Saturday, January 9, 2010
Its my party and I'll cry if...
This photo, my last birthday party at my grandmothers house. My grandmother, a seamstress, made everyones dress up clothes, not just in our house but in our entire neighborhood. She could copy the dresses in ebony and jet magazines... It was just a known fact that whatever Van Jones she touched it was going to be golden.
I was born on the Southside of Chicago at Little Company of Mary Hospital. We lived at 115th and Justine in Maple Park.
This birthday was my last at my grandmothers house before my moms left and we went to Pine Bluff Arkansas.
My Birthday Party on June 25 I977 @ 11537 JUSTINE was special. Our house was notorious for parties. Block Parties, Church Parties, After Fashion Show Parties, Spade parties, Drinking Parties, any-kind of party, my grandmother hosted it...but on his day it was My party.
Grandma made me my very own floor length white eyelet dress. Properly accessorized with Snoopy b day hat, 2 pigtails. barrettes and pink ribbons. (Peep the side part). The guest list My Aunt R with baby J, My Uncle W, my Great Grandma Crutchfield and my big cousin D. Of course all my neighborhood homies... Binki, Flossy, CoCo, Nikki and Cheeky ...say somethin!I guess you didn't know. This was my O/G crew my O/G tribe. We use to run up and down the block and dare each other to break the rules ...the rules 1) Don't step, walk, or run on anybody's lawn, 2) don't ring anybodies bell more than 3 times, 3) don't yell to or out the window from/to the street and 4) don't leave the block!
So when we got 25 cents for a brown bag of penny candy (our idea of a shopping spree) to the corner "candy store" it was a privilege. The candy store was one block up and a half a block over, in "the old lady who smelled funny" living room, but this moment was like our voyage to another world. This moment was our liberation. Coco was the oldest so she was in charge. We'd all hold hands and make a mad dash across the street, up the block, and around the corner. But best believe on every given day Mr. Medlock (coco's grandfather) was watching us from a distance and would report you to the authorities if you broke any of the rules along the way... . "oh what you gon get...I'mma get some wine candies green (jolly ranchers)..and some Bazookas, ooh an a chico stick, some salt n sours, some now n laters purple, oh and don't forget the blow pop the green one you gon need it when we do cheers later". These are my last my memories of pure joy before my world fell apart. I still enjoy simple pleasures.
In finding some pics recently, I learned that big cousin D (my proverbial big cousin of torment... come on every little cousin has one) come to find out she was repeatedly sexually abused by her father, my Uncle J who was also my mothers abuser. Uncle J was my grandfathers brother, my grandfather, who also was an alcoholic and woman beater. Obviously the Jones' men had some very serious problems with drinking and domestic violence. My grandfather kicked my grandmothers ass! I've heard it was cause she was beautiful, successful, flirty, and adored. A ghetto superstar.This explains why my grandma pioneered and got a divorce, honestly all this trauma has never been addressed in the Jones family. That's why I'm doing this, putting it all out there cause its time, also it's a valid part of my story to tell as well... call it a domino effect hanging from a string theory. Growing up in a house of violence masked with images of perfection, " the Jones' I was a pretty child so my pain was always over looked. As a child guess I start to believe thats what love was. Pain, Abuse, and Violence hiden under a perfect smile.
My Cousin D and I, we use to play "house" she'd play the daddy and I'd play the mommy... that I didn't mind that so much it felt nice, and to this day I still enjoy a nice game of "house". But learning this information about her daily life and what was going on in her home, totally explains why after we played "house" Cousin D would kick my ass. I understand now. She was a child emulating what she saw at home. I completely understand my moms fears and desires to leave. She felt she was making the right choice for her despite the fact that she did uproot me from my stability and ran away. I'm sure most mothers would have done the same thing. So this time she ran to Pine Bluff Arkansas. I was 5 and his name was Joe. This is where my life took a turn, although my mother ran in the name of protecting me from Uncle J, she ran right into the arms of my abuser and called it love. It's what she knew. I think Joe came with all the promises my father never made. When filing in the blanks I've learned and saw pictures proving my mother had the choice. She could've left me with my his family but she chose not to because it wasn't a package deal. Plus taking me away would hurt my fatherand my family just as they hurt her. Thankfully Joe did not sexually abuse me, no he preferred torture, beating, and humiliation. I had never experienced that kind of abuse before except at the hands of my 8 year old cousin. I guess she was preparing me for it. But Joe was not a confused * year old girl. He was a grown man. It was different.
I bring this into the equation with some acceptance, apparently this was all predestine to happen there are no victims right? I am not festering angrer per se cause it is in the past, but I can only observe it in retrospect and learn from it. I haven't reached total balanced place of forgiveness that my mother ignored the fact that I was being severely physically abused right under her nose for the "love" of a man. That's disapointing. But I am acknowledging it, exposing it, and healing from it. I can no longer hold on to this trauma, I can move though it for the love of myself. I get to make a choice now. I know she did the best she could but it's not too late to take responsibly for it. What I have learned from this is to be aware, never overlook a child crying out for help. I listen to them, especially when in pain. Don't brush it off "as a get over it". I feel allowing a child to be to abused for selfish gain is a sin. I was uprooted, stolen, and denied my fathers love cause it was not extended to my mother. I guess she thought a stranger would do it better. Please let this be a call to single mothers out there who play games of self serving manipulation. Get over yourselves its possible your babydaddy is just not that into you... just cause the baby came from you it is not you. His love for the baby is not to be confused with his love for you... especially if your unfit and unstable caught up on the hype. Check yourself. Please stop co-opting the babies needs as your own. Just cause he might be there for his kid... it dosen't mean he has to be there for you. Just the child. Please don't make the child suffer from your immature insanity. A kid deserves to experience and get to know both parents. Now if either parent... mother or father... is a down right dirty dog the child will figure it out..time will reveal the truth. But Mothers I pray that we can set our false pride aside and shower that child with love and acceptance. My blessing is I have utilized this experience to eradicated these causes my mother made by being one of the best parents to my daughter. Showing her a loving relationship with her father without being in love with him. I could have easily repeated a cycle but I'm thankful didn't. She currently resides with her father In Paris.