILED

They Say April Showers bring may flowers. I have to tell you; I’ve been showered with lessons this April.

Showers_flowers

My most recent lessons have come from a surprising source. I made a new friend. I like this person. They ask me questions about myself. For an over-thinker like me, there aren’t too many questions I haven’t asked myself. He’s found those questions and made me unearth fossils from my past I didn’t even know were there.

Enough gushing, I just wanted to illustrate this new experience a little bit. I told this new friend my uncle was coming to visit and I was going to ask my uncle to cook while he’s here. I was boldly told that I am supposed to cook for my guests. Which I quickly rebutted with “I know; my uncle won’t mind.” And then he, my new friend, asked if I am SPOILED! I laughed it off and said maybe a little bit. (I DON’T think I’m SPOILED)

A few days later my uncle contacted me to see if I’d still be up for company, (He knows my moods) and said “We’re coming, we’re bringing groceries. We’re cooking and tell me what you need help with so I can bring the right tools.” I never even got the chance to ASK!

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OH MY GOOOOOOSH. I’m SPOILED!

OH MY GOOOOOOSH. I’m SPOILED!

I met up with my new friend that night, who suspiciously had his work logo on his pajamas, and tell him what my uncle said. He laughed and said “Your uncle is really setting the bar high. He’s right here — and any man that comes into your life is going to have to be here —-. You probably going to want to come home to a clean house and he made dinner for you. Ready to rub your back.” I half smiled and said “I had that life for a little while.” Jaw dropped, he asked “You did? What happened there?” To which I simply stated “We didn’t work out” Then I told him the story of Paranoid Pete and Ms. Reid’s inability to Forgive. (That’s a dope book title, don’t let me forget that!)

I knew Paranoid Pete was a good guy, but I never appreciated just how good he sounded, as competition to other men until I saw my new friend’s reaction.

I have a habit of seeing intimate partners for their flaws because I’ve seen so many women stay in undesirable circumstances by choosing to overlook or forgive one’s flaws.

My new friend asked me what some of my biggest fears were. I told him Trusting the wrong people.

We’ve discussed so much in such a short time I realized that, my Daddies (uncle included) really laid a great foundation for how I should expect a man to treat ME, but I never really saw any of my mother figures get the love I know they deserve.

spoiled

And for that I fear, I myself may never truly know how to accept genuine love AND THAT unfortunately is what makes me feel SPOILED.

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Blind Spots

My sisters like abusive relationships. No matter how many shattered phones, empty bank accounts, bruised eyes & egos they suffer, they keep making their abusers their #MCM.

The sisters I’m talking about don’t share DNA with each other. So I don’t think it’s hereditary. They both have other sisters that don’t tolerate the foolishness so I can’t necessarily say it’s environmental. But it scares me.

I was judging them for this weakness until I realized I had a blind spot of my own. Last week I accidentally discovered that someone I’ve been getting to know, has a whole wife and child they neglected to tell me about. I wanted to be big mad, but I realized I never asked. I guess I have this naïveté that unavailable men know their availability better than I, and would not approach me or entertain me if they’re unavailable.

This isn’t the first unavailable man I found myself thankful to have done no more than converse with in the short 3-4 years I’ve been living here. Both times, I knew internally something about our interactions felt; limited. This blind spot of mine is just as dangerous as that of my sisters’.

April is STD Awareness Month. In October I focused heavily on how Daddy Issues can attribute to Intimate Partner Violence, but we often avoid the awkward elephant in the room, STDs. A 2010 finding from the National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) indicates that 35.6% of women in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Additionally, it states “Women in relationships with violence have four times the risk of contracting STIs, including HIV, than women in relationships without violence.

For my sister who continues to return to the abuser who has blackened her eye and tore up her place, I asked what she had witnessed in the home. Our other sister, who grew up in the home with her, assured me their mother wasn’t physically abused, so she too is confused by her acceptance of such treatment.

My other sister I’m not so sure about. Maybe she keeps letting him back in for the kids. Maybe they both do.

I wonder if growing up around these violent relationships will make my nieces four times more at risk of contracting STIs, including HIV, by choosing men like their Daddies.

I know one thing. Unlike Tara & Amina, I’m not interested in sharing anyone’s husband and all of the possible STIs that come along with him.

I used to feel bad that I couldn’t convince my sisters to be strong enough to leave their abusers. I’m not so pushy anymore, but I’m even more concerned about their health than before. And definitely more aware of mine.

Whether your blind spot is unavailable men, or being too available to the same man who’s already hurt you; keep your sexual, physical and mental health in mind. Get tested.

When it comes to what goes on in your body, don’t be blind.

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Fake Family

You remember growing up in the 90s (and probably before then) having “play cousins” and your mother’s best friend was automatically your aunt/uncle? Those non-biological folk were some times more kind than blood kin.

That’s not the kind of fake family I wanna focus on though. Last week I overheard an 8 year-old telling his mom about his niece. She stopped him mid-story and asked “What niece?” Then she ran through a list of names asking after each “Does ____ have a baby?” until ultimately she questioned “When you were born, did your father have any other kids that you know about?” To which he answered, in classic 8-year-old fashion, “I didn’t know ANYTHING when I was born.”

boy niece

Although his response made me chuckle, I was slightly bothered by mom’s questioning. As I stated in ‘Ties that Bind’ I didn’t know my sister existed until I was 10, because Buddha didn’t know either. (Her mother confirmed that a couple Christmases ago) This little boy’s mother tried to end their conversation with “I hate when people do that! All this fake family stuff!” It didn’t seem to matter to him. I could see in his face he already accepted this baby as his niece and it didn’t matter how fake his mother felt they were.

“Why does Daddy keep doing this? Always confusing people!”

Another reason it bothered me is because, I’m kind of part of that “fake family” category. This past Christmas, Step Dad #1 invited me for Christmas Brunch at his mother’s house. Almost all of his kids were there and one of his cousins happened ask “Who is the oldest?” To which my eldest stepsister replied “WE ARE” the rest of us chuckled, but this cousin was perplexed and wasn’t ready to let go. We all giggled as she continuously shouted “You ain’t $#!+” and “You’re a fuck up! You just fucked up” in astonishment as Step Dad #1 claimed the three of us, his 25-year-old non-triplets without explanation.

I guess it stopped being funny, because the second eldest and middle 25-year-old said “Why does Daddy keep doing this? Always confusing people!”

Those words stuck around and stung me. It was as if I was watching this Christmas scene with the ghost of Christmas Present, because for a moment I was no longer mentally there.

Black girl with braids

This wasn’t the first time one of my stepsisters made me feel like an outsider.

About 4 years ago, my eldest stepsister was babysitting the middle 25-year-old’s son. He has autism and was about 2 ⅟2  at the time. I was feeding him rice from some Chinese food I had. So naturally a two-year-old is giving his undivided attention to the food. Annoyed and not yet aware of his autism, she took his lack of eye contact personally & said “She’s not your real aunt anyway!”

I’m no fool. I understand how biology works. It didn’t make it hurt any less.

Last week I wanted to blame my mother. Not just Buddha, or his siblings, but all of the mothers involved for not keeping me united with my biological siblings.

On Christmas, I wanted to be angry with my stepsister for thinking Step Dad #1 was “confusing people” by claiming me as his kid. He was around for my first days of school & Kindergarten graduation and when I first learned to read. He didn’t even know she existed until we were fourteen, or at least that’s what he claimed.

But it’s not my place to be angry with any of them. I consider my stepsisters to be my real family. I’m proud of their accomplishments and disappointed in their down falls.

I guess maybe they aren’t as accepting as that 8-year-old boy I overheard last week.