…a day in middle school
I was in 8th grade. I went to [what was then called] Charles E. Nichols Middle School…affectionately just, “Nichols”.
8th grade was aight. I didn’t have one fight, but I did have a few mitches I couldn’t stand. I had my “crew”…but, I remember by year’s end…we were barely friends anymore. I don’t remember much good about that year. I mean, I survived it.
…our friend Hilary Spruill, however…did not.
I remember being in the gym. Us girls were in the locker room and my play cousin came and told us (in tears) that our friend Hilary had been shot and died. Come to find out…she was with him. They’d been mugged for their coats and I can’t quite remember if Hilary just gave his up or not, but he lost his life over a leather bomber.
We wept for days…
I remembered that…even though I wasn’t super close with him, he was so cool. I remembered an instance where some guy was harassing me in the hallway and Hilary came up and said, “Yo, leave my cousin alone…” and stuck up for me. He asked if I was okay and I said yes and thanked him. He told me that if anyone bothered me for me to tell him. I never forgot that. He barely knew me other than knowing my face around the way…but, he cared.
He wouldn’t be the last friend we lost to violence. We’d unfortunately lose several more friends through High School. A few by gun violence…a couple to sickness…one or two to accidents. I remember far too many deaths for my teen years.
Anyway, yea…that’s my middle school memory. I’ll try to lighten up my HS memory.
We all go through pain and hurt and frustrations with our lives and the road we’re on. It’s unlikely that most I know or will know will tout a problem-free life. Even the best outcomes are dotted with triumphs and reversals. The first thing us God-fearing people…or In-Search-Of-God people do is ask God…”Why?”…
I know sometimes you feel like God dropped you off in a basket weaved from pain…right in front of Lucifer’s door…but He doesn’t answer prayers like genie wishes. He answers them…almost like a therapist would. He asks you, “What do YOU want?”. Now in asking this, He doesn’t ask to provide it for you and He doesn’t automatically reward you with your desire (for it may not be what it is you need). There are ways for you to get what you [basically] want…and it be what you need as well. He presents you with a way to get what you need by helping Him help you.
For instance: “I want a child…” God may be saying, “MY child…I gave you a child. I gave you a godchild and I gave you some of MY children to mother…”
How you WANT it…may not always be how you get it. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you…it means He needs you to fulfill a will of His, while fulfilling your maternal desires. If you had a child of your own…would you be so available to mother to the ones that needed you?
(The greatest blessings are when your WANTS coincide with His WILL for you)
He can’t help it if you ignore or reject the solutions to your problems. His final will is going to happen regardless…it’s whether you choose to ride in the comfort of faith…or in that basket of pain. We have dominion over ourselves and this land He made for us. We’re it’s protectors and it’s main users of it’s resources. The way you’d cultivate a crop is the way God wants you to cultivate your life.
We have NO dominion over each other…even though we are our brother’s keepers. We’re meant to be a solid brother/sisterhood…watching over each other and loving one another as He loves us. Whether or not we do that is somewhere between holding onto pain…and a heightened sense of self-preservation. We aren’t meant to lend ourselves to abuse, but we are meant to learn forgiveness and continue to love our naysayers from a distance. It’s better for you and they indeed eventually feel the power of your love’s void. (I know…but, sometimes you don’t always get to SEE it.) You can’t control how people see you nor can you control what they do or don’t do with, for or because of you. A lot of our burdens would lighten tremendously if we learned to let go of the uncontrollable factors in our lives.
God is showing us daily what we need to do. He witnesses to us through friends, family and yes…even strangers. I can’t tell you how I’ve had a stranger randomly minister to me with a word and be on POINT! We’re just some hard-headed, knuckle-headed chillren. lol
The hardest thing to do with a child (of yours) is to parent while dealing with a defeatist or pessimistic attitude. You know it’s for the best, but they don’t want to hear it. You know your kid needs braces and that for a year or more they will have to walk around with these “railroad tracks” on their mouth. The fear of peers teasing and out casting…doubled with the growing vanity of a preteen/adolescent keeps them from walking into it with a positive attitude. “For the rest of my life, I’ll have GREAT teeth and a sweet smile“. No…they see the taunting, the hardships of eating with their new apparatus and having to sleep with a retainer in their mouth every night. How frustrating is it to be doing your parental best and have them resent you for as long as it takes to get over the stigma?
