Alone again … naturally


This is something that I have never had to deal with . I am less than 24 hours from living completely alone for the first time in my entire life. Not alone , without a mate. Not alone with family near . Alone. No one but me . Only my infinitely scary and wonderful brain to feed on . I feel so strange about this . About not having someone that I must tend to or care for except me . No family. No friends . No lover . Just me .

I had my son so young that going away to school was out of the question , I have never not been in a relationship for more than a few months , I have always had something to distract , distress , detain and entertain me . I have had others to deal with , to worry over , to love , to rage at , to rage to  and to generally get wrapped up in so that my own life was always a back  burner issue . Living on simmer. This will be my first time to be living on boil, full rolling boil that requires my own attentions be paid.

I am worried . I am scared . I am elated . I am excited. I feel guilty . I feel free…

I …

 

Assimilation


      I am an example of the assimilated American Negro. I am generally none threatening . I am generally none offensive ,and  non-intrusive  African American . My hair is usually straight and    my style is usually of the time , non-ethnic and with little to no “urban outfitting’s” . My speech is without so called “Ebonics” when speaking to those outside my close circle of friends , and when it is it is generally used as irony. When the usually eloquent Brie  says something like “wif” instead of with or “I’m is” , a word cluster that is in fact a pet peeve of mine , you know she is kidding .

I was never meant to be anything other than assimilated . Despite my background , family beginning and surroundings my mother set out to have a child that would easily fit into what she saw as America’s larger culture , that of the Caucasian American . She deviated from that in only one respect , my name . Her original choice of Olivia  was replaced with Libra by my godmother  whom she was going to name me after . With that single exception , I was meant to blend . My language and diction was closely guarded , I was made to “ask” for things and not “axe” for them like other little ones. I was likewise made to “ will not” or “cannot “ and was never allowed to “ ain’t” a  swat on the fanny or a slap on the mouth let me know that was unacceptable . so I emerged at 5 years old when I was unceremoniously ripped from my cloistered predominantly  white community in Seattle to the black community of Inkster , Michigan I was the little black girl that “ talked proper” , that “ sounded white” or on one very memorable occasion when I  who “ Talk like a honky” , pardon my use of the pejorative .

What does this do ? I  simply do not fit anywhere . I was always aware that I am different than my peers . My way of speech is often seen as pompous by other black people . I am more comfortable around white people but I am nonetheless aware that I am different from they .My attraction to and for white men , while more widely received and accepted now than before ,  puts me again in the role of outsider.  Growing up I wanted to be white . My mother’s influence as well , as she still expresses that desire .  So I deal daily with a double edged shame factor . I am ashamed  that I care what other people feel about my marriage to a white man . I am ashamed that I am proud that he is white and often DO want people to see him . Not because of who he is but because of what it conveys . Barack Obama said it best in “ Audacity of Hope” when speaking of his mother and I’m  paraphrasing “ I realized at some point  I would bring her up to people to gain their acceptance . To make myself a part of that larger world , which I was using her to be seen as something else” .That is often how I feel like I am saying in essence , “ I am not one of them” .

So what ultimately does that mean ? Nothing .  It took me years to realize this but assimilation is unavoidable to some degree and it comes at a cost  . To NOT assimilate also comes at a cost . I am Brie Stoll , Oreo . I am also a makeup Diva and a Nerd Goddess . I am not defined by that one aspect of who I am . I have learned pride in being African American . I have learned pride in being an American American as well . I did find my way and I can only look at the ride as it was the ride that I had to take .

At 21 years old my mother saw white culture as having opportunities and possibilities that black culture , in her seeing , did not have in 1975 . I cannot fault her for that and my way of speaking has afforded me many things . She was right about that . Being able to speak  in proper terms and real words does make a difference upon short acquaintance . I am seen as more intelligent simply because of that one thing . I have to , in fact , thank my mother for that .  I believe that my way of speaking lead to my wanting  to be more intelligent .  I do not believe that I would be where I am today , a writer , a student , a friend to all types of people , if not for my assimilation . It did make me want to be  accepted by white society at first but later it just made me able to know and understand anyone that is intelligent and interesting . I am not cloistered or self-cloistered  within my own race. I am not afraid of white people , black people , Muslims , or Jews .  In fact I have befriended  them all . I am happy to be me but I am not stuck  with it . I am not saying this is what assimilation means for everyone .  It is what it means for me .

Memoirs of She


She was born to two people that probably shouldn’t have children.

Drug addicts both and one, the father, an intravenous one. She is raised without him. She is raised with her mother who eventually marries a man and takes her to a new place. In Seattle, WA she is happy and for a while she is allowed a childhood. Her mother is young and impetuous and decides that it is time to move away. Her mother divorces her husband and together the mother and she moves back to Michigan. In Michigan she is a victim. She is different than everyone. She is bullied. She is left alone a lot and pretty child that she is, she is victimized by the males that come into her world. Mother falls in love with a man that is a monster and for the next 7 years she is filled with shame and sadness. His predilections for children are not only satiated by the touching in ways children are not to be touched but to harm the mind and body as well. she is scarred inside and out . On her leg she has an iron shaped burn. She has various permanent scars. She was once split by a golf club and threatened with a gun. All with in the walls of her home. All within the confines of the family.  She is 12 when her mother finally leaves the man.

Things happen that she is not prepared for, but she is also strong. She is very smart and she is very good and one day she decides to stop what is happening to her in the only way she knows how. Her life is inexorably changed forever. By the time she is 14 she is a mother.

At 18 she graduates and tries her first time to get a degree. But the world is hard and she is thwarted. Still she is happy. Not all the time. But she is. And for a while that is enough. She tries again and again to get her life on track. In the middles and edges of again and again she does things. She writes a story that is used in a movie. She falls in love. She marries. She is always kind to those that are smaller than she. She is always good and faithful and loyal. She never uses her pain as an excuse to commit evil. She strikes against those that do. Pedophiles and pederasts, all those that hurt the small and the innocent.   For them she is brave in a way that she could not be for herself. She is touched by the loss of any innocent.  People ask why she reads about the small ones that were hurt or died at the hands of monsters like the one that raised her and she cannot explain it . One part of her needs to see it to reassure herself that she belongs here. That she was saved for a reason. Another part wants to remember them. Wants them to feel that she is trying to be a better person in their names and memories.  She loves them, because they never got to make mistakes.

Now she is grown up. Fully now and she works so hard to finally be who she should have been. She is a writer. For the first time she is actually a working writer and that makes her happy. She is a novelist, though not yet published.  She is seeking and she is trying and every day she gets a little brighter. The way ahead is not clear but she is sure that it will get better everyday.  I am she. She is me.