Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dark Clouds Clearing, Part I

(Warning: this post is a bit all over the place. I had a bit of a hard time reining in my thougts concerning it. But I think you will get the picture).

When I think back over the first quarter of this year, January through April, the most important event during that time was meeting my father Milton. I posted about it two or three times over the past couple of months.

I'd set a goal when I was in my mid-twenties to have a face to face talk with him by the time I was 30.

This didn't occur until I was a couple weeks shy of turning 39. I guess I was just afraid to go see him.

My Auntie Joyce had much to do with my decision to reach out to him, as she has always, in contrast to my Mother, spoke well of him. And baby blog sista LBeezy made some formidable suggestions and set specific deadlines for me. This was all very healthful.

So, I came away from the meeting with Milton proud of myself for attaining a major life goal, albeit 9 years late.

Now my Auntie Joyce reads my blog. And from time to time, she will call to talk about something she's read. And she's called to politely chin-check me also on some things, which I greatly appreciate. Let's me know that things are genuine between us.

I like the fact that Auntie Joyce hears my heart through my posts, my quiet whispering in my heart of "I need to talk about my feelings."

Without me having to scream at the top of my lungs,


Of course, I don't write anything on here to get her to call me. She just seems to instinctively know we need to talk. Oh God, I do so much appreciate that.

She called, of course, after my meeting with Milton.

"Lisa, I read your blog," she says, her voice quiet. "I see you got together with Milton. I really enjoyed reading that."
"Yeah," I said. "I was only there for about 15 minutes or so. And I can't believe he had all those pictures of me!"
"Yes, I sent them to him. He would call wailing, talking about 'Please Joyce, Please! Please send me some pictures of her. I won't bother you no more! Just please, send them, before I-, before I-'"
"Croak!" I said, completing her sentence.
"Yes, that's what he wanted to say, but he never said it."
"Oh, he just go ahead on and say it to me. 'Come see me, 'Lesia, before I croak!!"

I found the whole "croak" rebel yell to be quite unnerving. I wanted to say, uh Yo, can I get you to speak some positive confessions concerning yourself?

"How the house look?" Auntie asked.
I described it to her. The olive green carpet, the Queen Anne furniture, all of it looking like it's out of the 60s or 70s. I told her how neat it was.

And I told her of the very low lighting. And how very quiet it was there.

"Yes, Lisa. That's how I remember it."
"For real?"
"Yes. When me and your Mama were teenagers, we would go over there. And it was so quiet."
"Yeah," I said. "They a quiet bunch. That Uncle Willie appeared out of nowhere, real quiet like. So did Aunt Evelyn. They're not very loud people, you can tell that."
"That's the way they've always been. When me and your Mama would go over there, it would be so quiet. I mean, you could smell the good homecooking, the collard greens and the cornbread cooking. "

I could imagine my Auntie walking in the house, wide-eyed and shoulder-to-shoulder with my Mama, going to see my Mama's boyfriend Milton.

"Lisa, you smelled all that good home cooking, and I knew a good ten people lived in the house, but you never really saw them. I used to think 'Where are they? Are they in the wallpaper or something?' Are they in the walls?'"


She went on and on about this.

It was very quiet over there indeed. There was a low hum of a television from some room in the house. I think it was the kitchen. But that was about it. All I could do was sit there in the Queen Anne chair, facing my father who was sitting on the sofa, clutching cheaply framed pictures of me for dear life, and look around the very neat living room.

The people didn't like light. Well, except for that porch light. I swear there had to be a 200 watt naked bulb lighting that porch. It was quite glaring.

You were a serious professional thief if you snuck up on them.

I thought much about all of this. Wrote a bit about it over in my personal journals.

I talked to my sister Kentucky about it waaaay after the fact. There was no way I was going to talk to her about it before I went over there. Kentucky can't hold a secret to save her life, and she tends to hang out with my Mama.

Let's just say if my Mother would have found out my desire to meet my father, she would have gotten over there first to run me into the ground.

I don't blame her for that attitude. It's just the way she is.

I was lying across the bed watching televison when I told Kentucky about it.

"I went to see Milton, girl."
"You did? How did it go?" she asked.
"It was cool. They were nice." I gave her the rundown of my visit.

"Don't tell Ma," I said. "I know it's after the fact, but don't say nothing to her. It'll just be a bunch of drama."

I didn't want to have to deal with a bunch of madness.

But something came to me as Kentucky and I were talking. I got a little heated.

"Kentucky, I got a good mind to call Ma up and give her a piece of my mind!!!"

I sat up in bed, knocking all kinds of stuff off onto the floor.

