Strangers In My Family
I always thought family was supposed to love you, protect you, and be real with you. But for me, that was just a pipe dream. In Jamaica, I saw what real love was about. The type of love you can feel. It wasn’t until I came to the states I discovered my family was a strange bunch of people.
My mother cheated on my father and the child was believed to be his. But is wasn’t. Kind of like the Maury Show. You are not the father! And because of this my father used to get into fights with my mother. He used to go to war on her. And she in turn used to abuse us in the worst way. When she was upset, she used to wake us up with a cold pail of water! Yes, thrown on us while we were asleep! She would beat us with belts, electric cords or whatever she could grab when she was in her mood. It didn’t take much to set her off. We got punches in the lip and nose, blood spewing everywhere. Then she would apologize, clean us up and do it again. My mother was quite a character. She never went pass the fifth grade and my father was a blessing to her.
My father told us, when he met our mother she didn’t have on any shoes. He bought her her first pair. And all it took was an ice cream cone. My mom was nice looking, so I could see why he gave her a shot. My father was a nurse in Jamaica. He went to college and got his decree and he dabbled in electronics. Plus, he used to hustle on the side. He worked at MA BEll Telephone Company as an Electrician and he had a side business installing telephone lines, running wires in houses, etc. He made very good money.
My father was the light of my life, My Salvation
My father taught me things that empowered me, even now, everything he instilled in me I used to keep myself sane, whole and ALIVE. He was a Sagittarius, very Spiritual and he believed in Metaphysics, the after life, Knowing and Loving Self, FIRST. He smoked, drank, played guitar, even listened to soft Rock and Country Music. I know who Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstandt, Olivia Newton-John, is. But I knew every Soul Singer on the planet, too. Al Green, Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Michael, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley; music that made your soul sour. Now, it just poison’s it. But I listen to new music too, not the dribble though.
My father had a lot of friends. He was good looking, charming and could have had any woman he wanted. Because of his intelligence, he was able to learn and speak Spanish Fluently. Something my mother tries and fake, even now. I just look at her and laugh. You wish. My father had all types of people coming by our house. They would come to talk, eat and drink and have a good time. And because of that, we used to get a lot of stuff from his friends and other family members. Boxes of patties and sodas, Kentucky Fried Chicken, all types of foods we loved eating. We used to go and visit other family members, too. Man, I miss those days.
The entity called MOM
First memory of my mother was her stepping on my sisters neck, almost killing her. This was before we went to live with our Grandparents in Jamaica. When she started abusing us in the states, that memory surfaced. She had this thin iron rod she would use to beat us. It was the exact size of a 12 inch ruler, light and thin. I think it was made out of solder. That surfaced, as well. This woman was so stressed out because of my father but you must understand, my father was stressed, too. I couldn’t understand why he stayed with her only to beat her ass on a regular basis. But that’s how it went because he felt she deserved it. He called her all types of names. One day, he sat us down and told us the story. It was sad to hear. We saw the tears in his eyes and heard the betrayal in his voice. He was wounded by it. But I guess he thought he could go on loving her. But how can you love or respect someone who hurt you in that way?
Infidelity is a horrible thing. After you’re betrayed, it’s hard to continue on the same path. Something or everything changes. And not for the better. My father being a proud Jamaican man, was devastated with what my mother had done. He lost all respect for her. But because of his kids, he thought he would be able to live with it and in time - it would get better. But that didn’t happen. In fact, it got WORST.
Imagine meeting someone that’s not even in your league or on your level, you take a chance on them, tell them you’re going to take them to America, provide for them and the moment you leave, they cheat on you. AND GET PREGNANT! The after effects of my mother’s infidelity, left her in a weak position. She didn’t have any education or degree, how she got a job at B. Altman’s & Co. is beyond me. But she learned from the old Jewish women how to communicate and charm people. She didn’t make a lot of money and my father paid all the major bills. She bought the groceries. Everything else, he provided. And she was always asking him for more, more, more.
My Aunt Carmen bought me a beautiful watch with diamonds around the dial with a white patent leather band. The watch was so nice, when I took it out the box my mom grabbed it. I took it from her, put it back in the box and told her I would wear it to school or church. Monday came and my mother grabbed my watch and asked me if she could wear it. She wore my watch the whole week. The weekend came and I asked her for my watch. She took my watch off her hand and said, “If I can’t wear the watch you’re not going to wear it, either!” She threw it on the floor and stomped on it, breaking it into little pieces! I cried so hard my eyes felt like sand was in them. I was looking at my mother and how she treated us and her violent attitude and realized, I didn’t like my mother very much.
