I used to dream a lot. Dreams have revealed things to me that I didn’t even know existed; in me, in the world, or anywhere else. I learned about two weeks before my parents died in December of ’89 that I needed to tuck away something that was only me and only for me. My mother told me that as she filled out her insurance forms increasing them to the maximum amount should something happen to her in the future. Future. She knew then that she didn’t have much of a future left. She sensed it. She dreamt it. She knew. She probably also knew that there was or would be nothing she could do to shake the fact or feeling that she was about to die. So she trusted her gut and protected her children the best way she possibly could. Motherfuckin insurance. And she did good. She was a D.C. Cop at the height of the crack epidemic. And her husband was a crackhead. Yes, my father, a marine corps veteran, construction business owner, 33 year old married man was smoking crack in ’89. He was smoking crack and bringing crack whores home while my sister and I were asleep and my mother was at work. What he needed was therapy after his upbringing and the military. That’s not something that black men or most men did back in ’89 anyway. Anyway, then in 88’ his mother, the woman who birthed and raised him, the woman who saw him in a way no other person had, died. An aneurysm. So he graduated from being an amazingly loving father and moderately controlling, loving husband, to a Motherfuckin crackhead that did crackhead shit. Then when he smoked his life into a shambles and my mother’s and my sister’s and my life (even though we ain’t really know it yet) into another shambles he climbed through my upstairs bedroom window like a fucking crackhead and was in the house when we got home that day before my birthday back in ’89. My mother had a migraine that day so we got food from McDonald’s on New York Avenue, and after all these years that spot is still there. People didn’t understand or respect how debilitating that kind of headache could be back then either. I get botox for my migraines now and I still suffer through at least 10-15 headache days a month, and on those days I have to take another medication just to manage them. I recently had a dream that helped me understand more fully what mother was feeling. She was only 31. Her name was Cynthia. And she was the only person that ever really saw me. I’m 39 now and I’ve only just in the last year begun to see myself for who I really am. I spent so much of my life after that day back in ’89 tucking pieces of myself away, that I couldn’t see me. And I had to do it. I had to tuck away the original me so that I could survive this life. And two weeks before my father, the loving, crackhead, womanizer, grief stricken, marine corps veteran, who needed some fucking therapy, shot and killed my mother in front of my sister and me in our living room and then killed himself a few seconds later, MY MOTHER WARNED ME. She told me to “keep something for me”, because she had given her whole life to everyone else and still felt lonely. She felt like there was nowhere to turn, no one to talk to, and no one to actually help that day. She knew that her death was inevitable. And that’s been the hardest shit to swallow. Because I want to help her. But I can’t, and I couldn’t. And that shit is so damn hard to swallow all these years later. And what I now realize I did for most of my life was tuck away the the thing that was most sacred to me. ME!
I hid underneath the impressions, reactions, and other learned behaviors and practices of my peers, and mostly my family. I became my interpretation of who I thought they wanted me to be. I gradually tucked away my identity and became this other person because I thought that if I could be who they wanted me to be then they would love me. They would finally hold me and support me and SEE me the way that I have so freely and meticulously loved, supported, and seen them. All of THEM. It didn’t work. One by one I pimped my kindness and generosity out like MPD pimped me out when I was working undercover back in the day. Except I didn’t get my fair shake in return. Almost never. So I settled for 75 percenters. People that mostly loved me back but were either incapable or unwilling to love me at the level I loved them or was willing to. As I got older I began to settle for even less, particularly in romantic partners. And I wasn’t the best catch either with all of my repressed emotional baggage. But I took care of them. Every last one of those boyfriends and girlfriends that I had. I looked out and I was ride or die. Hoping that they’d see my devotion and want to really see me. But I couldn’t see me. So it was impossible for me to love someone fully or for them to love me fully until I could actually see who the fuck I was, absent anybody else’s opinion or feelings or love. I’ve always felt like something was missing with ALL of my loved ones. Family, friends, pets, all of THEM. I realized that I needed to do some research on me. I needed to investigate my behaviors, and choices, and