Character in the Dark

A couple of days ago, I was groovin’ to a lovely little jazz trio in a local suburban spot. The music was letting me drift. Instead of paying attention to my friends, I was considering which of the bits and pieces I had written and had tucked away would gel into this week’s post when something drew my attention to the door. She walked in.

This beautifully done chocolate goddess strolled in, clothed in a comfortably jacketed cream halter dress. She was young, a twenty-something with a soul that clearly had been here before accompanied by a man who perhaps had not. Maybe it was the way she had the perfect top-knot. Or maybe it was how her simple yet sexy style told you she knew exactly who she was without saying a word.

Whatever it was…everything about her was on point. Admiration filled my heart. She is who I wanted to be but never was at her age.

And that was it. She was the me that I never was. The woman I had buried under conjecture, supposition and wish-thinking. Sometimes my inner voice use to allow all three to pile on saying, “maybe I should rethink this because it might not be quite be right…maybe I should be realistic. The mental gymnastics still makes me dizzy.

That thinking would always kill the drive of the me that I actually was in that moment and I could never get it back.

Snippets of their conversation wafted over, the give and the take of it was sweet. I kept glancing at her and her companion. Not stalking, it was more like reminiscing.

As a young woman, I had no idea of my value. Knowing my worth was advanced stuff, you know, big girl panties territory.

Her mere presence sent me back to a time when I was less concerned about how I showed up and more worried about who I showed up with and how they felt about me. That false evidence appearing real covered what I believed about myself…what I thought everyone could see by just looking at me.

When I was younger, I was a quiet and shy girl. I was still developing, figuring out the world; trying to learn who I was, how to Be. Having to suffer unwanted sexual advances as a child stunted my emotional growth. I didn’t learn the necessary social skills to be popular or in. I had to navigate the ugliness abuse brings without the benefit of friendship or wisdom of adulthood.

Abuse, regardless if it is emotional, physical or sexual, has a way of separating us from the pack, all while forcing lies of guilt and shame into our DNA.

So I did the only sane thing a kid does when we are afraid and don’t know we have choices…I quietly hid my bruised self away, in my heart, deep where no one, not even me could hurt her again and crafted an almost, not-quite me. One that could be my representative while I feverishly went about, trying to appear like I belonged on the planet.

The problem is, and THIS is one of the truest things I have ever learned, wherever you go, there you are.

14th century theologian Thomas a Kempis shared this with the world but I learned it by way of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Thanks Bud.

There is no escaping yourself. No matter how hard you try. And I tried…a lot. I took copious amounts of drugs to chemically enhance my self-esteem and had sex with a lot of not-so good people to forget I didn’t like the me I was, and that I wasn’t the me that I am. Most of my young adult life was me holding back from situations because I thought “if I just wait” or “if only”.

Maybe one should know one’s limitations. On the other hand, maybe one should know them, but refuse to be limited by them.

I didn’t hit grown-ass woman country until after I forgave myself for being human, relearned what the nature of Trust is and that I was always deserving. Always had been, Always will be.

A laugh broke the reverie. So as a proud card-carrying member of Team Too Much, I felt it was my duty to say something. To her. My filter is on low. Basically, it’s non-existent but I say it’s low to pretend that I think about what I have to say even I really don’t.

I shared the happiness the visage of her coco womanhood excellence gave me and what it meant to the world. I told her how she was exquisite, the only word that explained her in the moment. That it was a gift to see a sista who knew herself, one able to be herself especially when she didn’t know someone was watching and that I was grateful for the experience. She thanked me profusely and welled up.

I guess the Nubian estrogen overflow was choking her companion, making him think that he needed to insert himself. He said he told her pretty much the same thing before. Like his acknowledgement to her once way back some time ago about them being special together was exact what I said. Mhmmph. He said something about how I reminded him of his loving grandma(wait, is he saying I look old enough to be his grandmother?— motherfu…) who had dementia(and now I’m crazy too?), and about how she loved him and told him to get a “special” woman to grace his life, talking about the woman sitting next to him…

For a second there I thought I was going to have to smoke him in a blaze of sistahood. Then I realized, he just wanted to feel relevant…doesn’t everyone?

So I relayed to him a short story, a something I experienced a couple of months ago. Deep friends of mine were gathered to give a final goodbye to another. The departed was the sister of my best friend’s husband. Sometime after the service, we few were chatting & laughing, lightly teasing him about how wonderful he is and how he should give classes in how to give loving spousal support. He good-naturedly shrugged and asked, “you want to know what makes me still so good after all these years”? “She does”, he stated and pointed at his wife, my friend. Without pretense or playfulness, even in the midst of his sadness over his sister, he continued to have the presence of mind to acknowledge his wife’s love of him as his North Star, his reason for wanting to be his best.

The couple appeared moved by my friend’s words. I continued by saying “I’m not trying to tell you how to be and I apologize if it sounds that way. This woman here IS and she needs you to Be. If she is who you want,,, Keep up with her. Be your best self. Always.”

He gave me a huge grin and a hug and so did she. As I walked away, I asked the heavens for protection for her and that they as a couple or apart, always know themselves and be willing to seek their own highest good. My heart felt lighter and deeper and I sighed with appreciation of her, of my quiet girl, of my almost me and the me that I am.

And for once, I didn’t care if I was the crazy lady in the story they will tell or the blessing in disguise. Solidly in big girl panties territory now.

One Reply to “Character in the Dark”

  1. John Pratt Booker says: Reply

    When I think of the Grandmother energy and the Grandmother wisdom – It seems relevant to your story – your beautiful story. Since we have the same name, but are no relation as my anything-but-Nubian pigment will attest to; I am reminded of the Grandmother and the inimitable Grandmother words. They seem to align no matter where your people are from – mine was exquisite like you, though much, much, much older. Grandmother wisdom is seldom fully credited to her while she is in the picture. It is wisdom for now, but that also evolves with you if you evolve with it in you. I will keep this story with me always. If these young ones keep your words with them – they will know the true value of their wisdom only later. And yet, they will map the path from now until then… and to where its own treasures are ultimately found. In the keeping of truth – of wisdom – and Grandmother’s living words.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.