That is how some of us adults are. We struggle against what is best for us…because we want it to be easy. We want to coast. We want to breathe without struggle…but, you’d best believe that the current pains are not thrust onto us from the ether. We’ve EARNED these trials with a debris of wrong choices. PLEASE don’t get all, “So, I’m a bad person and it’s all my fault” on me. That’s a pity party I don’t wanna go to. I’ve thrown a few in my time and I try to make those rarities. I take accountability for my life. The decisions I’ve made and those I didn’t make, but were made for me by my indecisiveness.
I also try and understand that if there are people around me whose lives are smoother, easier, less drama-filled, etc…it’s because they’ve taken a more responsible route on their life path. I can’t get mad because so and so has more than me, a man, children, etc. I neglected a LOT of things while participating in an unhealthy relationship. My 20’s were misused with someone who by all means had LIVED. He had me by 22yrs and I was so swept up in the phenomenon of someone loving ME for the first time that I didn’t consider loving myself enough to see my way out of it. So…any fertility issues I may have had, got slept on. The baby I envisioned may not ever happen for me…and I can’t blame anyone else. I’m not KICKING myself relentlessly about it either. I long for that baby, but I also have faith that the life I’ve lived up until now is where I was supposed to be. As a matter of fact…I look at that one relationship and the one before it and the few after it and know that neither situation was ideal for children. I was blessed with the opportunity to not get saddled down with children whose father[s] may have been absentee or dysfunctional. If that is my lone blessing (which I’m sure there are many more “blessons” [blessed lessons] in those missteps) then so be it.
Basically, our lives are navigated by us…commissioned by God. He’s the manufacturer and how each product functions is solely up to the environmental strains they’re put through. A pair of shoes worn by a walker are bound to get worn down. A pair worn occasionally and only when driving…are bound to last longer. Yet, which pair tell a fuller story? The mint condition pair that have barely been worn? Or the pair that have walked miles…worked in diligence…danced circles…and tapped in happiness? Point? Just because you’ve got wear and tear doesn’t mean you’ve lived hard…and just because you seem unscathed doesn’t mean you’ve lived easily.
We can never know someone else’s path. Where they’ve been, what they’ve gone through, who they’ve loved and lost, what they’ve sacrificed to get where they are. What you CAN know, is something that I heard Liz say in her movie memoir “Eat Pray Love”…”God dwells in me…as me”. Before you go forsaking God and asking what He hasn’t done for you…ask yourself, what haven’t you done for you.
God bless…Happy Easter!
**I wrote this over a week ago and decided to post it on this day. His resurrection can be YOUR resurrection into new thinking and new life. Be blessed my loves…
I sang this song in church as a teenager…it is my favorite Gospel song of all time. VERY close to my heart. Enjoy…
You all know or knew Billy…the bully. Remember that kid. He was bigger than everyone in his class and his shirt didn’t cover his stomach anymore than his pants covered his ass? His parents couldn’t afford the fly shit, so dude walked around beating the crap out of kids who were dressed better? His ass would come through and smack the shit out of you just because you had a name. “What’s your name?” You’d shudder and reply, “Lenny…”. :::SMACK::: “That’s a STUPID name!”.
Yea…you remember him. All jokes aside, Billy was troubled then, and if he didn’t get the snot whooped out of him or someone didn’t blast his crazy ass…he’s somewhere looking like the adult version of his grade school persona. Still knocking over people in the attempt to exact some control in his life. If some woman felt sorry enough, she married him or had a few of his spawn and he’s smacking them around for just being.
