More times than not, our past defines who we are. We can mask those feelings from the outside world, but you can never out run it. We are who we are. Taking a trip home this weekend, it was a harsh reminder of mine. And for reasons sometimes only known by myself, the definition of ME can get tricky. Take a journey with me, if you will.
I grew up in a project called Oakland Heights. When I was there, I didn't know much about the world outside of it. The "Heights" was everything to me. And if you saw it today and knew me now, you would have never guessed I grew up there. But Oakland Heights gave me foundation. It made me who I am.
However, there's another part of my life that has defined me. It is a burden that I've carried for a majority of my life. At times, I don't like to admit that it has played a strong part in who I have become, but it has. I grew up in a single parent home. Now, this is not unusual in Black Amerikkka unfortunately. But in my case, I knew my father. He wasn't the one who dipped out. My mother left. Things didn't work out with my parents and she decided to leave my father. But at the same time, she left me too. Only recently have I been able to speak on this subject, but there is a reality to this situation that NOW I can speak on with comfort.
My father did the best that he could with a young boy, his first and only child at the time, in a world of chaos and dispair. He taught me how to be a man, which is probably the most important lesson he could have taught me. But there are things that he couldn't do much with. He was a man, so nurturing wasn't truly in his nature. Sure, he gave me valuable lessons on how to treat the ladies, but there were other things that only a mother can teach. Only a mother can give. If you know me, then you'll notice how much love I give to "other" mothers. With that lack of love that I recieved from my mother, in some synical sense it taught me to be appreciative of women who were being mothers. Although Mother's Day doesn't have the same meaning to me, I still respect the mothers of the world. When I hear others speak highly of their mothers, a small part of me wreaks of jealousy. Understand, there is no hatred behind it. But I wish I knew what that felt like. I wish I had a mothers' love...MY mothers' love.
I've outgrown the need for that love, but the need for an explanation is still there. I had given up hope, but was convinced that I should give it one last try. And I did. Counter-productive to say the least. This situation has put me in a place that builds walls to keep anything out that tries to help me. However, there will always be a brick missing. That missing brick will always keep me at the mercy of a truth that I may never know. Because all of the mothers of my crew have taken me as their son, and not just a friend of theirs, I have been able to survive. And that's why I rock with Oceans no matter what. I trust them like no others. Yet, this is the first time that they'll be able to discuss this with me in an open forum because I have subliminally made it off limits. Rarely do I let anyone into my world, because I have so many different layers. But today, I made the conscious decision to not let this drive me anymore. In order for me to move forward in life, I have to face this head on. For the sake of me being a better friend...a better person...a better father. So, if she has taught me anything, it is to make sure that if you're someone that I consider a friend or a loved one, then never let you feel what I've felt. To always do right by my people. And although I am a man, to never let you feel like a Motherless Child...