It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

Growing up without a mother.

To grow up in the wonder of where she was while staring into the oceans that make up her eyes in the reflection of yourself. You sing her song with the voice she gave you, Stevie Nicks had never sounded better. You brush her hair and count every freckle on the porcelain portrait you keep in the left-side drawer of your vanity. You are the tangible, carbon copy of what is left — and you wish on her shattered stars, so you avoid reaching her destiny — but she is everywhere, so you step carefully upon the shards that line your ever wrenching past, present, and future.

The lasting effects of uncanny comparisons to a woman you know little about, compromise and define who you should be. So you go along with it, in the hope of meeting the gratification of the comparison bearer. However, that hope is as unattainable as the American Dream — you reach out further, but the green light will never rest within the palms of your hands. You continue on your unwavering desire to obtain what is impossible, because of what she did — did to you.

My voice provides solace and comfort but also haunts me with its treacherous teasings — wouldn’t you love to love her. Yes, I would, but I simply cannot. It is like saying you love someone to validate their ego — it provides you with utter emptiness as you know her vanity will never run to return the favor. They will gladly take what is yours.

At school, you envy the little girls with lipstick kisses and feel your muscles tighten at the sight of the habitual “I promise to see you at three” hug. It is not that you find it grotesque — but that it causes a recollection of the unfulfilled dreams you carry with you along your journey. You trip, stepping on a shard of the condition she left you — shattered.

Maturity was a given, and there was no time for writing on the walls you dispose upon yourself to silence the child inside of you, the vocabulary she taught me; “Shhhh…”She was the darkness, and there were no stars in your sky, but your untouched wisdom sparkled as it came upon your horizons filling your heart with ancient vulnerability and intention to avoid wishing on the fallacious incandescent luminary you stumbled upon. She was taken by the wind, leaving you to fill the maternal material on your lonesome.

You feel lost upon the wind, having been blown back into the sands of time, finding yourself in every piece of melancholy art that places itself into your life. The world’s most famous platinum blonde left me in awe over the revelation of her resembling childhood. I had been searching for understanding in all of the wrong places — but, wanting to be someone else is the waste of the person you are. It took following the wrong constellation of shattered stars to figure out that I was not singing her song or looking into her eyes — I was myself all along.

The reflection without the aid of a mirror was eighteen years too late but came as a vital urgency. After abandoning her thoughts and dreams, I stumbled upon the heart who lead me to acknowledge that sometimes things fall apart, so better things can fall together.

I found love and understanding in an instance of serendipity. An accidental discovery soon became my person and my home. People had always asked me why I did the things that I did, but there was no use explaining it to people who had their person, they never had to wish upon the shattered stars of their creator. Serendipity introduced me to a new constellation — I poured my heart into her hands, and she loved me for who I am — not the woman living in the porcelain portrait.

Lost in the ambiguity of my story, you, the outsider looking in, are in relentless wonder of who lives in a drawer on the left side of my vanity. I have counted every freckle, every porcelain cell that covers the body of the woman in the portrait, and they are identical to who I face every morning in the mirror — she is my mother — but not my mama. I am the girl who grew up without a mother and the young woman who in an instance of serendipity, found a soul I could call my own.

I have always admired the saying “it takes a village,” because the village became my home. The people who cared most for me were the ones who never knew my mother. My stars aligned, and my dreams unwind, leading me to my journey. To those who have raised me to believe in myself, I send you the most gratitude, because, without you, I would still be wishing on the shattered constellation of the woman who was my destined fate. Serendipity, you saved me.