In fact, deep inside I didn’t have any respect for my mother. She was mean and very bitter. She used to call us whores and other names, and we were virgins! I started to think that was what her parents used to call her. And I heard my father calling her that on a regular basis. My mother couldn’t talk shit around my father. Even when my sister told her my father might be an alcoholic and she could get help; she punched my sister in the face, swelling up her jaw. My sister used to get the most brutal beatings. One day, my mother was beating her and I started using gestures, telling her to fight back. My sister said, “I can’t hit her back Jay.” My mother got more violent and said, “Hit me!” You must want me to kill your ass in here! And went off on my sister. I was in shock. My sister almost died that night. For real. I knew my sister could fight. But she didn’t want to hit my mother. But I wanted her to. I really did. I was so tired of her and her abuse.
Whenever I heard the song “I Always Love My Mamma” I used to get physically sick. I didn’t like feel any type of love towards my mother. I felt sorry for her. In fact, we used to wish she was dead because she was always abusing us or cursing us out. When she started having migraines, that stopped her from constantly abusing us. Thank God for migraine headaches! My father never had a headache in his life and couldn’t understand why she got headaches so frequently. He would tie scarves around her head - tightly. Then he would say, “There’s nothing in your head to hurt you.” He couldn’t understand why people got headaches. He never internalized anything. He didn’t sit down and worry constantly about things. He lived in the Here-And-Now and believed you can change any situation, if you truly desired to. I wondered why he didn’t leave her, if he really believed that. But I knew why. His kids were important to him. My mom used to sit and worry about things because she felt, trapped. But she trapped herself.
Secretly, I loved my father more than my mother
He didn’t abuse us. He only cursed at us when he was disappointed in us. He never raised a hand to us. Oh, I’m lying. There was a Spanish chick named Janet and she came by the house with her father, Shorty. My father took a liking to her and started having an affair with her. My mother told us Janet was fooling around with my father. One day, I saw The Rican Janet on The Grand Concourse, and I told her to leave my father alone and threw rocks at her. My father found out and was angry with me. He told me to stay in a child’s place, after socking me in the eye. Needless to say, that was the first time my father ever put his hands on me. And it was the last. It did something to me, and him, too. I would have taken a punch to the face once a month, than the every other day abuse my mother dished out on a regular basis. For real.
I loved music. I would write songs and make up dances with my best friend Sheila Parker. My sister was our back up singer. Through all the abuse, we managed to find enjoyment away from the house. And we had a lot of fun together. We loved going to school, interacting with other family members, dad driving down to the city on Saturdays to pick mom up. Life wasn’t all bad. My father worked hard and made sure we had every single thing we needed. Every Christmas, he would give us hundreds of dollars and my mother used to take the money. She used to say, “Tell me what you want and I’ll get it for you.” Afterwards, we wouldn’t get shit. My brother told me the other day, “I knew she wasn’t shit from back in the day, when she used to steal our money.” Oh, really?
We watched life unfold and we began to learn how to navigate through the abuse. We had chores to do and we made sure we did them, meticulously. We ironed the clothes, did most of the house work, and even did the laundry. We were trained to be slaves for my mother. We’d have to remove the gray hairs from her head with tweezers, iron dad’s clothes and do her nasty ass toenails. Yuck! But we did it because it kept the peace and it helped her to not be so stressed out. So, even though we despised her and didn’t like doing it, we did it, anyway.
My Father Told Me
As a teenager, I was the quiet type. I was shy and used to be into myself. I used to watch people, to try and figure out what made them tick. I started learning how to read people. My father told me, “Everything has an origin, make sure you know and research the things you believe in.” He told me how important that was. He told me about Cesar Borgia posing for the picture of Jesus Christ, him being a homosexual, raping his own sister and some other stuff. That left an impression on me. Why would such a sickening individual be used to depict an image that was so important to everyone? Because it’s all fake. A bunch of nonsense used to confuse people. And they’re separating you from yourself and God. This scared me.
