In a world dominated by an economic system (capitalism) that relegates human beings to commodities - especially women - grasping a day that honors women is critically important. This is certainly true as it relates to mothers who in every culture, are the source of light and glue that holds any semblance of family together in this anti-family society we live in. We of course should honor women this way everyday, not just on the day that capitalism designates us to do it (so we can spend money of course). And, most of us who make every attempt to be conscious of our existence, do try to engage in this honor daily, but since today is the day most people are going to recognize in this light, we wish to bring a spot light to the power and struggles of the day.
I of course remember my own mother. Born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, U.S., her life was a very difficult one and like all of us, those experiences shaped her. Since she would never explain the sources of her anger and difficulties, I had to take time to do my own investigative work and what I found is the realities of her experiences were more horrific than she could have ever communicated. The most sad thing about this is her experiences were by no question unique. They were the typical experiences of African women, everywhere. And, despite her best efforts, those dysfunctions transferred to me as is the systemic case for the vast majority of our people and humanity.
Today, I sit here on this day with my mother - Clothilde Dewhart - no longer present in her physical form. She, along with my father - Richard Dewhart - and my sister and brother, are all deceased. All of them left the Earth well before they should have and I'm convinced this is the direct result of the complex elements of our oppression as a people. The stress, early poverty, institutional racism, all of it. I saw my parents frustration at the system on a daily basis and I internalized it long before I began to experience my own frustrations on a systemic level.
Like all of us, I absorbed all of my dysfunctions and I've spent my entire life fighting against them. The attention I didn't get from my parents I spent much of my life pursuing from relationships. Trying to fill that hole. That didn't work. I sit here today thinking of my mother, loving her, appreciating all that she sacrificed for me (and it was a lot). I hold no negative feelings about anything from my youth. I know my parents both did the best they could with what they each had to work with, which wasn't much. In fact, they did an outstanding job considering the pressures they were under. Still, I sit here today, lonely as hell. Thinking about the dysfunctions that haunt me, the work I've done against them, and how I declare myself ready to move on and improve my abilities to meet someone. I think I'm in a place where I've concluded that its all a process and I'll meet whomever I'm supposed to meet whenever I'm supposed to meet them. In the interim, I know I need to keep doing what I'm trying to do. Fight through my issues and continue to struggle to grow and be a better human being. That's hard because on the surface anyway, it doesn't feel as if too many women are interested in men like me. It feels like my intensity often intimidates women and my values and lifestyle e.g. African liberation, socialism, no smoking, drinking, studying, etc., seems completely unattractive to most people. I don't know, but I tell myself that regardless of those feelings, I know I'm fun to be around. I try hard to be an asset to any situation. Its a dilemma, but I want to believe there are enough who do appreciate what I am. I know I bring a lot to the table so it must be that the timing just isn't right I guess. And, one day everything will come together.
As for the loneliness, I feel like I just need to embrace it. Let it run its course. Its here today because I wish I had my mother (and father) to reach out to. I wish their lives had been better. I wish I could have done more to make their lives better. And, I wish I had learned to take better care of myself earlier. I wish I had known the value of me because I used to give it away so easily. Its a lot. I wish I could go with parents to visit my daughter and that we could sit around and laugh and enjoy each other. I wish I had a partner to go with us, with me. Someone who isn't intimidated. Who sees my attributes as strengths and who appreciates the support I would provide for her. Who my daughter would look up too. A person to be in my life. I don't have that. And, my parents obviously can't take that trip with me. At least not physically. Thus, the loneliness. I hate feeling this way on such a nice day, but I guess I just need to live in it and live through it.
So, I'm going to try my best today, and everyday, to take a positive bend on all of this. The losses I've suffered are without question the result of our oppression as a people so instead of sulking about that, I commit my life to struggling for our liberation. That makes me feel better. And, in doing so, I continue to work on myself and that will hopefully place me in the position for the things I wish to come into my life. Sweat now to avoid bleeding later. That's always been my approach, but no matter what happens to me, one lesson I definitely leave today with. The enemies cannot and will not define my perception of my mother or any African woman, or any woman period for me. The work of our struggle for justice will do that. And, I'll honor my mother and all women for what they did and try to do. So, even though imperialism only promotes today to make money off of it (as evidenced by all the people buying flowers and candy, etc., in the supermarket I just left), I'm going to use it to reaffirm what's right. I'm also going to use it to remind myself that whatever sadness I feel, is there for a reason. I won't deny it. I'll sit with it today. And, I hope for something better while doing everything I can to make that happen. She didn't always know how to say or it and/or she didn't usually communicate it the right way, but I know that's exactly what Ms. Cleo always wanted for me. So, if you still have your mother, instead of focusing on the problems, try to figure out how to work through them. My mother and I did that, but we ran out of time. Don't waste yours if you still have some. And, if your situation is like mine, celebrate the beauty of what you shared and use it to build on yourself. That's what today should mean beyond the brunches and flowers.