beliefs. I needed to impeach my own character and dissect the Rodney that I actually am and not the character I’ve been playing since my father made the singular crackhead decision to orphan my sister and me. I guess misery does love company. An aneurysm orphaned him a year and half before and his mother was the only person that ever really saw him and while my mother was surely a close 2nd, the death of my grandmother rocked him and the ripples are still rippling. So my crackhead father put a bullet in my mother’s skull and then one in his own skull while his nine year old daughter and (ALMOST) seven year old son watched, and while his niece stood on the front porch. And because I didn’t want to make my father the villain (and apparently no one else did either), I made him the hero. And that shit is hard to fucking swallow too, because if he’s the hero in a story where his crack induced rage caused him to murder my mother in cold blood, in front of his own children and then cowardly take his own life, then that means that my MOTHER, who couldn’t defend herself because of his crackhead strength and her debilitating migraine, was the villain. And that shit is so fucking hard to swallow, because I did that part, with a little help from my family. I made my mother the villain for not protecting us better by protecting her own life, until I had that fucking dream. That dream that made me feel what it would be like to have someone murder me in cold blood in front of my children and I couldn’t defend myself OR THEM. That was 6 moths ago. I see my mother now too. I see the woman she was and the struggles she faced and how strong she was to be able to give so much love to everyone in her life knowing that when she needed someone to love her and protect her, to SEE her and defend her that no one would be there. So she gave her last breath to my sister and to me. She made arrangements as best she could and she trusted that surely someone that she had given so much of her life and love to, surely someone who she had opened her home to or sacrificed her own needs for would be there to protect her children should she die. Sadly she was wrong. My mother and I are the same in more ways than I ever knew until that dream. We both just wanted to be loved back. Not even first. Like no bullshit we would give our love freely and first. And all THEY had to do was be grateful and love us back when we need it. I wish my mother had loved herself more than she loved me. I use to wish that she had lost her memory and abandoned us and would come back one day. I wanted that for her. I wanted that for me. Because I know that whatever she had done, wherever she had gone, she saw me and she loved me, so I could forgive Anything. I just couldn’t forgive her for dying. Even if she did die for me. And this keyboard might have water damage, but Imma get through this. I didn’t realize until I was 38 that she knew that her death would prepare me for everything that life would throw at me. She knew that I would hold on to me, some fucking how, and make it through the storms of life. And she’s been in my heart and in my voice and in my head the whole time. She’s been preparing me for each obstacle by making me remember that whatever this life has for me, I am prepared, and the worst day of my life has already happened. If I could survive that day and the aftermath, I will be prepared to survive and thrive after any loss or devastation, and even if nobody ever loves me back. I am strong, agile, and fortified. I have been tested, and know that I will be tested more as I maneuver the storms that life brings, because I love the me that I actually am. I am also vulnerable, sensitive, and easily hurt. I am loyal, dedicated, and relentless in pursuit of a goal. I am capable of loving my mate/partner/spouse and family with no equivocations, and I want to. I want to share my life with someone who likes and loves the me that I actually am, and I love them for exactly who they are. I want to build a life and home and raise a family and have a successful career. I want to be inordinately wealthy and change the world in a positive way for everyone, and to be recognized for my work. I want to travel the world and universe and live long enough to see the technological and humanitarian advances of the next millennium. I want to PERFORM. I want to share my story and the things that I’ve learned with the world. And I don’t want to be lonely or alone. I want a deep love that shakes my foundation for the better and outperforms any of my expectations. Someone who considers my feelings and reassures me of his love. And I want peace and harmony for everyone. I’ve spent a lifetime hiding myself, and other things. I’m tired of hiding and fighting and focusing on what I have lost. I’m ready to embrace the me that I actually am and I can and will continue to love myself first and the most. After all, my mother sacrificed her own life for the me that she always saw and loved. I’m just glad I can see and love me now too. I gonna take some time getting settled in to the real me.