If I had a penny for every time I heard someone say that I would be filthy rich. The statement is true. But what if we changed that statement by adding something to it? What if we tacked on something meaningful at the end of it? Let’s just change the whole damn thing!
Hi. My name is Leah. While I am southern born and not responsible for my ancestors choices, I AM responsible for making a positive change in my community so long as I walk this earth. Doesn’t that sound SO much better?
Just because my ancestors were ignorant doesn’t mean I have to be. I owe a debt of gratitude to my mother for choosing NOT to carry on family traditions. It was not an easy choice for her because of the hell her family gave her. It was however, the only choice she could live with.
My mom had one of the worst childhoods you could imagine. There was one bright spot in an otherwise bleak life. Her name was Bertha. Bertha was the family’s “black” maid. She provided the only arms my mother felt loved in or safe in. I think my mother would have committed suicide before 18 if she hadn’t had Bertha. She loved my mother without strings or expectations. She loved my mother just because. Just because she did. I probably wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for that wonderful woman. My mother might not have been so quick to turn against her family’s beliefs if it weren’t for Bertha’s love. I thank God for putting Bertha in my mom’s life.
I guess my grandmother was too good to do her own cooking and cleaning. Instead, she hired Bertha to do those chores that were beneath her. If you fear and hate a particular race, why in the world would you hire them to work in your home? I have never been able to understand that choice. In the end, it would be the greatest decision my grandmother ever made. In my opinion, anyway.
Just how deep did that fear run? Bertha had her own plate, bowl, silverware, glass and coffee cup. Again, I don’t understand. If you are frightened that this woman is harboring some secret disease, why bring her into your home? I will never understand.
My mother ate many meals with this nurturing woman. The only adult that actually cared about my mom’s thoughts, opinions and feelings. My mom was 12 and 13 years younger than her sisters. She wasn’t really welcome at their dinner table. Bertha welcomed mom with loving arms and a joyful smile. Bertha didn’t see skin color. She saw a child that she loved. No more. No less. What if we could all be like Bertha? What a wonderful world it would be!
Instead of walking around with your head held high and accepting no responsibility, why don’t you get off your tiptoes and accept that change is indeed your responsibility?
One more thing. If ever there were a flag that needed to be burnt, it is the rebel flag! I am so sick of hearing people talk about it being their heritage. Please. I bet 95% of the people that say that have no idea who created that flag or what he said about it. The only thing you are saying by waiving that monstrosity is that you are an ignorant white person and you are better than ever other race out there. If you really think God created all of us but only the white folks are any good, then you will most likely rot in hell!
A big thanks to my mom for teaching me about love and acceptance rather than fear and hate. Bertha, you were gone before my time but I pray that someday I will get to hug your neck and thank you in person. You were a much needed role model and hero to a tormented little girl.
My mom first laid eyes on my father to be at a high school football game. He came from a good family. He would soon graduate from Georgia Tech and was working at Lockheed Martin. Good job. Good family. Great college. Perfect candidate.
Desperation is a sad state of mind. It will play tricks on your mind. Make you think someone is wonderful when in fact they can be very hurtful. It can make jealousy look like concern. It can make lust feel like love, especially to such a damaged young woman.
The cycle of abuse was to continue for many years to come. I often look at my mom and wonder how she ever managed to survive. Spunk and an insane will to survive is all I can figure.
My dad was resentful that my mom tricked him into getting her pregnant. He had wanted to graduate college and be well on his way to the top before starting a family. Well Dad, it takes two to tango. Their families were humiliated. They blamed my only my mom. Immaculate conception? I think not! That’s how it was back then.
My dad was and always has been an excellent provider. When God was handing out the ability to nurture, somehow my dad was skipped over. My mom could do no right in his eyes. There were no kind or loving words in that loveless marriage. “Turn your head the other way. Your breath stinks”. Those were the first words my dad spoke to her after she spit out his baby girl. That would be me, of course. Are you kidding me? What about great job or you are such a trooper having down that with nothing for pain! The tears she must have cried by herself that night. Everyone said I was the most beautiful baby they had ever seen. Complete strangers stopped by her room just to lay eyes on the woman who gave me life. My mom was/is beautiful. At least the kind strangers made her feel good about herself, for a minute or two.
I was born with pyloric stenosis. My pyloric valve would not open therefore no milk flowed to my starving belly. I cried all the time and projectile vomited across the room. My dad would look up from his homework long enough to scream at my mom. ” Shut that baby up. I can’t concentrate “. Tears flowed down her cheeks mixing with mine. Of course this was somehow her fault. Her breast milk must have been sour. She didn’t hold the bottle properly. She bought the wrong goats milk or cows milk. Making mama wear a hospital mask when she held me didn’t help the situation. The implication was that she was bad for her own infant and would just make her sicker. Poor mama.
Thank goodness the ancient Dr. Hoppie figured things out before my mom completely gave up. He gave me the right medicine and in no time I was getting much-needed nourishment. The colic stuck around though.
Dad was a perfectionist and hard as she tried my mom just couldn’t cut the mustard. On the other hand, I could do no wrong. After the colic went away. Mom tried to set limits and boundaries and dad gave me whatever I wanted. I learned very early on that my tears could get me the world.
Less than four years would go by before my parents just couldn’t do it anymore. Divorce. An ugly word. Shameful. Once again, the blame was to be placed on my mom. Things only became more difficult for her. What strength this mom of mine had. What hell she endured.
While I spent my days in daycare, she worked full-time in downtown Atlanta in a very bad part of the city. She spent the weekdays trying to make me behave properly and my dad and his parents undid all of her efforts every weekend. While my dad and his parents helped financially, my mom worked tirelessly to prove that she could make it on her own. At the age of twenty-two, she finally started building a little self-esteem.
