Fear

March 2014

Munch has been in kindergarten for 7 months now. I’m not sure how I feel about his teacher though. There seems to be a disconnect between her as the educator and me as the parent. I don’t know if it’s the culture or what. It’s causing me to wonder if I made the right decision about putting him in this French Immersion program.

Just the other day, Munch expressed that he got in trouble at school for cheating. He’s five years old. He doesn’t know what cheating is. I reached out to his teacher via email and asked her how it happened and what she told him because he didn’t know what cheating was, but that we had explained how he shouldn’t look off someone else’s paper. She called me and discussed what happened.

I was afraid that I needed to be on the same page or hell at least the same chapter with her, so I asked could we meet. She sent me an email back stating yes, but that she didn’t think that I liked her. I scheduled that meeting and responded that I didn’t think she knew me well enough to make that claim.

Truthfully, I didn’t feel one way or another about her. I knew that Munch loved her so that was all that matters.

I showed up at school and sat down to talk. She started “Tell me what you want me to know?” I smiled and started. I explained that I loved Munch so very much and that he was an only child, but his father and I value education. I told her that I view it as a three-legged stool with one leg being the parents, the other the child and the third the teachers, principal and educators.

I discussed the fact that I felt strongly that if one of those legs were loose then it was my job to tighten it up. I told her that even though Munch’s dad and I are divorcing, Munch was born to two college educated parents whereby both of his grandmothers had doctorates. I told her that I believed that his success required us to be active parents in his education.

I told her that I conducted extensive research on the fact that black boys needed white teachers that cared. I told her that my fear was that he was a black boy and statistically speaking that white teachers and administrators tried to diagnose them as having ADD or ADHD and I wasn’t having that. I explained that he has the best doctors and parents and if something is wrong, my belief is that I would know first and furthermore get him the treatment he would need to be successful. That is my job as his mother. His protector and his advocate.

She reassured me that Munch would be fine. There would be no reason to fear that he wouldn’t. He was not going to be a statistic. She told me how she could tell he was a great child who had the purest soul. She said that he hadn’t seen what some of the other five year old children that she teaches had seen. He was special. He wasn’t like them and that I don’t need to worry about them.

Like them? I sat there in awe at her words. She was categorizing the black children. Those that have strong educated families and those that don’t. The fact that I was going to fight for him meant that I didn’t need to worry. I did worry. I was afraid. Why? I feared the stigma that comes upon the shoulders of our black children who have less than I wondered should I fear that she couldn’t see that?

 

F

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “F” is for Fear. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Fear

He asked me “What are you afraid of?”

I didn’t know how to respond. It was such an open-ended question. My mind went blank. It was like a blank canvas that he had just thrown paint on.

What was I afraid of?

There were many fears. Countless fears. Fears of snakes. Fears of walking down a dark street corner. Fears of losing my son. Fears of dreams never manifesting into anything.

I didn’t know what I was afraid of. I couldn’t answer. I couldn’t answer his question. I sighed and tried to move on, but the question was rumbling in my spirit, moving in my mind and inching through my whole being. The question wanted to be answered. Needed to be answered.

So, I thought about it… what was I afraid of?

I was afraid of broken dreams. I was afraid of broken promises. I was afraid of giving my heart to someone who would continually disappoint me and try to convince me that all this disappointment is in my head. I was afraid of being with someone who would not see my bright future. Who would not see the star shining above my head demanding to be seen.

I was afraid of someone not supporting my ambition and thus not supporting me. I was afraid of sleepless nights, STDs and worrying about whether you would come home. I was afraid of someone hitting me, beating me and making me feel like I didn’t matter.  As I lay crying over you with a busted lip.

I was afraid of giving my all to someone who sat there and did not know what they wanted. I was afraid of a man playing me like Monopoly trying to decide my worth based on what I had.  I was afraid of someone trying to hustle me for sex by trying to make me believe that he gave a damn about who I was.

I was afraid of someone looking inside my soul and seeing all of my brokenness. Seeing all the bruises of lovers past. I was afraid of missed opportunities. I was afraid of passionate kisses. Kisses. I was afraid of your sweet and gentle kisses. I was afraid of hugs that left me comforted.

