BEING WITH PEOPLE UNLIKE ME: The Catalyst for the Discovery of my True Self

A Seven Step Inner Transformation, Empowerment, Mindset

I loathe people who practice White Supremacy whether at home or in the work place. There was a deep fear that I would become entangled in its’ deceptiveness. When it reared its’ ugly head, I felt a jolt to my self-worth. Backed up against a wall, I lashed out in defiance. Anger was how I expressed my outrage. After all, I am no longer a child and at the mercy of the other. I’ve learned fighting a lie is no longer worthy of my time. In the worst situation I can withdraw inside myself and discover the untruth. Close at hand is an awareness that people have no power over me; Facing down what is untrue leads to the discovery of what is real for me.

The reason I choose to work in solitude and not in some workplace is because I do not want to work with Americans who embrace White Supremacy. There are several ways it is practiced. It lives in the hearts and minds of men and women who are custodians of the State. One way the idea passes is through education. The history and culture of America is how  children learn their place in the world. The grand ole tale in history books was meant to undermine my heart and mind and make them a foe onto the self. It was morphed into a subject to be used by the Corporation-State.

Once I was hired to be a Teaching Partner with an Art Teacher. I thought this would be great. I am an Artist myself. I live with the idea of freedom and autonomy for myself and others. I thought we would share this outlook for our relationship. A truly teaching partnership. This was farthest from the truth. The Art Teacher told the students, “do what I say; no matter how ridiculous it may seem”. “If I tell you to jump over this chair. Just do it.” I looked at her and said, “oh yeah”. She told me to run a person errand for her. I told her I was not her personal slave. I was there to help assist with the students. Seems like the relationship was going downhill after that. The idea she conveyed to me is… I will tell you what to do. She doesn’t know me. The only authority over me is my higher self.

Once I was an Interviewer for the Public Defender’s Office in Pinellas County, Florida. I interviewed the inmates to ascertain their story for the Public Defender. One inmate told me as the dog was nipping at his ankles, he beat the dog with a stick. The inmate was charged with beating a dog. Just let the dog bite on you. A natural response is to stop the pain.

Another premise of White Supremacy is, no matter what I do, I am absolved. We see this in numerous police killings. The public pays for this individual acting on behalf of the State. No matter the indignities or the pain you are not to protect yourself. The police have the authority to kill you. Police are human and get angry on the job. Their weapon is an extension of their fear and rage. They have a set of ideas about themselves and the other. If you are the other, you become the enemy. If you reject the authority and fight back, you are an adversary of the State and you don’t count. Whatever happens is your fault. Don’t talk back or you will be knocked upside the head with a Billy club.

White Supremacy lies and bends the truth. Now that I am close to my daughter and her children, I can name this behavior. There was an interaction between one of my grandsons. He picked up the idea about himself from his mother. The boys share the game boy in their room. The other boy goes to his mother’s room to watch TV when it is not his turn. So, this morning it was Grays turn. He went in there to get the devise. I heard a scuffle wand went upstairs. This is the battle ground every day. They have not learned the rules of play. On the other hand, this is what they know. Lie and cheat and twist the truth. It is simple. Its Gray turn. The other child to misdirect his frustration. Says to me in an aggressive manner. You think you are the ruler of everything. I walked away. I know this is his behavior. He does not want to take responsibility for his behavior. He would rather blame me. The same thing with my daughter. She continues to blame me for how she feels, even though she is forty-two. I was not a good mother. Are the words she beats me over the head with. I have lived a year with her. The garage door has problems when it lower. It shakes and rattles. Well one day I was just looking at it. Looks like one of the bolts is lose. I tighten it up. A few days later I saw a bolt and washer on the floor. I think the bolts have come loose. Keshia said she was going to call a specialist. I told her my discovery. She quickly dismissed it and said this is what the man who looked at the door told her. It was an outright lie. I don’t understand her reason behind it. I wrestled with trying to help her save money. I threw up my hands up and said let her deal with it. I realize she is overwhelmed with four children. Her boys would cause someone to have a stroke. With all the yelling and beatings. It is not an environment conducive to mental health.

