Patience

It’s been over a month since my last post, not for selfish reasons but for healing and clarity. 

Approximately 24 hours after my last post titled ‘Mother,’ where I expressed a series of childhood sexual abuse by a family member, I received a call that the monster died. For years I prayed for his demise, I even cursed ‘God’ for allowing him to live so long. However, after receiving the news of his death I was unhappy. Not because I’d miss him, or love him, or felt sympathy for his family. I was unhappy for never confronting him about what he did. I’d allowed other people to defend me against him for what he’d done to me. I’ve been conflicted with guilt and fear. Guilty for allowing this monster’s ugliness to control me for so long and, fear that I’ll never find closure now that he’s dead. I’ve avoided writing based on the simple fact that I want to be brutally honest in my posts. I didn’t want to post based off temporary feelings and have to change or delete later. I took the weeks to search for answers only I could find in order to be at peace. What I found is that as the days become weeks I’m letting go. There was a time when I couldn’t go a week without seeing his face and hearing his voice – since his death I’ve gone weeks without thinking of him. I was able to have a conversation about sending my daughters to Jamaica and not worry about that particular predator. I’m not saying there are no other monsters like him in my extended family. I’m saying, the monster that violated me will never do it to anyone else. I’m saying, my daughters will never have to see or hear him. I’m saying my husband will not have to kill him. I’m saying, I got what I’d been asking for; his death. It might have taken longer than I hoped but, he’s dead. …and knowing the fucker suffered a lot makes this healing process easier than Sunday morning. All it took was PATIENCE.

 

What’s a family?

In my primary school’s Social Studies class the definition of family was, “a group of people with similar blood type living under one roof, supporting each other physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.”

I was at least 10 years old when I was taught that definition and it stayed with me for years. I was never raised to challenge authority or to question people or things. I was only expected to obey anyone older than me, regardless of what they say or do. Any resistance would be met with a beating, therefore I believed everything I was told. My mother was weak. We never bonded because she was never there. Not physically, not mentally, not financially, not emotionally. I cannot find any images of mom and I in my memory. I can recall events that occurred from the age of three and mom is nowhere there. I never questioned it nor did I find it strange because there was never a lack of love in my life. I was raised by five uncles and grandpa, being the only niece and grandchild it was always a game of tug-of-war for me. I was born and raised in hardship: I can recall my daily meals being either a choice of water sweetened with sugar; breadfruit with salt; eggs with salt and, water, water was always available. Grandpa was the only one with a job, my mom being the oldest of eight and with a child, was said to have gone to a different parish to find work, that was the story that floated over my peanut brain growing up. My uncles were between 10 and 15 at the time of my birth. As expected the youngest had to stop going to school to care for me. There were no daycare centers or hiring a babysitter, as I said earlier, we were dirt poor. Of the five uncles, Fritz was my favorite. Not only because he was the youngest who had to play the role of uncle, dad and baby sitter. But because he was the beginning of love. I can vividly recall being sick with jaundice because I was malnourished. Uncle would wake at the crack of dawn, get me dressed, feed me and sing “Jesus Loves Me” until the sun came up. He’d take my clothes off and walk with me, face to the sun for hours and, without a frown or complaint. I can still feel the  sun’s heat lingering on my skin. I can still see his eyes smiling and face beaming with pride as he walked his niece with hopes of curing me. Uncle was my first love. Even today at 32 I look for qualities of him in every male that crosses my path. People give me looks of mystification whenever I tell them that I’m looking for my uncles qualities in any guy. One even told me he found my fascination with uncle’s qualities concerning and disgusting. See, everyone has their definition of perfect, of love, of family. My definition is what my uncle showed me as a child: unconditional, timeless, everlasting feeling of belonging. It’s a feeling we shared from sitting on cold concrete floors listening to his stories of challenges he faced as a child. The feeling and ability to be fearless, to be myself, make mistakes and know I’d alway be forgiven. He was all I knew, he was LOVE, he was FAMILY, he was the breath that kept me alive. He was peace, he was joy, he was laughter. …

I was barely 15 when he was murdered. For years I lost all feelings of trust and love. I lost the only person who was family. I questioned wether God exists or is a myth. For my uncle was the closest to perfect you’d ever get. Literally, he’d never hurt a fly. I wondered what sane God would allow someone to enter his home and pelt bullets through his pure heart. For years I would self destruct. It was my method for ignoring the pain of not having him around. For years I emulated everything he hated. I blamed him for being in the right place at the wrong time. I prayed to be dead for I knew I’d never find a love of family like he showed me.

Im better now, much better. I used everything I learned from uncle to help me through my mourning. I see him in my actions and decisions daily. I keep a photograph of him front and center of my eyes. I tell my children of this exceptional earthly being their mommy had. They don’t quite understand yet,  it I ensure they feel the love that flows through me, from him.

Continue to sleep in perpetual peace, uncle. Even after my last breath, I’ll love you .

The first time

If you asked the people closest to me about my first time, they’d tell you it happened when I was 17, with a man my parents went to college with. They’d have the proudest look on their clueless faces while telling the story I sold them and, as expected, you’d become a believer, too. The truth is, my first time is nothing close to the story I told. I tell people about that particular event because I wish that’s how my first time went. The older I became, the more I realized, that first time with the man my parents went to college with is how a first time should be: both parties mature enough to know there are no boundaries, no fear, no second guessing. Just raw; out of body, out of mind and out of this world love making.

The event is etched in my memory bank like my first tattoo; a daily reminder of immaturity.

