My pen scribbles across paper under moonlight, careful not to wake the babe sleeping beside me. It’s one of those nights where emotions gradually consume me. I write when I’m feeling raw, angry, and unapologetic, and in need of an outlet. Writing is healing. Writing is cleansing. And really my only option to address the wounds plaguing my mind. I belong to a community where the problems of our coloured women are seen as an inconvenience, ignored and forgotten, or turned upon her; Where parents choose denial and children are deemed ungrateful if they ever question or deviate from the path of what is expected.
My parents, like many others, are survivors. They left war-torn land and struggled to build a home in foreign soil with the hope of giving their children a better life. Yet I’m someone who cannot find solace in either. I haven’t touched the soils or breathed the air of my ancestral land and I don’t fit in perfectly in my adoptive land. My colour and upbringing alone will never let me assimilate. I’m not sure who I am or where I belong so I try soak up my ancestors’ rich culture, practice Yoga and Ayurveda longing to feel a connection to the roots that are supposed to ground me. I’m the product of two worlds, two cultures, two perspectives and the sufferer of consequences as a result of fitting in neither. I’ve always been a fighter, a caller out of injustice, a rejector of hypocrisy. It didn’t serve me well being a brown woman who was expected to be obedient and never question the rules placed before her. As much as I tried to reject patriarchy, it didn’t stop me from falling into the trap, while trying to appease those around me. Afterall, it is human nature to carry the innate desire to feel validated.
I yearned for freedom, fought for my freedom to live, explore, and love and in my fight sought refuge in a rebel, much like me but who proved to be nothing like me. Love is freedom, acceptance, and the space to discover who we are. I was not free. I carried burdens no woman should carry, alone, afraid of conflict. I wasn’t able to share with him that the smell of alcohol on his breath triggered memories of an assault when I was a teenager coming home from band practice. So instead, emotionally we grew distant until we could no longer understand one another. A decade of marriage gave me nothing but at the same time everything as our union brought forth three children.
So now here I am struggling to raise three kids of my own and I say struggling because parenting is not easy, especially when the self is exhausted, frustrated, and lonely and haunted by the fact that almost three years ago, I almost lost my youngest baby. I’m seen as an epitome of strength because to outsiders I remain unfazed by adversity but I’ve come to realize true strength is found in vulnerability. I’m trying out vulnerability and prying open the last thirty years, examining them, and trying to piece them back together again. The ways I learned to cope and survive is not how I wish to live anymore. So I find myself in the middle of nights, evaluating the mistakes, the trauma, and the patterns so I can mend what’s broken inside of me and heal all that hurts and in the process carve out a better path for myself and the beings that depend on me.
When we refuse to address and ignore what is broken it affects every aspect of us, it attracts and emits the wrong energy, and it forces us to become who we are not or perhaps it takes away from who we truly are. We become imbalanced and in our state of imbalance and brokenness we unknowingly raise broken children who will continue to do the same as the cycle repeats. So I find myself often trying to end a cycle by revisiting all that has hurt me with no judgement, but at the same time loosening and even severing the threads to those I’m bound to who limit me, in order to shift away from the negativity.
Where once I looked for belonging and acceptance, I look no more for I discovered the solace I need already exists within me. And I invite you all to take a look at what you may have buried deep within you and acknowledge it. We hold the ability to learn from these experiences that have caused us grief, to let go, and move forth in ways which positively impact the well-being of the soul. When you can speak about the trauma or sadness openly, without crying, screaming, blaming, judging, withdrawing or fear, and just as an experience you find a sense of liberation and empowerment like none other – you find yourself whole again with purpose and direction. What a world it would be if instead of burying our faults and pain, we all took the time to heal the wounds that no one can see.
-Modern Day Brown Mom