Another important relationship I had was with a man. He was my Prince Charming. At our wedding reception Harold drank champagne from my shoe. I had ended an abusive relationship with my baby’s dad. Feral nerve endings and heart empty, Harold moved in and took control. Important to note is how bad relationships linger on. One Sunday morning while Harold and I crossed the street going to church Frank ran Harold down with his car. Harold was bumped and landed on the concrete. He had to be taken to the hospital. All things considered Harold held on and would not give me up.

So began our stormy love affair. Harold swooped me up into his world. I was welcomed into his family and his friends became mine. Being with him was like a fresh breeze coming from the ocean floor. It washed over me and laid my worries to rest. The boundaries of my life expanded to fill a void when at fourteen family life came undone.

Although the way we met may be true. There was a realization that diving head-first into this relationship did not serve me well. I had been out of  high school for about a year. Undecided as to what I was going to do with my life, I found a less than desirable job in Newburg. After working with Harold for a few days he feigned something was wrong with his car. He asked me to give him a ride. Although I had never done this before. Being of good nature I agreed. Through this opening he found a way into my heart. The relationship needed closer observation. Sad to say, I did not take the time to see what type of person I was bringing into my life. 

Harold lived in a small house that belonged to his sister. He invited me out to a party he was having at his place. However, when I got there the party was over. It was just us two. Surprisingly, to a way-seeking mind all this makes sense. I was lost in the exuberance and pleasure found in a new relationship. To put it differently it could have been any man that showed the least bit of interest in me.

Quickly, we became inseparable. He picked out the place. It was on the third floor of a building across the street from where he worked. I was thrilled to be with him. I didn’t care where we lived. I cooked dinner. Took it to over. He would eat it on lunch his break. As he ate the food a smile crossed my lips.

Besides, cooking his meals and bringing them over to him at work. I did everything for him. Even cashed his paycheck. Harold did not have a worry in the world. While he worked, my time was spent in anticipation of his return. Looking out the bedroom window I could see when he got off. One night I sat by the window, watched him drive out of the lot. This is when I lost sight of him. Most nights I could hear his footsteps come up the stair well. Tonight, I waited. ten, then twenty minutes. It was about two hours later when I saw him drive back into the parking lot.

“What the hell,” I thought to myself. I threw on some sweats, got into my car and drove over to see what was taking him so long. Never would I imagine that I would see him chatting up a co-worker in the front seat. I yelled. Banged on the window. “Tell her to get out of the car,” I screamed. He rolled down the window. Said something. He wanted to talk. I did not. The woman got out of the car. She was of a  different race. Which made the sting of his betrayal much hard to swallow.

Consequently, our honeymoon stage had ended. We had enjoyed two years of bliss before the discomfort set in and the scabs wore off. In fact, Harold told me he went to Seminary School but got kicked out when he got a girl pregnant. Inasmuch as he wanted to be a minister, he showed no remorse when the ministers in the church denied him the right to speak from the pew.

Another jab Harold felt in his heart was when he tried to establish a relationship with his absent dad. Harold feared that he was either going to love his father or hit him. Sad to say Harold punched his dad and they had a big falling out. Harold said his father posted up like he had been a dad. Harold’s father left when he was young and was not a part of his growing up. Similarly, Harold was not a father to his first-born son.

The joy in his life was his two mixed girls from a first marriage. He told me that he married a woman from New England. He met her in the streets. She told him he tried to make a wife out of a whore. Knowing he married a woman before me was hard to swallow. I told him it should have been me. To add to the hatred, I felt of the other woman was the vintage pictures of white women in his suitcase. I nearly flipped. I told him to get rid of them. He could not have it in our hone.

The first time Harold and I met was when I was about twenty. Out of frustration when he would not set a wedding date, I gave him back his ring. This was the same ring he had given to a girl before me. His friend told me the girl gave it back. After I gave him the ring back, I saw it on the pinky finger of his mother’s left hand.

Soon, discontent set in. For example, about once a month Harold disappeared for a few days. I do not know where he went. I think he went back home to his mother. Things did look up when Harold found a better job at Toyota in Georgetown, Kentucky. It kept him out late until 10:00 pm most nights. I started looking for something to do with my time. In fact, he did not know how to take it when I told him I needed a life outside of our home. I began to look at him differently. Maybe it was me who started to change. I stopped perming my hair, let it lock up. His daughter once said to me. “My daddy only likes you because you are light skin and have long hair.”

