|This was my picture on Facebook to support child abuse.|
Before I even begin I want to give a shout out to Brooke, who started this thought process for me on this topic. She wrote a very good blog post earlier today that made me think about a few things.
I really didn’t talk much about Thanksgiving this year. I did not talk about that week at all outside of Sarah Lawrence. I was in my own world doing my own thing and I know that it appears to some that I may have blown people off, but it is simply not that simple. But, if I can cut a small piece of that week out for all to view, it will be spending the holiday with my mother and that side of the family.
It is always interesting times to go over there. My aunt lives in Riverdale, which is a very upscale part of the Bronx. This was one of the few places in the Bronx where I spent some time living because Riverdale was spot number 2 that we moved to once my mom left my dad. It is really not a bad area, however, this was the first place I was called a nigger by a white kid and I have been thinking about my identity ever since (a story for another time).
The issue for that day was who was I going to go with. Was I going to go with mom or my brother? I ended up driving myself because at the end of the day, I would rather have the option of leaving when I wanted. Plus, I had another stop to make (benefits of having a big family…options and other places for food!). There is always a bit of trepidation when I am going to family gatherings because you never know. My history with that side of the family is an extension of my relationship with my mother. So, I had to be cautiously optimistic.
Dinner started as soon as I got there because I was the last one. It was not my fault it took me almost an hour to find parking in Riverdale. The food was good. We laughed and ate, things were merry. In fact, I ate so much that I was about to pass out. I wanted to sleep so bad! I decided to walk around and play with my smaller cousins and nephew.
Then desert came and we started this discussion. The kids were a little rowdy, but I know I have seen worse. One of older my cousins, who has no children, starts talking about how people need to discipline their children more otherwise these kids will run rampant. I knew what she was saying. The adults want to be adults and the kids need to be curbed. Somehow we got on this conversation about some kids need to get a beat down but the laws are so strict that kids these days like to threaten their own parents with calling child services. The running joke was of course, the kid would be like “I am going to call the police” and the parent would respond something like “Go Ahead…they can keep you” or “You wont make it to the phone” (all of this was amusing..trust me)
Let me just say that I know I wasn’t the best kid in the world. I used to get hit to and for the most part I deserved it. My grades sucked, I broke stuff, I would not listen, and I just could not get my shit together. So there was no surprise to me that my mother chimes in at some point and talks about how she used to beat me. We laughed as she told the story about how she chased me around the house and finally caught me in my bedroom. I started screaming for my dog, Bosco (which was this big wolf like dog). He comes running in and jumps on my mother! Then he realizes who it was he just tackles and runs out the room in a hurry. I remember this and it was very hysterical.
Then there were more stories and I started thinking… I can remember getting hit more by her than her hugging me. Now, I am not saying I was abused. I would argue that I was not. But, it forces me to think about all my relationships with women. One of my aunts told me that my mother had no patience with me many times and her anger would come out easily. I realize that I strive so hard for the approval of women and I take a lot of “abuse” when I don’t have to.
I bring this up because over the past week there have been many people changing their Facebook profile pictures to cartoon characters of their youth to promote child abuse awareness. The premise is to relive happy memories of our younger days. While some people have said that this is silly because it wont stop the abuse of children, I am for it because child abuse is wrong. Giving money wont stop child abuse either, but at least more people will be aware that some kids are born to some really bad parents.
Back to me. I am not saying that my mother was this abusive woman, but I was once for hitting kids when they were unruly. I am not so sure anymore. People do not seem to realize how fragile a relationship with a child is. The foundation of all relationships are laid when are children. If there are issues with this foundation, it will be something that kids will be dealing with for the rest of their lives.