Sunday, October 14, 2012

As an adult woman can hunt for and find her own value. She can graduate herself into importance. But during the shaky span from childhood to woman hood, a girl needs help in determining her worth-and no one can anoint her like her mother.

“Young Children believe that Mother is the true source and has all the answers. If a mother dislikes her child, or thinks she’s not good enough, the child believes she’s unlikeable and inadequate. If someone does not challenge this distortion and show the child that she is worthy and precious, she will internalize these negative beliefs and eventually decides that she cannot be different.”

I’ve been thinking for a while, about how I’m doing in therapy and my progress. So I’ve have homework and everything and one of the things I’ve done was a billboard of positive things and things that I like that make me happy. I do have pictures of myself on the top of the billboard with encouraging words and I have post it’s on it with positive things about myself and my body. I also have a book of positive affirmations that I carry with me all the time that I created myself. That got me to thinking of why I even have to do either one of these things just to make myself feel better. I sat down and thought for a little bit about what caused all of this and how it started. I thought about how I felt about myself when I looked into the mirror how I felt about my body and my feelings towards me. After thinking and crying I realized that I don’t have self-esteem or confidence.

I don’t know what confidence feels like. I don’t know how to think about my body but the only thing I do think about is having thunder thighs and my mother always getting on me about becoming a roly-poly and losing my baby weight. I felt the same thing about my hair and my complexion. Shed called me nappy hair because I have kinky hair so she put a perm in my hair when I was 12. After I had the perm in my hair for a while, it started to break off my hair and I started wearing hair weaves because I wanted long hair. All the boys and men around her like black women with long hair so that’s what I wore. I had curly weaves, crinkly, curly, multi colored weaves, I’ve even wore a wig before. I was ashamed of my hair. I was ashamed of the length when she made me take my senior pictures with my own hair. I hated the length I felt ugly. I hated that I had to put a perm in my hair to make it straight and that I had to put hair weave in it to make it longer and I still didn’t feel pretty. The only thing I kept thinking of was I was ugly. There were days when I had the weave in she would comment about how bad my hair looked, her and my dad would always say why you keep that crap in your hair. I was a teenager at the time and I remember thinking because I’m ugly. I’m not pretty and no one is telling me I’m pretty and no one is giving me that attention that I need. It got to the point my mother wanted a weave in her hair and she went out and brought the same weave I was wearing but in a different color. The thing that I had to myself I no longer had. I went natural in 07 and every comment out her mouth was when are you going to do something with that nappy head of yours. She tore down every positive thing about my hair that I had and I didn’t have the confidence to even get it back until now. I have dreadlocks and I wouldn’t change it for the word. It’s me, I love the way it makes me look, I love my hair, even the kinky part of my hair I love. I would never put another perm in my hair again.

I don’t have self-confidence; I didn’t have it when I was growing up. I wasn’t given those resources and when my mother did give them to me it was only a little bit at a time but she would come back and break me down again. My weight is something that I’m still a little bit insecure about. I’m still a little insecure about the way my body looks. Over and over it was drilled into my head that I have thunder thighs and a big stomach. When I was little, as soon as I hit puberty in the 5th grade I put on weight in my thighs, hips and my breasts. I’m short so of course it went to those places. I’m not fat, just thick and I love it now and I understand it now but then I thought I was fat. I never weighed over 150lbs in school but when I was in middle school my mother put me on a diet to make me lose weight. Then I was 85lbs in the 8th grade. I could run a mile in 8 minutes but she still thought I was fat and made me very aware of it.

She would tell me how I needed to lose weight because I was getting big. She would tell me that if I didn’t lose the weight I would look like a roly-poly, those toys that waddle but they don’t fall down because their bottoms are big. Then I would have to ride the exercise bike for an hour crying. She made me run up and down the steps for 30 minutes while she sat up stairs watching TV and eating. This one time she made me get on the exercise bike and when my sister came in the room to try to cheer me up she yelled at her to get out of the room. In elementary school I used to eat everything like all the time. She put me on a diet then and limited my portion size so after everyone else went to sleep I would sneak out the bed room and eat because I was still hungry. She preached and preached about control my portion sizes and how I’m eating too much. I have such big anxieties about eating now. Like I only eat once a day because I don’t want to get fat, I don’t want to gain any more weight. I still feel like I’m 10 being told I’m fat and I need to lose weight, that voice is still in my head and I’m fighting every day to try and get it out.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I only gained about 30lbs and that was just in my stomach. A couple of months later my mother asked me when I was going to lose the rest of my baby weight. (my mother is twice my size, she smokes, does drugs and works 3 hours a day, when she gets home she sits in the kitchen, in front of the TV and eat until it’s time for her to go to bed. She still has her baby weight). When I started to lose the weight and started wearing tight jeans shed always have something to say about why I’m wearing tight low cut jeans. My shirt was long enough so you didn’t see anything even when I sat down. I ignored her. So you don’t want me to be fat but you don’t want me looking nice either? In all of my school pictures I was not allowed to wear skirts or dresses. Especially in elementary school. She would put me in old jeans, boots and a sweater when every other girl in the class had on a dress for picture day. So when I would come home and tell her they were teasing me she didn’t care, her response was tell them if you don’t like my clothes go buy me some. That was her answer to everything, feelings didn’t and still don’t matter. We had dresses and nice clothes in our closet but she wouldn’t let us wear them, she would make us wear things she wore as a child.