The first thing he told me was I was not the same girl that he married. Well, who do he think I was? My passion is to grow and improve. I had a man and now I wanted to expand my world. While Harold was away at work, I reestablished connection with my Buddhist group and started going to meetings. It provided an important outlet that I enjoyed. To put it another way, it was an opening inside of me. Nonetheless, he told me to let it go.

Sad to say we were both like fire that burned each other out. One day he packed his bags and left when I went to work. He and his young daughter were complicit in the betrayal. His absence from my life dismantled the completeness that I had felt.

After this loss I was devasted. Sitting at home in an empty house was a feeling all too familiar. Thoughts of abandonment rained down on me. There was no way to get out of the storm. It battered me. All I could do was draw up into a ball and protect my heart. I cried for two months, thinking how this could happen to me. He was the only man I thought I would love. Again, my family had come undone.

Loneliness settled on me like a brickly blanket. Wrapped up in discomfort was what was familiar. It would be a pattern I would repeat for over thirty years. A love- hate relationship with men had begun. Each relationship was just like the other. Ending because it did not feed my Soul. My addiction to unhappiness kept me in a loop. I was unable to break free from the emotional addiction to unhappiness.  After living this way for over thirty-five years, I needed to break free from the relationship with men and look inward for a solution to my discontent.

The most compelling evidence for my plunge into myself was leaving familiar surroundings. Jerry, Keshia’s husband had been trying to get me to come. I packed all my belongings into a U-Haul and towed my car to Florida. Everything was unknown. I ventured out to what was familiar, relationships with men. Again, I was thrown into loveless unions that causes me anguish and disappointment. By in large relationships with men no longer satisfied my hunger. I would have to feed it something else.

Importantly, in my search for something else plunged me deep into the life of my daughter’s family. I was let into their inner circle, so my daughter told. Living on the fringes kept me safe from seeing the darkness in human life. I had run long enough. It was time to face and slay the dragon living in me. Being around my daughter helped me to see my reflection. Before, I could not look see myself. This new found knowing eased the hunger and now I was on a different search. Instead of looking outside myself for love. I found satisfaction in pursing my dreams. Being close to someone has a way of bringing to the surface what needs to be healed.

There was this unease that crept upon me. I lived like an outcast during the thirty days I lived with Jerry and Keshia. One day my daughter came in with an armful of shopping bags. She sat down at Jerry’s feet and began to explain. They made a ton of money and Keshia spent most of it. Jerry worked long hours. When he was home, he worked on the house. They lived in a construction zone. Nails and wood and open walls. All the while the toddlers crawled on the floor. The air in the home was thick. Conversation between them was a whisper. Jerry hovered around Keshia critiquing her cooking methods. I moved from their home as soon as I could. Found an apartment of my own.

After being in Florida for ten years, Keshia and Jerry divorced. All things considered I put all my hopes in their marriage and family. Most things known were coming to an end. Likewise, I made the crucial decision to leave teaching. Education was not working for me. This last effort to be in the classroom as an assistant removed all the outward measures of success. In fact, I had to give up my apartment.

Keshia had a new house built. Her new boyfriend would help us move. This would be a new beginning. I would move in with her. Did I think her man would live with us? I was not prepared for him as a roommate. During the move I lost track of my boxes. Her boyfriend carried in one of my bags with the contents hanging out. A box of my things also disappeared. The box contained a priceless quilt; A few handmade drums that my former students made at school; and a collection of quarters that I spent three collecting. Moreover, they were valued at over five hundred dollars. I did not miss them until I was forced to move from the home with my daughter after being there for thirty days.

This new boyfriend moved in. He was a stranger to us all. Keshia was the only person he had a relationship with. Ariel, Keshia’s daughter, sad to say never moved into the new home. She would not be living under the same roof with this man. I slept next to the living room. The boyfriend camped in there all times of the night. He watched football. I could hear it through the wall. Living by myself for over thirty years, I was not used to the noise and voices coming through the walls. I walked around the house uptight. He came into the kitchen and looked in the refrigerator. I felt the intrusions into my space. A fallout was evident.