"All my life, she done said something is wrong with me!!"

"Lisa, you too quiet."
"Lisa, you got psychological problems."
"Lisa, what's wrong with you."
"Lisa, you got problems."
"Lisa, you got psychological problems!"

I mean, you don't tell a kid that!! You just don't.

And I've had to hear this over and over and over and over and over and over...

Over and over and over.

It has been pumped into my spirit, taking root deep in my thoughts.

I've really had to FIGHT bad thoughts about myself all of my life. That stuff tends to show up in your life if you don't.

You know, it's to the point, as old as I am, anytime my Mother has said "Lisa, I am proud of you,"... it just don't compute. It's like she's speaking a foreign language, some pig latin or something. I have to keep myself from snickering.

Well, I FINALLY realized something that evening while talking to my sister:

That there is nothing wrong with me. I am perfectly fine.

We all got our idiosyncracies. That is okay.

Let whoever DON'T have idiosyncracies, raise your hand. And hold it up high.

(When you raised your hand, we just pinpointed YOUR idiosyncracy: You're a frickin' liar).

But doggonit, I DO NOT have psychological problems.

I was a GOOD child. Good grades, not a trouble-maker, none of that.

Man, I was a GREAT kid.

But these CONSTANT criticisms from my mother- constant unwarranted criticisms- have been like a dark cloud swirling over my head for as long as I can remember.

A small dark cloud, but a dark cloud nevertheless.

I don't pay much attention to that. I don't have a relationship with my mother. Let's face it, if I can't do nothing right, if I'm stupid... then there's no need for you and I to be dealing with each other.

It is a hurt that I have swept off into a vacant dark corner of my mind.

No child should hear such things.

I don't care if you gave birth to me. Respect is respect. Period.

I think Serenity and Beezy be looking at me crazy because I REALLY try to reinforce one thing: Speak well over your boys. Make sure you think highly of them. Tell them good things about themselves. It is life to their spirit.

I hope you chicks (you too, Southern Black Gal) understand what I am saying.

But there is this undeniable rage that rises up in me when someone has the nerve to call me abnormal, or have a problem with my "quietness", my need to keep to myself. Anyone who reads this blog knows I like very quiet things. There are people who turn their noses up at such.

Please know that there is a difference between you saying such things about me, and you trying to correct me in someway. If I respect your opinions, I will go try to make whatever adjustments. I get a bit frustrated if I can't see your point of view, but I will try to change.

It's that weird unnecessary mess that gets to me. Yes, I have had problems with people because I'm not doing what they THINK I should be doing, etc. I usually casually disappear and don't deal with these people.

But I don't like the rage I sometimes have. It scares me.

For I am cognizant of the fact that I've inherited my mother's violent temper. Let's just say if you keep messing with me, you have a verbal fight on your hand. I blow up like a nuclear bomb, baby. And a couple of past boyfriends will tell you "Oh, Lee will swing on you if you piss her off. She will run up on you if you push her too far."

That is something that scares me...

But in one evening, I sat in my father's living room, just taking in the place.

My father and I have the same sense of humor. I found that creepy at first, but soon found it comforting.

They seem to like very low lighting.

I like very low lighting. I can't STAND ceiling lights. I like lots of small lamps.

They are not boisterous people. They are quiet. You can't even tell they are around.

I am quiet. I don't like noise AT ALL. I can't stand to be around a bunch of noise or noisy folk for too long. (LadyTee has a noisy family. I can take them for only so long, then I gots to GO).

And I have had the following argument with the "locals" of my hood:

"LadyLee, why you got that loud ass porch light? You tryna blind us?"
"No, I ain't tryna to blind nobody! I'm just trying to see you if you decide run up in here and rob me!"

I too have the very loud spotlight of a porch light.

Coincidences? Maybe. Maybe not.

But me and my sister discussed this. Kentucky let me snap for a moment. Kentucky is a very calm chick. I know she was screaming inside, thinking "Oh no, please don't let Lisa call Mama."

Man, I had a GOOD mind to call my Mama and give her a piece of my mind.

But I would never do that.

That is my Mama. Respect is respect. Period.

I leave her be.

My convo with Kentucky wound down. She let me snap, and we went on to talk of other things. But I thought much about my thoughts, wrote much also, over the next few days.

"It's a good thing to know who your people are," my friend and workplace cubicle mate Cowgirl Cre said one day when we were discussing whether I should go to my father's brother's funeral. "You need to know who your people are, Lee."

She's right.

In more ways than one.

Yeah, If you some kin to me, I need to be able to pick you out on the street if I see you.