I was afraid of dinners where we discussed our dreams like a movie. You know where we plotted and planned our futures only to be told I’m not ready.

I was afraid of quality time being no time and me being fed lines and me not knowing that it was just a game. That I was being played. I was afraid.

That all the incredible moments, sweet kisses, handholding and hugs of comfort that supported me were all an illusion.

I have a list of fears.

I guess the main fear is finding out that you’re not who you say you are. That this beautiful and mind blowing bliss I’m experiencing deep in my heart and soul isn’t real. That I am nothing more than a pawn in your game of chess.

Fear.

Now you know what I’m afraid of.

The Light

I can smell him before I see him. He enters my room looking for me. First, under the bed and then in the closet where I’m hiding. I can hear him coming towards the closet door. I close my eyes and wait. I don’t want to do it again. I don’t like it. I know that if he finds me he will make me do it again. Tony. I hate Tony.

Tony or as he tells me to call him “Uncle Tony” is mama’s new boyfriend. He is big, dark and strong. He stinks. He smokes and drinks dark colored things out of a red cup. Tony comes to the closet door where I am hiding and grabs my hand. He pulls me to the bed and makes me lie down. “Lift your gown up girl” he says loudly in my ear.  Tears roll slowly down my face. I lift up my gown and he smiles. Uncle Tony has crooked teeth. I hate Uncle Tony.

“Yeah, I like that. You’re so pretty Cassie. You look like a princess.” I hate princesses. Princesses are evil. Princesses get bad things done to them. But, I hate a lot of things. I hate princesses, dolls, the boogey man and police officers. I pretty much hate everything, but Jacob.

Jacob is my only friend. No one knows about Jacob.  Jacob says I have a light and I must let it shine. Jacob tells me that he sees me and God is going to help me. Jacob goes to church. I don’t. Jacob taught me a song about my light.

Mama tells me I don’t have friends. She says that Jacob is not real. She says no one likes me and I can’t have friends because I’m not allowed to go to school or play outside.  But, I know Jacob is real. He teaches me things.

Uncle Tony starts to touch me. Slowly. I cringe with disgust and turn my head. I wish that he would hurry up and leave me alone.

I start to sing. I sing slowly and in a low whisper. The only song I know. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” The smack is hard on my face, “Shut up gal! I can’t concentrate!”

My face hurts and tears begin to fall down my cheeks. I can’t see. I can’t see through the tears. The door opens and I hear a loud bang. I jump. I scream and cover my ears.

I see Uncle Tony hit the floor. I close my eyes hard to the sight of the red ring forming on my floor. Uncle Tony’s eyes are open. I cry harder.

Jacob comes to my bed and shakes me. “Cassie, it’s me! It’s me, Jacob. You’re okay Cassie. I got him.”

I open my eyes and Jacob is smiling. Jacob reminds me about my light. I smile and start to sing. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Loudly.

I look down and see my mama’s gun in my hands and continue singing at the top of my voice “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

 

© Tikeetha Thomas

Truth: Success is Possible

“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”

― Abraham Lincoln

I love this quote. I think it sort of captures how I feel. I am afraid of success. Not failure. I think the possibility of disappointing those that love and believe in me sort of keeps me from stretching beyond my comfort zone. I’ve heard for years, how I’m good at this or good at that, but what if my friends are just being overly generous because of their love for me? Would I be a disappointment if I actually was a success? Think about all the one hit wonders and how they thought they would become a multi-million dollar franchise only to flop on their next album.

It’s pressure to be on top and more pressure to stay on top. So, what do you do? If you’re me, you stall, drag your feet and believe that maybe you shouldn’t do what your heart, voice and spirit are telling you to do. You delay yourself in the “what if” stage. Who’s guilty of that? Me! I am so guilty of thinking what if. What if I’m really not as good as my friends think? What if no one likes my stuff? What if I can’t pull off that big presentation? What if I stumble over my words and fumble the entire speech? What if…

What if’s hold you back from understanding your true potential because instead of pushing forward to your destiny and utilizing the best you, YOU get caught up in a trap of your own disbelief. You question whether or not what is happening is real or should it be real. You question whether or not you can actually change your environment or get out of your own way because so many people have tried and failed to do so. You actually hold up and hold hostage your gift out of fear.