It wouldn’t take long before her world was shattered like never before. As if this woman hadn’t endured a lifetime of tragedy already. She was always the first one to arrive at work. Sometimes the early bird does NOT catch the worm. Instead, they are raped at gunpoint by a black man. The man playing lookout was supposed to put a bullet through her head after his turn. Thank the good Lord her boss showed up before the second man could enter the building. My mom has told me many times that the only one thought kept going through her head. “You can’t kill me. I have a four year old daughter”. I thank God for her boss. If not for him, I would have grown up without my mother.
After the invasive rape kit and the hours of questioning by police, my mama was taken to her mother’s house. Her deeply prejudice sisters scrubbed her raw from head to toe. From the bedroom, my battered, shattered and brutalized mother overheard her mom saying, “I can never look at her again. She has been with a black man”. How much more could this tortured woman take? The ONLY positive thing to come from this was my mom’s choice not to bring prejudice into our home. She did not choose to believe that ALL black people are bad just because one evil black man had raped her. Thank you for not raising me with hate and fear in my heart when that probably would have been the easiest way for you. What a sick and evil family you were born into. I am heart-broken by the torture you endured. I will forever be grateful for the woman you raised me to be in spite of it all!
I plan to write more after I get my 12 year old to bed tonight. I just wanted to let folks know that the story about my mom is not private. I would not disrespect her that way. My mom has written a book about her life by the name of “Racheltracks”. Almost everything I have told you or will tell you regarding the beginning of her life is chronicled in her book. She started writing the book because I was in a mental hospital and I wanted her to come get me. She was living in Italy at the time and we had not spoken for years. I had seriously attempted suicide three times in six months. I had gotten pregnant at seventeen just like my mom. My dad forced me to have an abortion. I wanted to die. She started writing the book because she did not know what to say to me after several years of being estranged. She goes into a lot of detail about the things I have written about here.
It’s a good book. I love it.
I have to go get Josh from soccer and hope to continue our story once he is in bed. Thank you so much for you positive feedback.
I suppose I should start at the beginning. At the age of seventeen my mom became pregnant with me – on purpose. Her home life was a kind of hell you don’t even want to imagine. Her escape was a matter of life and death. Our relationship has often been rocky. I love her. She is after all, my mom.
Her nightmarish journey began at the tender age of two. That is when her uncle started molesting her. He was often allowed to babysit her. Imagine the “shock and awe” when she overheard her mother and her aunt talking about the fact that he had tried to molest others in the family. Her mother knew! And yet time after time she was left in his care. She often heard her mother telling people how she was a mistake. Not wanted. To add insult to injury, her alcoholic father raped her when she became a teenager. Her much older sisters treated her poorly. My mom often felt invisible.
One day when she was eleven and desperately needing her mother’s attention, she threatened to eat wasp larvae if her mom would not give her two minutes of her time. My grandmother was paying bills at the time and promptly informed my mom that she had no time for her. My mom went outside and collected the larvae from the hive and walked right into the kitchen where she fried those bad boys. Certainly her mother loved her enough to stop her. Didn’t she? She sat down across from her mother, plate in hand with tears streaming down her face. She just knew if given one more chance her mother would look up lovingly and stop her from doing this foolish thing. It was not to be. That wretched woman never even looked over at my mom.
Do you understand now why it was a matter of life and death? It didn’t take long for me to understand that they just didn’t give a shit about her. By the time I was six, I dreaded going to family parties. My mom was the family scapegoat. Their favorite past time was to make my mom feel horrible about herself. Not one single time did we leave those parties without my mom being a puddle of tears and a bundle of self loathing. How I hated those people. Burning in hell wouldn’t be good enough for them. I wanted to light the damn fire myself!
This is going to have to be a stopping point for me tonight. 5:30 will be here before I know it. I get up with my 12 year old every morning.
Until we meet again.
Crying can feel like dying – one drop at a time.
FYI: I will be changing the name of this blog tomorrow. I couldn’t decide what to call it. I have now decided. I will be calling it “Ramblings of a lunatic plastic mom”. It was the best I could come up with. It is how I feel.
Due to the fact that I am an all around hot mess right now, this blog will probably be all over the place. Due to one of the medications that I have to take daily my spelling, punctuation and grammar have gone to hell in a hand basket. Lit and English were my favorite subjects in school. I lived to read and write. Please don’t point out all my mistakes until I have found some self confidence and am more able to handle criticism.
I am very opinionated and make no bones about it. I am also open-minded enough to listen to others so as to gain new insight.
Due to the isolation that so often goes hand in hand with being disabled, I am fairly long winded. It comes from desperation and loneliness. People often walk away when someone becomes disabled because you aren’t able to be the perso n you used to to be. You really are still that person. You just can’t do all the things you used to do and I guess we become annoying.
I have been through hell at times in my life. If I write about those things, please understand that I am not looking for pity. Ever. Those challenges and bad times are what made me who I am today.
Writing is cathartic for me. It helps me work through issues in my life. I am empathic. I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I need to unload that burden.
Lastly, I am bipolar and ADHD. Add that to my constant companion whom I call pain, I am just a hot damn mess.
Lousy picture but I don’t like my pic taken. The cute fella nestled in my neck is Rocky. I rescued him a year ago from a shelter nearby. No one wanted him. His owner tossed him onto the side if the road – from a moving vehicle. He lives me even when I can’t love myself. Thank you, Rocky!
Thank you for being here and coming along on this crazy ride!