But it has also been an important key to blasting the funk out of a dank area of my mind.

A key to a dark cloud clearing away.

A dark cloud that, even though it has been closed off in the back closet of my mind, it has also continuously lingered just beneath my skin. It has engulfed my head at times, nearly suffocating me, rising up strong without notice, causing the most terrible mental storms.

I am happy to know that that dark cloud is clearing.

I've addressed it here, and I take the proverbial broom and sweep it out the way.

A new day is dawning.

I know who my people are, that's for sure. Their blood runs warm through my veins.

I know who I am. I am sure of that.

I am a wonderful human being with a quiet spirit.

And I will never feel an ounce of shame for being who I am.

Never ever again.


  1. Anonymous7:48:00 AM

    Two things came to mind as I read your post and then you touched on them.

    1. You remind your mother of your father. There are many women who take out their neg feelings on the children instead of dealing with them properly.

    2. I have to make sure I pump in positive reinforcement into Baby Bandit. I am quick to get on him for what he does wrong but I need to make sure I am depositing positive nuggets into his spirit.

  2. @Anon aka Green-Eyed Bandit... You know? I think you may be on to something. I have NEVER thought of that. And after a couple interactions with him, I see that I am a lot like him. It wouldn't suprise me if that grained on her nerves.

    The only thing I can remember her harping on is how me and my father have the same feet. Which I always found to be odd. And until this day, I think of that when I look at my feet.

    Should've asked Milton to pull off his sneakers and show me his feet. (Oh, he would've looked at me real funny for that one.)

    Speak a few good things to Baby Bandit. He is a REALLY sweet kid, a good guy. If I write about him, notice I make mention of such. I really want him to see that, and know that I think highly of him.

    But man oh man, I never thought of the fact that I may remind her of my father. Good grief, that is deep, and may give some reason for why she views me as she does.

  3. What I find interesting here is that even though your mother spoke those things into your life about you being abnormal and crazy, I'm sure if you think hard enough you can think back to people who randomly spoke the opposite into your life. While I know it hurt and bothered you, it was sort of like that story of the seeds that fall on good ground and are firmly planted vs. the seeds that fall and are blown away by the wind. Her words were not firmly planted. We can all tell that by dealing with you. I'm glad you were able to meet your father, but I'm wondering if it would be prudent for you to have that conversation with your mother. You once told me something interesting. I was harping about a man who wasn't communicating and you told me that some people weren't raised to believe their opinion or thoughts mattered or were important. I had never considerd that b/c my thoughts were always listened to and I do the same with Tyler. But to me, if you ever felt like your mother didn't value your thoughts and didn't care to hear them and you withdrew and kept them bottled up, this is the perfect time to have your thoughts heard. There's a way to do anything. Not saying you have to curse her out or even yell, even if you wrote them in a letter and mailed them to her. Nobody, your mother included should hold any power over you.

    PS. You don't ever have to worry about me speaking negativity in Tyler's life. Just by reading my Tyler Tales you should get the impression that HE thinks he is smarter than any adult and he has a lot of confidence. I witnessed first hand how speaking negativity is still effecting my 30 yr old sister.

  4. @Serenity...Good gracious alive, chile. What's up with the long comment?

    You said...

    But I'm wondering if it would be prudent for you to have that conversation with your mother.Uh no... not if I like breathing. Not a good idea.

    And she doesn't have that power over me. I just don't deal with drama much anymore. And my tolerance levels get lower the older I get. That could be a good, or a bad thing...

    Yeah, we will discuss over email...

  5. Many, many thoughts. You S30's post from yesterday have me thinking.

    What I do know is that words do indeed have power. And there are some things that can remain with a person, even when planted in shallow ground. Hmm.

  6. This post makes me think. Probably too much, but reading it shows how far you have come and ain't nothing wrong with being who you are. Now back to lurking...

  7. One day people will get that, more than just looks pass through that little thing called, DNA. Everything..personality, likes, dislikes, habits (my daughter saves her food just like I did as a child), just everything. You want to know who you really are, look at your family..aunts, uncles, cousins...genetics are awesome. You are quiet like your father's side of the family. Nothing abnormal about being a part of a family tree.

  8. You're on your way to a better clearer day for sure.

    I commend you for getting out of your comfort zone and keeping in touch with your father. It's important!

    No doubt, it's a journey learning to undo what's been wronged in our lives, but the renewing of our minds is key. I need to start exercising that immediately when negativity creeps in like a dang thief.


Slap the *crickets* out the way, kindly step up to the mike, and SAY something!!