I got side-tracked again…what’s new? I pretty much neglected my blogging exercise. Life had me running for the last few weeks. Holidays were upon me! I had people to treat and please. I had made my list…was checking twice…shoot maybe four times. Last minute projects at work kept popping up. I took on a few odd job and sold a few things from my home-based cosmetics business.
So Christmas came and went. We had soul food for days. Kids had some of the things they wanted and were pretty much satisfied.
And the sister spirits indulged me, which allow us to spend the last three days of 2011 in bed as much as possible. Yep…I think subconsciously I was trying to sleep that sucker away. If 2011 were a wine, it could never be referred to as a good year. Now don’t get wrong, we kept the job, stayed pretty much healthy throughout and only made a few enemies (The ones made are probably committed to that cause for a lifetime!). But it wasn’t a banner year for the sister spirits.
New Year’s Eve was spent in church…actually twice. The first time was for a funeral. Now that’s the first time we’ve experienced that. It only emphasized how fragile and precious life is. The consensus among the sister spirits as we sat there taking the home going scene in was that it could have been me. That October 17 car crash could have left Big C without his ride-or-die…three young “women” without their chauffeur, hair-dresser and cheerleader and a few of my buddies without their sounding board.
The second New Year’s Eve church service was the annual Watch Night celebration. Two other churches fellowshipped with us. Now most of those reading this will know what the Watch Night activity is all about, but for those who might not, let me explain. This is a tradition celebrated by many African-American churches. Congregants come together to worship, give testimonies, hear the Good Word and count down the minutes to the end of one year and the beginning of another.
Well this year’s service was different for the sister spirits. And I choose to focus on the three of us rather than just me, D’Anne, because I think each of us had a revelation. See at the funeral earlier, the three of us, Deanna, Dana and me, had the same thought….that could have been us lying in that casket. But at the Watch Night service, each of us was confronted with a revelation of our own fear. Yes, there were three revelations.
First Deanna realized that she was driven by her fear of displeasing others. We have dealt with her fear of that forever. It goes all the way back to our childhood and it is what gave birth to the three sister spirits in the first place. And as it is in most women’s cases, it has something to do with our daddy.
See we didn’t meet Pops until we were nine. And the “father-figure” in our life was an asshole (Yes, I cursed…and I’m not apologizing.). I remember joking as a teen that my mother knew Satan was real because she had married his son. This sucker did his best to degrade and destroy Deanna. He actually professed that he hated her. Yeah, he was truly a piece of work.
Well Deanna always dreamed that her daddy would come racing in and rescue her. That he would slay that dragon of a step-daddy and ride her off into the sunset…to be loved on and pampered for the rest of her days. Well, that didn’t happen. The daddy she finally met at nine was a troubled soul who was unable to deal with his own pain. He was an alcoholic who thought throwing dollars at her would make it alright. Now this is not an attack on him; he simply handled her the best way he knew how.
In fact, Pops was so ill-prepared to deal with being Deanna’s daddy that he actually denied being her father at one point…right to her face. She was 11 years-old. Well that’s the day, Dana and I were born. And we convinced her that she didn’t need him…that she would be just fine.
In fact, she did not speak to him for five months. I really can’t remember how we resumed “communication” with him; he never actually apologized. But Deanna set out on this path to do things that pleased him, which is probably how the “communication” resumed. And that “pleasing nature” is how she dealt with anybody that came into our lives…especially men. She desired to keep them happy so they would never reject us. Well, that hasn’t always worked. And after his long battle with alcoholism, Pops passed away in his sleep on March 8, 2010. And the distance in our relationship with him never disappeared…he just died.
Now as we sat there at the Watch Night service, Dana’s thoughts took her back to a conversation we had with one of our friends just a few days before. We sat in the car in our front yard…simply worn out. That old trapped feeling had settled about us…the job search seemed to be going nowhere and Dana was just discouraged. Remember she is a control freak and she is used to shaking things up. And nothing has been lining up the way she planned.