 I wore make up in high school my freshman year. She hated it, I liked the glitter and the eye shadow and doing my eye brows but she hated it. She hated everything about it because she didn’t wear it growing up. She told me in front of my friends and her coworkers that I looked like a clown with all that junk on my face. I remember walking away holding back the tears because I was still around my friends and I didn’t want them to see me cry. I thought I looked pretty but to her I felt like I looked ugly. I was always insecure about my completion. To this day I still think I’d rather be a dark complexion than the caramel complexion I have now.
I feel like I’m not light enough to be pretty and I’m not dark enough to be pretty either. I feel like I’m in the middle and I feel lost. I got tired of hearing her talk about how light my complexion was, how I didn’t look like anyone else on her side of the family and how I was the odd one out at every one of her family events. Her brothers would make fun of me because I was so light and because I “talked like a white girl” (proper English). She never stopped them she would join in and comment about how she told me to lose weight, how I would be prettier if I lost the weight. And that’s what keeps playing in my head. Where I live, men like light skinned women (red bones) or you have to be loud and ghetto. And I’m not close to either one. I’m still unsure of myself when it comes to my husband. I don’t think he thinks I’m pretty enough because I know he likes light skinned girls with red hair and I’m not that. And I guess it just makes me think of how I wasn’t good enough growing up because of the complexion of my skin and because my hair wasn’t long enough or curly enough or even straight enough. This one girl in my neighborhood would make fun of my complexion all the time all the way up until high school. My first boyfriend broke up with me to be with her because I was too dark skinned and that hurt it still there in my heart.

Growing up I wasn’t called pretty, I wasn’t called beautiful, my mother never told me any of this; my father never told me any of this. The closest thing I was told was that I looked nicer in my clothes after losing all my weight. That’s not a compliment, that’s an insult. I wanted to feel pretty, I wanted to feel beautiful, and no one told me any of those things so I went looking for them. The boys my age didn’t find me pretty either so I went to older men and that’s when I met my ex, which was the worst thing that happened to me in my life. A lot of things I didn’t have growing up that I should have had but I never got. And I dint think that it would affect me as an adult but it does. I don’t have as much confidence in myself as I should. I don’t believe in myself as much as I should and I’m trying to learn it for the first time. I do feel empty, I feel broken, and I feel like not myself. How can I be confident when I don’t know what it is? How can I be sure of myself when I don’t even know who I am? I know what I like, I know what I don’t like, I know who I love and I know who loves me but I don’t know me. I don’t know myself. I feel like I’ve been beaten so many times that I’m struggling trying to get up again. I feel pretty now, I just don’t feel whole. While I’m going through therapy I feel my inner child talking to me and I talk back to her. And I can feel her crying and it’s so loud and that pain I had from being a child is starting to come out.

 Right now I’m scared of changing but I’m excited at the same time. It’s so scary for me because I haven’t felt like this before. I wasn’t allowed to think for myself and now that I had the freedom to say what I want and how I want it I guess I’m careful on how I do it. For so long I’ve carried this around with me because I was taking the blame for when my parents failed, especially my mother. She was the one who was supposed to be there and guide me growing up and she didn’t. That’s not my fault. I was under 18 and a child, I’m not responsible for her actions and I never will be. I’m responsible for what I do after I turned 18 and what I chose to do now. I used to think that because my mother had a bad childhood that was she did to me was excusable and that she didn’t know any better but she does. I see now that she knew exactly what she was doing, that it wasn’t an accident or something that she can blame her childhood on. That was her conscience decision and I’m not taking the fall for it anymore.