As a kid I had a big fear of my mom. She ruled with an iron fist, a fast slap and a quick hit from the chancletas. I walked on eggshells for most of my life till my early 20’s. Looking back it was easily interpreted as borderline child abuse. Now me being the oldest I received the brunt of the beatings between my brother and I. My mother spared no one. It could be anything from the wet leather belt in the shower to the extension cord to wooden hangers. Whatever was in her reach or she can use was utilized to the best of her ability. She always found the spots and GOD forbid if you covered yourself with your hand it only made things worse.
My mother was a very heavy drinker. I would say that is how she coped through her own fears and traumas. Not that I knew this when I was young. All I knew at that age was when she was drinking it was for me or anyone to just stay away from her. I learned that when she was drinking depending on what music she was listening let me know if she was drinking for fun or drowning in sorrows.
Writing this brings back memories of:
Sad music blaring from the pile of 78’s
La Lupe says no more love, Los Tres Condes sings that their heart is breaking.
Mom walks with beer in hand and a fifth of Bacardi sits on the table.
She sings her heart out with every swig
The memories of La Isla and the teen angsts, the treason and the sudden deaths.
Motherless and fatherless she came to Nueva York.
To live like Americana. Make money like a Blanca
Like an esclava.
Cause without an education and illiterate you sit at the back of the line and wait your turn.
Now let’s make it clear that some of those beatings I deserved but a lot of them I didn’t. I was always nervous that she would either remember something that she was still mad about or just nitpick enough to give her a reason to hit me. I’d also like to add that I am not saying my mother doesn’t love me cause she sacrificed a lot for us but her version of love was not like the ones I read in storybooks or saw on T.V. She wasn’t really a very affectionate person. She only said I love you when it was attached to a slap. Any compliments I received were far few and between. My mother really worked hard all her life and provided regardless what man she had in her life or supported.
There was a time that she beat me so senseless but it was the way she was taught. I had learned that in her youth that she was abused in every physical and mental sense. At the hands of her own family they were more burdened with her. I was so scared of her. Getting older and going through my own awareness I was able to understand her reasons. She was under 5 feet and it was difficult for her to have control in a world that she had none growing up.
I was the kid that when she called me over to hit me I actually walked and never ran away. People called me stupid but I knew that if I ran away it would be worse and I also learned at a very young age that what she was capable of doing to me when we got home and she was drunk would be ten times as worse. I chose 1 of the lesser devils.
As I came into my 20’s she eased off. It was just that I outgrew her at almost 6 feet. We get along still. I love the ground she walks along. I respect all the things she has done and her life story itself is amazing. She is a true warrior in every sense of the word.