He would have me look at stuff and think about them, realistically. He said, “God made us in his image.” And I can’t figure out how man thinks he’s smarter than God. They can’t do anything Godly, like create a man and breathe life into him or create planets, stars, etc. Creating wars and oppressing people isn’t power, it’s insecurity. Why do man think he’s better or smarter than God? Because they’re Crazy, Dad? Yes, they are.
Do you think with all the greatness God has created, that man can outsmart him? No, I know they can’t. Good. So, remember this, nothing fake, no wishing or believing a lie is going to get you to him or fool him. Dang! God is mighty powerful. He sure is.
I knew that I was on a path that was beneficial to my Spirit - My Soul. I didn’t get turned out by the things other people went for. I started to listen to the things my father said. I believed him. Everything he said stuck in my head. For some reason, I knew he was right. He would reveal things to us that made us think. I was the one who gravitated to it.The other family members weren’t captivated by the knowledge my father was telling us. But I was. It was like — something I was waiting for. Something my Soul wanted and needed to hear. I started looking at life, differently. I started to find my place. A place that I knew was secure because it wasn’t built on lies and feel good notions. No, No, No! My father told me about that. So, from early on I had to be real with myself and the things that involved, ME.
I had to do a book report on Martin Luther King Jr. When I read about him being non-violent and he still ended up being murdered, it messed with me. I was unable to look at his face. I hated him for some reason. It wasn’t until I learned about Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and others, that I started liking him.
I started reading everything I could about World History. My father said, “World History is African History.” Everything in use today was created by Africans, Black people. It was switched around, negative things added in, and given back to blacks. He hated organized religion. He hated going to church. He used to tell us stories of going to church only to fuck the women behind the pulpit. He was disgusted with the whole thing. If the women were so righteous — How was he always able to have sex with them in the church? Hey don’t hate me for saying it. My father said this. And isn’t a lot of that going on IN A LOT OF CHURCHES? Young boys being sexually abused by bishops and they don’t get jail time or anything. They’re excused by the head of the church. And young boys are ruined for life. Yea, this is real talk.
He said, “God is inside of you.” Anywhere you are God is there. You can be in a closet, in a hole, under a rock, God is there with YOU. That amazed me. I thought I was a bad ass. I had a pep in my step. I knew I was The Greatest, just like Muhammad Ali. He had some old books and he showed me what he was talking about. Black people are great. But what happened Dad? What happened to us? We went into slavery and were oppressed for Economic reasons. Really? Yes, it benefits the entire white race that’s why Africans were enslaved.
I dove deep into the knowledge and wisdom my father told me. I started observing America; the laws, policies and the history. And I read everything I could get my hands on about white people. I began to look deep inside myself. I wanted and needed to love myself. Pregnancy didn’t stop me in my teenage years. The abuse didn’t stop me from loving and aiming high in my life choices. I started looking at people, I wanted to love people, I wanted to respect people. I’ve learned how to love myself. And I wanted to love people, too. Give them more than the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to put them up on higher levels. I had hope, love, the best wishes and intentions for myself; so I wanted that for other people, too.
But there are people who use material stuff to put themselves up on pedestals. And just because you don’t have it; you’re considered low, lazy and a bum. And we know the worst people are the ones who value material stuff over human life. They sit in their ivory towers and look down on people, doing horrible things to people. Going to war with people who want and need Peace, Love and Understanding.
Thanks for reading excerpts from my book PTSD (Post Traumatic SHIT Disorder). No disrespect to This Disease that affect our Veterans. I Love and Support Veterans. I’M PROUD of THEM. But there was a study that found you suffer from it when you are traumatized; by rape, murder, beatings, and all types of stuff we’re going through, now. Even what we went through as children affected us.
I wrote PTSD to reveal and to HEAL. The lies are killing us. And I’m tired of hiding behind them. I didn’t have a perfect life. But truthfully, I wouldn’t change one thing about my life. It’s mine. I embrace all of it. I love myself, that’s why I search for truth and try to better myself, in spite of all the lies and negativity. Who’s perfect? Life is Brutal. This is brutal. It’s what I have. We all have this type of baggage. Some of us can’t seem to escape it. I’m one of those people. And God knows, I’ve tried. This is the only way, the only thing I could do to stop the madness. Will I find some Peace? Surprisingly, I am at Peace with Myself. If I have to Reveal my Life, so someone else can learn from it or be saved, I have no problem doing that. Can you? Bless.