Two old pictures of me and my mom side by side. It has been this way since my birth. Choosing to attend a university away from home initiated my first major attempt to escape my mother’s suffocation. Don’t get me wrong. I love and adore my mother and our closeness. We talk daily. Oddly enough, we don’t see each other every day, but we can literally feel each other’s presence. She occupies the downstairs unit of our two-family home. I purchased it in July ’98 and she’s been here since ’99/’00. You do the math! LOL! It has been the two of us…together through EVERYTHING!
I have always admired my mother’s beauty, work ethic, parenting and sacrifice. There’s just ONE THING that I wish she had found: TRUE LOVE! I have listened to her scare tactics about men since first or second grade! LOL! She taught me to marry before having sex. She compared the vagina to a cake (Rihanna owes her royalties…lol) The cake had to remain intact for my husband. “Would you present a birthday cake with slices already eaten?” It kind of makes since, huh? Maybe it does…coming from a southern girl raised Pentecostal. But come on now! That was not going to work for a ghetto Catholic school girl. LOL! Hey! I think I did pretty good. I was a senior in high school when I lost my virginity. But rather than walk down an aisle, I ran off to college instead! WHEW! FREEDOM! After teaching in New Orleans and flying for Continental Airlines, I decided to teach and settle back home in St. Louis. Nothing holds you hostage like a house, so it was a done deal once I turned thirty and purchased a home. Now here we are, two old ladies who talk on the phone several times a day, and live side by side.
What triggered this narrative testimony is my viewing of the movie, Roxanne Roxanne, based off the first female rapper, Roxanne Shante, and written and directed by a St. Louis native, Michael Larnell. The movie’s portrayal of Roxanne Shante’s mother and daughter relationship gut punched me. Aside from the alcoholism, the mother, played by Nia Long, strongly reminded me of my mother. They both share shady views of men, hold very little trust in their intentions, scrutinize any man you pick and shame you out of even thinking about the possibility of REAL LOVE.
Unlike sixteen year old Roxanne Shante, who chose an older man despite her mother’s profane disapproval, I had to wait until 49 years of age before I could totally shut down my mother’s manipulative and male bashing attempts to keep me near. Her approach is less vicious now that I am older, but the intent remains the same. After recently sharing my feelings about this particular brotha possibly being THE ONE, I could hear her under breath sigh of doubt and pessimism. However, this time, I was TOTALLY unfazed. Without getting defensive and emotional, I shared how there are GOOD MEN out here. We are just too often blinded or consumed by the swag, games, pimping, fragility and badness of BOYS to see them. I clearly explained my decision to surrender my sword. It is no longer needed. I have been blessed with the opportunity to get to know one of THE GOOD ONES. Unfortunately for Roxanne Shante, she was too young to peep the abusive predator in her older man. I, on the other hand, have lived looooooong enough to see pass the bullshit. Oh! And about that birthday cake…it’s still good!