If only you knew (Patti Labelle voice)

She reminds me of Patti Labelle or maybe that is the image I created of her in my mind. She loves to sing, cook, and spend time with her family. She had a voice just like her, before the cigarettes paid a toll on her vocal cords. I recall my father always bragging about her ability to sing. We recently had another falling out, there is always a constant misunderstanding between the both of us. She with the powerful desire to be respected and my desire to be heard. Neither willing to provide either, but I have a platform that allows me to do so. She doesn’t realize it but I have already mourned the loss of her, as I watched her die when I was a young girl. The last argument she told me that I never have her back. If only you knew…They say growing up in a black household being a young woman can be tough. Majority of the households are ran by single mothers with very little presences from the fathers. A counselor/therapist once asked me did you ever feel loved by her, and the unfortunate answer is no. She used to always tell me when she was drunk, how her lack of affection stemmed from her mother. How she fell in love with countless men, but I never seen her love for herself. Had your back? Lets just say I have pissed in cups for her, having no clue what I was doing that for. Only to realize I was helping her with random drug test for her employment at a big named chemical plant. The same company years later she got fired from. When tragedy hit our family in 1996, she died along with them. I recall cleaning up throw up from the side of her bed, and caring for my toddler brother while she partied the night away. Have your back? She had my grandmother, my cousin, and a tribe of women to call on for help, and childcare. Instead I played as her caregiver, and was screamed and yelled at when I desired for her closeness.

She was great at giving, I had a shit ton of toys and material things. Just like my ex-husband her affection and love was too costly. I recall panicking call bars, and hospitals because she stayed out all night, while I played mom at 13. Middle school I barely passed as I was being bullied at home and in school. I knew exactly the right time to ask you to sign my report cards. The night after you were drinking you wouldn’t even pay attention. You never paid attention. Your pain affected your loved ones. When you lost yourself you forgot about me. I found my uncle dead, had a seizure, and not once did anyone ask “are you okay?” Fuck therapy give it to God and Kieona is strong so she can handle it. I’m a writer today because of you. The only difference is I don’t need liquid courage to be true to who I am. In a way, I feel like you have always disliked me because of that. You always taught me to be everything except for myself. More cute and sexy like my cousin, stay out of the sun your already black. You taught me about relationships and then ask how I ended up with a man like that. You my greatest teacher! I didn’t grow up to be a “Dike” but I do embrace my masculine energy. I monitor my drinking because I never wanted it to take over me like it did you. My father may not have been any better but he did teach me how to be a woman. How to care for myself, it was hard to learn about menstrual care from him. You tell everyone that I choose to live with my dad, and your right I did. If you only knew, I made that decision because I knew if I stayed my soul would have died too.

I made myself responsible for picking up your pieces. Cleaning up after the messes you made. My teenage years were stripped from me, you allowed no room for me to make mistakes. Then you call me “Mother Teresa”, you hated the fact that I was always the good girl. You created enough hell in your life that I did not want to add to it. I recall my cousins mother the “known” addict of the family tell me there was no difference between you two, except you had a job. She was right. I was the disrespectful child because I exposed the shit you sprinkled with sugar. The exterior you did so great to cover. A functioning empty soul. Where were you for all three graduations, prom, the birth of my two sons, and anything else positive that has happened in my life. If you only knew… that through your hell you unconsciously dragged me through, I still loved you. Even through all the lies you have told about me as if I were your competition not your daughter. You brought me up to be independent and nurtured my brother. You tried to hurt me with the very demons you had dancing in your closet.

I gave you another chance. A do over with my son. Even though he gets to see a different side of you, I still have not let my walls down. I don’t trust you with my son for a sleepover or anything without my presence. I value his childhood and his perspective on love. I don’t want you to teach him your conditional love. The love that is available only when you are pleased with one’s actions. One in which subsides as soon as you are unhappy. I don’t want him exposed to your intoxicated love. The emotions you spew with liquid courage that I hold onto until the following day when you are angry and sober. Although life has changed for you because your body doesn’t allow certain things, your heart still remains closed. I am not your competition, I am your daughter. Not your homie or caregiver. You have abused your title as the walls I have built because of you, made me fear others on the outside. In a way, I believe you dislike me because of my strength. I see how easy it was for you to fall into the negativity as I have experienced everything you went through and more. If you only knew…beyond those men, beyond the drugs and alcohol, beyond your fears and insecurities, there was a little girl that truly loved you unconditionally. To the point that when she became an adult she encouraged her self love journey to you as well. I found the secret and couldn’t wait to share it with you. But your heart was not open. If you only knew…


One thought on “If only you knew (Patti Labelle voice)

  1. My God, I pray for continued strength and direction for you and your son. God has purposed you with the courage to share your experiences to help others who don’t feel they can change their circumstances. Keep writing, keep encouraging and keep being positive showing agape love.

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