It’s been a minute since I sat and wrote. Between directing and rehearsing for my one man show I haven’t had the time. Exhaustion (a good tired though) claims me right after a shower and laying up min the bed. I don’t last long. No it’s not age.
I had just finished performing at the Ancestry show. We had to pick an elder and write about them. It was a set of questions and from there we came up with either a poem or monologue. I came up with both. This performance hit home. It brought a lot of things into full circle (no pun intended). Seeing the other elders and how active they were and how they reminisced about their homeland was beautiful.
The person I wrote about was my mother. The lady that held shit down when rubbing nickels to make it through was an everyday task. I spoke of how through all the hardship she went through on a personal level she still showed up to grow up. How she assumed responsibility for her part and never faltered. As I was saying the monologue it all came back to me. How the breaking apart of her spirit through the deaths of her daughters to the rising from the flames like a phoenix to raise her grandchild. How through the rapes and molestations and being illiterate she still found a way to provide for her family.
It made me realize that my upbringing had a lot to do with her past. That she came from a generation that you took all the abuse and just kept it moving not taking time to heal. You just put a huge band-aid on all that pain and tragedy, shoved through it, stifled it so it wouldn’t crush you. It reminded me that she never came from the school of let’s talk and hash shit out. She came from shut the fuck up’s and get over it. She came from never express for it will be your demise, your weakness. She was brought up from those that hated her because she was a burden not a joy. She came from having to watch herself from sexual attacks from the same kin that was supposed to protect her. She came from a time that regardless of the odds she couldn’t accept failure.
She came to a world that spoke the strange language of English and was not kind to what they thought Puerto Ricans at the time were savages and worth nothing. She left behind her lineage, her ancestors, a beautiful island that was supposed to bathe her is sun and left her scorched and resentful and biter. Left her with a sense of dishonesty and the lesson that family is not always on your side and friends were a dollar in your pocket.
It was all of these things that ran through my mind that I realized the forgiveness I have to give her. It was this epiphany that made me realize she really did the best with what she had. I had to admit that she never received not knew how to give these things that to so many is taken advantage. I also understood that she loved the best way and the only way she knew. Shit I can even be honest and say that with her upbringing and all the betrayal and treachery she went through she was able to give us all that wasn’t given to her.
I forgive her. It allowed me to shed so many things that not only made me feel an immense release of guilt and pain that I thought was my fault but rectified hope in how my relationship with mom is.