Sound familiar? It’s my story. I’m not alone though. Hollywood has made many movies where people actually do the same thing and then have a moment of clarity and want to change. Think “Baby Boy – 2001”. Wasn’t Jody a grown man who was in essence a baby boy? Fear of growing up had stalled his ability to be a man and take care of his responsibilities. How about my all time favorite movie “Purple Rain – 1984”? Wasn’t the Kid’s whole issue was fear of failing because his dad never got his “big break” and his family life was jacked up? Let’s not forget the movie, “Cocktail – 1988” which is where I fell in love with Tom Cruise. The main character, Brian, had high aspirations, but gets sidetracked in foolery and then hesitates to believe that he can actually accomplish his goals. The main underlying theme in all these films is simple: Fear.

Fear of success, failure, standing out, etc. They feared something. We all do. We fear being happy so we sabotage our relationships. We fear abandonment, so we don’t form close bonds with anyone out of fear that they will leave. We fear love, so we block ourselves off from people and become guarded so no one can break down that wall. We fear success because standing out in a crowd and having people shower accolades on you is scary.

My fear is your fear. It’s hard because I have faith and faith and fear can’t coexist right? You have to choose. So, I’m choosing my faith. I’m remembering like it says in Hebrews 11:6 (NRSV) “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” I believe. Faith of a mustard seed right? I need to remember that. From this day forward I am taking my life back and claiming this…I will not fear my own strength or success because I have faith. Faith that God will have my back.

Still not convinced how God can do it? Well, how about this powerful quote from Marianne Williamson.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Be blessed and remember this my loves…

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Yep, I’m Scared

I get scared sometimes. I think back to all the times I’ve hid my true self, my feelings or my insecurities in an effort to put on a brave face for everyone else and how that has somehow held me back all these years. I get scared. I am sometimes too afraid to tell someone how I feel about something because I don’t want to seem argumentative. But, if it’s how I feel, does it matter?

I’ve been exploring and self-evaluating my life a lot lately and I realized that I’m a scaredy cat. I get afraid to reveal the real me and let folks in. My friend gave me a great piece of advice last week when he said, “You can’t go through life being afraid to let folks in and keeping pieces of the real you hidden. Life is about taking the plunge and just wading through the water and see where it goes.” (It was probably less poetic because he is a man, but you get the gist right?). I do hide the real me and don’t like to let people in. I’m guarded. I’m closed off when in unfamiliar territories. Especially those that deal with the heart.

So, I wait. I try to analyze, micro-analyze every problem and situation so that I can’t see the forest for the big tree in my vision. I am a runner. I justify my running away as a part of life. It’s me. If things get to complicated or too emotional, I’m out. I don’t want to get hurt. So, I shield myself, my heart, my mind from folks who just want to get to know the real me. But, the real me is too sensitive for this world. She’s not someone use to sharing pieces of her soul.

Until now. I have bared more of my soul in the last year than I ever have. I’ve let my guard down (that 100 foot barbed wire wall around my heart) and started letting people see the real me. Nothing fancy. Just a glimpse of who I am. I had to. God said it’s time. It’s time to let the wall down and share. But, I keep dragging my feet. Slowly because I’m afraid. I don’t  want my heart to get broken. I don’t want to be uncomfortable.

But, you have to be uncomfortable to grow. I need to face my fears no matter how scared I am. I remember my pastor preaching about growing in the valley with the myrtle trees and I am reminded that life is just that. Growing in uncomfortable places and situations.

I’m terrified, but I know that I need to move forward and grow. Just grow.  Whether it’s my branches that spread to support the leaves in my life or my roots that grow deep in the ground, I need to grow. Growth is good. I’m not saying that it won’t be hard and I will continue to guard my heart, but I can’t move forward if I’m too afraid to jump.  I may get hurt, but I will learn. I will grow. I will survive.

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