Well this friend of ours reminded Dana that she couldn’t do it all. Then she said something that Dana will never forget. She reminded Dana that she would truly become our mother. And that is what Dana fears.
Now let me explain before any misconceptions arise. Our mother was the poster-child for the strong black woman. She could install appliances, check the fluids in her car, cook, clean and work ten hours at the factory. And she did all these “I’m every woman” feats with her hair on point and her face made up flawlessly (This chic even wore the makeup on the assembly-line every day!). Mommy dominated most of her relationships…because she wore the “I don’t need a man” mask all the time. She wouldn’t let anyone run over her.
Now this might not sound like a problem to most people, but it is. See years of “I can do this by myself” and “no one can fix this but me” caught up with Mommy back on August 22, 2007 when she suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke. She spent four weeks in ICU in a coma…dependent on a ventilator. When she came out of the coma and left the hospital two weeks later, her kingdom was in disarray. Her hubby had been cheating on her and not paying the bills. The two kids she had custody of were running around like wild coyotes and she couldn’t walk, feed or take care of herself. Plus before she got sick, she had canceled her insurance coverage (This was one of classic fixes of money flow…just do without until later). The hospital bill was humongous. Even though she did regain mobility and learn how to handle simple functions, Mommy is still partially paralyzed and will probably never work again. And she has battled depression ever since.
Dana’s reaction to Mommy’s illness was to go into superwoman overdrive and she has pretty much been stuck in that state since. She raced back and forth to Georgia, trying to keep Mommy’s house and her own together. Life hasn’t always cooperated. We have had to deal with other parental health issues. Pops and Big C’s daddy died. We’ve experienced our own financial woes. Imani’s issues have preoccupied us.
When our friend compared us to our Mommy, Dana was shocked. I really don’t why that was her reaction. The signs have been there for a long time now. We had to have two emergency surgeries just because of Dana’s “take on the world” spirit. It is nothing for us to come in every evening and just pass out. Then get right back up the next morning and start it all over again. Dana can’t say no…she doesn’t want to be seen as incapable or incompetent…so we are always juggling tasks and racing off to the next event. The girl is the classic overachiever and it is wearing us down.
Okay…so what about D’Anne? What’s her fear? Simply put…I fear no one will truly accept me. Yeah, I know those who truly know me may find that hard to swallow. I’m the classic non-conformist who takes on every underdog cause. I have been known for telling it like it is and taking no prisoners. I’m passionate and a ‘lil reckless. But I still am afraid no one will accept me.
That’s why the writing has been a struggle. I mean the story is there…the thoughts run through my mind all the time. I have notes in every purse that I own and on the memo pad on my Blackberry. But I am still afraid my voice will be ignored. I guess that stems from our relationship with Pops. He just wouldn’t hear his little girl’s cries for attention…for rescuing. Since I was a teenager, I have been racing off to take on every battle that comes up. But because Dana believes in composure, I can only fight with the one weapon I am allowed to possess: my writing. And I sometimes fear that the world will ignore my voice…just like Pop ignored it all throughout our relationship.
So the three of us had a revelation at last night’s service…now what? I think our answer came in the message. The preacher of the hour took us to Mark 5. I immediately recognized this passage, for it is one of my favorites. It is one that I used four years ago to encourage a friend whose baby girl was lying on her death bed (Lil JBaby is still alive today!). The preacher’s theme was “Faith on Trial.” In this portion of scripture, a woman, with a bleeding disorder she had been challenged with for 12 years, was healed by touching the hem of his robe. Then Jesus moved on to resurrect a 12 year old girl. The good reverend pointed out that Jesus did not take credit for the healing and restoration. He credited it to the faith of those involved.
So as we start this 12th year of this millennium, the three of us go forth…not with resolutions…just resolved to trust and move forward. We know the last four years have been “off the chain.” But we were kept by a power bigger than us. When it looked like situations would not work out, they did. And we have the confidence that God will be with us through every thing we face…that He will not forsake us. All the things we’ve lost will be restored. Healing is on the way. And when we look back after we cross this finish line, we are gonna smile…because the journey will have brought out the best in us!