When my daughter told me, she would buy me an airline ticket to leave. This was too much. Under exhaustive conditions I packed up all my things into a U-Haul truck. I left that day. Stayed with my cousin in Tampa. Left the next morning. Stopped over in Atlanta for the night. In the wee hours of the morning my cousin and I stole away headed back home.

Being away from home for so long I wanted to be around my elderly dad. He was getting old and could hardly look after himself. I was reluctant to come back home. I never believed how much chaos I would cause once I moved in with my father and brother.

Anthony had been living there for about eighteen years. We had a good relationship as children, but all that was about to change. It was a good living arrangement. I cleaned out the basement and set up my new living abode. The basement had a toilet and a sink. What more did I need? There was space in the basement to set up a kitchen. To shower I went upstairs. Life seemed ok until I wanted to make changes.

My brother had a washing machine. It filled with water and agitated but would not spin out. I tried his way. Rung out my clothes and hung them to dry. This was madness. My father had a monthly income and my brother worked. Surely, we could afford to buy a washer and dryer. This is when the resistance started. Anthony balked at the idea of replacing this useless machine. He wanted no parts of it. He would do his to laundry somewhere else. Well I’m in Florida now and our father died. Anthony has full use of the washer and dryer.

The next thing I did was replace the window in the living room. The lock on the window did not work. I thought this was a safety issue and told my father it needed to be replaced. We also replaced the window in my father’ room. He could open it and get some fresh air. When the man arrived to install the windows. My father, Anthony and I stood on the front porch arguing. Anthony tried to convince our father that we did not need the windows. Needless to say. The gulf between our lives was getting wider.

By now the living arrangement with Anthony was strained. I continued to make improvement to our home. The living room ceiling had a leak. Water came trickling in all over the wood mantle. The wallpaper started to tear away and mildew. We replaced the roof and the persecution started. Over dinner when the family got together. The conversation was always about religion and god. A known disagreement would start.

I am of a different faith. My father was Methodist minister and my brother attends the largest Black Baptist Church in the city. This became a huge divide and many arguments followed. I felt persecuted when I voiced the way I thought. Anthony laughed and belittled my views. I did not let this be known that it bothered me, but secretly it was getting on my nerves. He was so negative. All he talked about was God. I was going to hell because I did not believe. He used a large hammer to bang me over the head trying to force feed me his Christian beliefs.

The worst part was about to come and tear into an already fragile relationship. Father had a stroke. Suddenly Anthony was concerned about him. He had not shown the least bit of concern about father while he was healthy. My father told me he and Anthony barely spoke.  I cooked for my father, cleaned his room, washed his clothes, and transported him to his doctor appointments. I became his live-in care. I even managed to pay his bills.

Well my father has a home and a sizable bank account that suddenly became a war of the roses to see who would have access to it. Anthony must have thought I was going to have access to his money. The fire heated up to a blaze. He thought I stole our father’s money. He called in Adult Protective Services while my father lay in the hospital bed. Finally, my fathers’ assets and his body was given over to the state.

The animosity and atmosphere in the home was unbearable. Anthony called the police on me a few times. I had my father’s check book and driver’s license. Anthony wanted it. Well he wasn’t going to get it without a fight. When my freedom was in jeopardy, I finally decided I did not want to fight with him. I gave him the check book and driver’s license. I was feeling less than safe. I asked a friend to put a door up for me. I would be able to safely lock the door when I slept. Anthony walked in and caused such a commotion. He screamed and cursed saying I did not have the authority to put up a door. The friend wanted no parts of it, so he left.

After the funeral I was no longer was needed in Kentucky. My daughter called me and said let’s give it another try. Once again, I packed my belongings and headed to Florida. This time I left my bed in Kentucky. Somewhere to come back to if things don’t work out. Keshia and I have had a sort of falling away. It has been coming for some time. I’m not working, even though I help around the house. I really came down the second time because of her health. She was extremely sick. In and out of hospitals at least once a month. While she was hospitalized, I was there with the children acting like a mother.