I was 13 and the year was 1998. My mom had migrated to America and left my little sister and I in the care of her husband. They’ve been married since I was five and had only one child together. He had a daughter from a previous relationship, too. All together we were a family of five. Life was never peachy for me. I was literally the black Cinderella and my first time happened with who I thought was my Prince sent to rescue me. I can’t tell you how old he was at the time but, I can tell you he was late 20s and a friend of the family. He was a typical guy;Burly rock-hard body, dark brown sun kissed skin. His piercing black eyes were freakishly huge accompanied by balding hair and bearded face. His aroma was the same every time, a soft mix of mint and honey. The man was soft-spoken. Every word from his moist lips were reassuring, it is one the reasons I was drawn to him. For in all the chaos going on around me, his subtle voice would always calm and caress every cell in my body.

I know the question of my age compared to his has most likely crossed a few minds. You’re probably thinking of pedophilia Or maybe thinking I was a promiscuous teen. All of which is probably right. However, at that time I had no clue what we were about to do was against the law. See, those type of things weren’t discussed in my home, or in my family for that matter. Their only concerns were that as girls, we learn in school and not get pregnant. Now that I’ve given some background into my childhood, I’ll get back to the topic of this post.

The sex was nothing like they describe in the “Shades of Grey” series. Nor was it anything like the horrendous sex scenes form “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” It was a combination of lust and fear exploding on off white sheets on a steaming hot day in Jamaica. I had told brown skin I was a virgin during our many lengthy conversations. I know he didn’t believe me because the norm for a girl my age at that particular time and space was to already have been overly sexually active. Looking back, it’s clearer each day that sex with underage girls were a norm. It’s even worse if that man had some money or the means to make money. Mothers didn’t care about their daughters having sex a an awfully young age; they cared about getting money to do whatever took precedence over their little girls mental and emotional wellbeing.

I knew we’d do it that day. Not because he forced or begged me to do it that day but, because I had planned everything out in my little head. I’d made certain it was a day my stepdad would work miles away from home. I’d made certain it was a time when all my friends were off the road. I’d made certain no relatives or close family friend see me get in and out the car. I planned it and told him how it should be done. It worked, he picked me up and pulled straight into his garage that closed behind us. We entered in his home and, for the first time throughout our entire time of courting I became a spineless being. I felt my body disappear into the concrete under me. I remember hearing muffles of words he spoke, I remember the soft breeze hitting the trees and ricocheting off the windows. I remember giving myself the pep talk: “you can do it. Tomorrow this time it’ll all be over and you’ll be smiling.” I remember him gently touching my shoulders and asking if I was okay and if I needed water. I told him no, and that I’m just nervous. He gave me the look of uncertainty. It was as if he suddenly realized I was not lying about being a virgin. He told me I shouldn’t worry and that we didn’t have to do anything and, it was at that moment all things I knew as fear left my body. It was those words on that time and space I needed to reassure me of the many reasons why I was standing in that room: that this man was my savior and the only way I thought to please him was to give him the only valuable I had. The only thing I thought men craved. The only thing those Mills and Boon characters defined as being the reason for all the commotion in the world. …my virginity.

My clothes were coming off while he sat on the edge of the bed staring with a bewildered look on his face. Even when I sat next to him he didn’t move, instantly. It was as if he was trying to convince himself that he deserved to be in that room with me. I told him that I didn’t know what to do next. He was silent, and silent, and a little more silent and I felt ashamed. I began to wonder if it was a trick and my stepdad was going to jump out of the closet and beat me to near death. I sat, waited, wanted to get my clothes, burst the doors down and run home without stopping. I couldn’t move, it was no pinger fear and lust, I was now crippled with fear and embarrassment. I remember thinking how mature I thought I’d be after having sex, and how that will have to be delayed. I wondered if he too was a virgin and we both don’t know what to do.

We sat for about 35 minutes in silence and staring into oblivion. I started feeling cold and softly lifted the edge of the sheet to cover myself. That’s when he spoke, he asked if was cold and if I was okay. I replied saying, “yes. I am. You?” Then he held the back of my neck I said, “I’m sorry” and started kissing me. With my eyes wide open and every emotion running through me, I decided to let go like I had planned. He kissed me, ran his hands over every inch of my my pristine body while I laid there anticipating the next move. He climb on top of me and with the lightness of his touch, spread my legs. I was timid and bursting into sweat. He stated in my eyes and asked if I wanted him to stop. At this point I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I told him to keep going, that I want him to do it. His hands moved from my face to my lips, from my lips to my firm breasts, then landed them home. Home, to where most men’s troubles disappear and some begin. Home to where I hopes, once connected would take us into a different realm. Surpassing all things normal and become an out of this world experience. But it wasn’t that, not so extreme nor limited. Just an inexperienced girl and a guy who treated her like she’d break with every touch. We tried every lubricant in the house, from Vaseline to coconut oil. From saliva to lotion. When he finally inserted his penis, and it wasn’t anywhere near fully inside me- I felt every layer of my skin rip open. My body has a reputation of failing me and it did, again. I was only breathing and I heard only my inhales and exhales. I felt my pores open up, I felt and heard the sweat coming through my pores. My eyes were fixed on his face. It was as if he’d found an oasis after days in the Sahara and I felt proud. Proud that I was the cause of that look of accomplishment. Proud of the blood stained sheets and tingling in my vagina. Proud that I had something in common with the girls at school. Proud that I was truly nobody’s little girl.