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If You Ask, I’ll Gladly Tell You …

Every woman has a story some more trying than others, others less intricate. Often times society will make assumptions without asking and here is my answer to that: If you ask me I will gladly tell you…

If you want to know I’ll tell. I’ll tell you what it’s like being a single black mother. Fighting for the respect of your peers, going to war with yourself to preserve your dignity, and wondering how you fell for the line of BS that got you two kids and landed you in a homeless shelter. But you never asked, you assumed I was promiscuous and loose. That I had no guidance or home training, that I was less than a lady. I maintained my smile while sustaining the severe jabs and body shots that life has thrown my way and if you ask me I’ll gladly tell you. Gladly tell you how I fell in love with him and had a baby without a plan. Lived with him from pillow to post, house to house, and cried when he cheated, smiled when he returned, rejoiced when I got the courage to leave.

This life that now grows inside of me is just what I needed, someone to love, and someone to love me. Then she arrives and reality kicks in: food, clothing, and shelter are all needed. Getting a job and a sitter for your “little motivation” isn’t easy. I swallowed my pride took the best offer I was given and now I’m flipping burgers. Burgers don’t flip fast enough, and the wages don’t cover enough of the bills. Had you asked me I would have told you, but you never asked!

Those you thought to be in your corner have bowed their heads in your struggle. Acting as if all is well in your world, refusing to acknowledge the poor choices you’ve made. They don’t put forth one ounce of support. Family is supposed to be there for one another, that’s what you’re taught. Believing in that comes naturally. Yet, when the time comes to call on them, they all seem unavailable. Their only recourse is pointing fingers, and placing blame. Someone has to be held accountable for the situation. So attacking each other seems to be the best course of action. You are now branded the poster child for “how not to screw up your life.” Those who are eager to contribute a helping hand, really just want something to gossip about with everyone else. (Not a sincere deed at all.) As a replacement for teaching you how to be a competent parent, the opportunity is exploited and used to illustrate what an expert parent they deem themselves to be. You thought you had something to prove, obviously not!

Your boss never understands even though he’s got five kids of his own. It just isn’t his problem. All he knows is, you had better be there on time and don’t you dare ask to leave a second earlier than scheduled. He looks at you as if you’re trouble waiting to happen, thinking of all the “maybes” and “what ifs.” What if her kid gets sick? What if she has no babysitter? If she is a single mother, what poor choices did she make to end up that way? Judgment from all corners, despite the fact he has the same situation at home. The only difference is he has a wife.

You find yourself filled with envy at the lives your peers have made for themselves. That best girlfriend you had all through school is now a faded picture on the mantel. She has gone off to fulfill the pact the two of you made to go to college and get married. (While she did the same things you did.) She was just smart enough, or just plain lucky enough not to get caught up in the moment. While your sitting at home changing diapers, cooking dinner, and trying to squeeze in one more hour of studying, all the people the people that used to come by and call for you to join them out at the club barely even speak when they see you out.

What hurts the most is when you see other young mothers who were lucky enough to have their “baby’s daddy” stick around. Happily raising their children together, helping each other out. They take turns fulfilling their goals, and stand beside one another while fighting for their dreams. You have no one to do any of those things for you.

Every day is a fight. Sometimes you just get tired and feel like lying down and accepting defeat. Other girls do it all the time; drop their kids off on parents and grandparents and don’t look back. Why can’t you? It seems so easy, but when reality sets in you realize it’s not. How much harm can it do to just leave them sleeping while you run out for a few minutes of freedom? They sleep all night! The “what ifs” will drive you insane. Regret is like a permanent part of your soul. Always there lurking, waiting to surface, with all of its “I told you so-s,” and awful reminders of the mistakes you’ve made. You don’t want to regret these beautiful little reflections of yourself. They melt your heart with the smallest gesture. It just breaks your heart when you feel like your failing them.

As you mature and began to see things through an adult’s eyes, you realize that your babies aren’t the sin; the sin was in the act that created them. It’s not their burden to bear, and why should it be? The only way to deal with the situation is to accept it as it is and make the best choices you can. Even if “they” never understand is it really going to shake your life up anymore than it has already? Loss of freedom will always hurt, regret will always be your shadow, and those babies will grow up, and they will always be your babies. These are the things I have to remind myself of whenever times get rough or the boss seems so insensitive, or when the “should of, could of, would of, but didn’t” comes creeping into my soul.

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