Well she’s gotten better and she’s back at work. This diminishing relationship is slipping further away. I don’t know the way back. The last incident let me know she no longer needed my help. We had an argument about my refusal to do something she requested. I told Keshia I will not be jumping through hoops just because I am living in her home. Out of retaliation she sent a babysitter to be with the children. She didn’t tell me about it. I overheard the boys talking about a sitter coming over on Thursday. I locked myself in the room while the children and the sitter was in the kitchen. She played with them awhile. Soon it was quiet. The boys had gone up stairs. I could hear her in living room playing music on her phone. A few minutes later one of the boys came in and asked about a sandwich. I decided to let them have the house. I went out for a walk.

When I came back the sitter was sitting at the dining room table on her laptop. I went into my room. About time for her to leave I peeked outside my bedroom. It was about 9:00 pm. She was gone. I went upstairs. The boys had the TV blaring. I told them to shut it off. She was supposed to help the boys get to bed. I really do not know what she was needed for.

            Before that Keshia told me, she doesn’t need my help and she doesn’t want to talk to me. This issue of control comes up all the time. I’ve done all I can. She wants me to be an extension of her reach. One day she was on the phone. She texted me, “can you get the boys logged on?” They are at home e-learning. Granted I’ve never logged them on before. They needed to be logged on by 12:40. It was 12:39. I ran upstairs said boys let’s get logged on. The defiance started. They ran into their mothers room yelling. It was inconsolable. I threw my hands up when the commotion was too much. I told her not to run me under the clock. This is just one example. There are many.

The last fiasco happened when I told her something, can’t remember exactly. All she told me was I had to sit with the students during a lesson. Yeah, I know what is was. The boys had an assignment. Grey knew what it was Camden did not. She said to me in a matter of fact. I do expect you to sit with them. I was a bit taken back. She doesn’t sit with them and certainly I wasn’t going to.

            This is the climax of my frustrations after living with four children and my daughter for about a year. There are two seven-year-old boys, a ten and a thirteen-year-old girl. During the last year I gained over thirty pounds. This is the heaviest I have been in my life. I felt so stressed. All I wanted to do was eat. The atmosphere in this home is angry and toxic. I came to realize that one of the boys acts just like his mother. He would leave toys laying around. On the table. On the kitchen counter, on the steps. I realized he was baiting me for a confrontation. The same thing Keshia does.

            I tried to help her organize her life. Give the children chores. Pick up trash and food when they finish eating, clean the sink out, and rinse the food out of your dishes. Keshia leaves food on the counter and in the sink. She brings her items in from work and lays them on the counter.

We are in the middle of a virus outbreak. So, I don’t really understand why she goads me to have an argument with her. She told me no one lives in Nirvana. I told her it is something to reach for. If all she wants to do is argue and fight. I am not the one to walk that road. The path I travel is lined with peace and understanding. I don’t think she is incapable of having a mature relationship with me. There is too much animosity about her growing. She has too much on her plate to look deeply into her personality and make needed change. The last argument I told her I would help her out with the children since this is where she needs help. She told me she does not want my help.

Through these relationships I’ve learned a great deal about myself and other people. I have concluded that I am best if I live alone. It is quiet. After living with her for about a year. I prefer to be by myself. Where there was rage and anger. There is tolerance and acceptance. Where there was doubt, I have come to believe in the power within me to know when it is time to go and not hold on to something that’s not working. I have resolved in my mind that I have done all I can. I’ve tried to amend the rift with my daughter. I’ve begged and pleaded, yelled, and screamed, prayed, and chanted to understand and to have a mature relationship with her.

Currently, it is impossible, and I am ok with it. I have faced down my anger after it was released in utter frustrations. I looked at myself and said never again. My happiness is more important than living with her family walking on egg shells and living with uncertainty wondering when the next storm will blow. The aftermath is too much for me.

During the midst of my most challenging days I have come to understand myself and the relationships I want to have. First, I must make peace with myself. Come to see myself as part of the human family. I have goals to obtain. I walk with the knowledge that I am a part of the larger world. At any time, I can connect with the Intelligence in the world. I rest with the idea that there is a larger force that I am connected to. It is a relationship with the divine.

I always looked outside myself for acceptance and love.  It was never found so I retreated to an inside world. My Inner Life contain all the possibilities that I can imagine. Each time I looked in I found a way to be in the world. First, I must understand myself before I can have a healthy relationship with anyone else.

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