I am STILL not joking…
This is what happens to a lot of bullies. Misery becomes his best friend like Linus’ blanket. He drags it everywhere he goes. Chances are…Billy Jr., Billimina and Billisha…are bullies, too. Dad has made life hell at home, so they’ve grown accustomed to exacting control on the school yard…OR the Internet.
When I did an online talk show a couple of years ago…the producer had a PSA from the Ad Council. Some little chick “ding-dongs” on her friend’s bell, waltzes in as she greets the mother…and as SOON as she rolls up on her “friend”, she goes IN. She goes from telling her that her dress makes her look like a clown, to her breath smelling like garbage, to her disclosing the fact that the REASON they know it smells like garbage is because the boy she kissed says so. I mean REALLY? I would’ve beat her ass on MY living room floor. As soon as the first words exited her mouth, Megan or Judy or whatever her name was would’ve been swallowing those words whole. The motto? “Cyber-bullying…if you wouldn’t do it in real life…don’t do it online.”. I would always follow it up with, “Why do it at all?”.
Secret: “I” was “Billy”…
I remember being a mean child. I was feeling some kinda way about mom, or the new baby, or dad, or whatever…and I’d go to school and slug upon some unsuspecting children. My mother even walked up on me in the middle of me doing a “Sluggo” on some poor girl. I got spanked…I think. Either way, some years down the road…I traded in my bully fits for a new outfit. I donned a cape and a “U” on my chest. “Underdog Girl”. I wouldn’t bother anyone and I wouldn’t fight if approached…well, if they hit me it was on…but, I let people talk themselves blue, while inwardly DARING them to hit me. YET, if someone picked on a friend of mine…I was ON it! To this day, I don’t take kindly to someone just going in on someone who not only didn’t ask for it…but isn’t willing to speak up. I got a lot of respect for being that one to do that FOR them. I didn’t NEED the respect….but, yea…I made sure no one took me for light and that no one beat up on weaker folks when I was around. To this day, I’m fiercely protective of anyone who I love…and some who I don’t even know.
I wonder what happened though…
I wonder what happened to the little girl I beat up in kindergarten for nothing…
The child in the bathroom stall who I believe I was jealous of because she had on the prettiest outfit, the perfectly braided ponytails and cute glasses (which I believe I broke) ~sigh~…
The little girl who got cornered in the PJ’s hallway by myself and a friend…
God forgive me…I’m probably suffering behind that mess right NOW. *lmao*
Seriously…this blog came about because my sister Almond Joy aka Butterfly Effect posted about a young man named Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide. This young man jumped off the George Washington Bridge, because his roommate shared his homosexual escapades on Twitter via live cam links. WHY would that guy do that? Why would he expose that young man’s lifestyle like that? Why do people feel the need to “tower above” people with such disrespectful and hurtful things? All I know is that a young man is dead because of it. He didn’t feel he could tell a soul of his shame…so he decided his life had no value. NOW, the young man who revealed his secret has to live with this in HIS life. What a sentence.
Parents and adults need to…HAVE to do better. No, I’m not a parent, but damn it, I was a child once…and I know what happens when it’s not nipped in the bud. My mother nipped it in the bud. Children are our little reflectors. Children emulate what is shown to them. They have a distinct idea of us…and they personify it in the scariest ways. You’d be surprised how your little one views you. If we perpetuate rudeness, violence, dysfunction and hate…our children will mirror that. If we don’t cut it out in the early years, by the time grade school is out…they’re who they’re going to be until something traumatic evokes change in them. By then, they’re solely responsible for their own souls and actions. There’s got to be a resolution. The village is divided and in disarray. The home is not a haven anymore. The schools are glorified meeting places. It is imperative that the the village get rebuilt…and that the home be a safe place to be. Otherwise, our children will become bullies…or victims of bullies.
I am sorry to those children I hurt. I pray that their lives weren’t affected too adversely by any actions of mine. I accept my karma…I pray that I’ve protected enough people to bring balance. That is a sincere apology…and they probably will never see it.
My prayers go out to the Clementi family…and to all the families who have experienced similar losses.