My spirit is screaming for a rap now, but silently, within. Because I hail from the Bronx, the Boogie Down, where hip hop was born, and so was I, plus a twisted juggernaut of wonderful people who are still here, hanging around my life. We are the tough stuff, because only the strong survive! Where housing is a collection of mold, plaster scraping off walls and ceilings, leaks ad infinitem, toppling the ceiling, but with no warning, so your head might be caught in the chunks of plaster and heavy laden debris…And the roaches, waterbugs and mice take up residence, without paying rent, uninvited! And you scream for a pet, or a brother or a sister, and the only substitute you can find is your lovely friends you make at school, but they are constantly moving too, from apartment to apartment, because of drunk, violent boyfriends, or worse, stepfathers, who beat your mom, or even you, or knock your teeth out. And when you start to develop curves, all these men look at you like you are some tasty meat, out on a spit, and that attention feels good, because you have been starved for it, all your live long childhood. Because kids should be seen and not heard, and you were even told that!!
I could tell you a tale of this childhood, but you get a picture already, and it ain’t pretty. And you are a lookout for your dad coming home, while mom is banging the drunk boyfriend, and you know that, out in the living room, under some covers on the floor, watching the telly, trying to be not seen and not heard, both. And because one can extrapolate that the marriage is dead, even if it hasn’t been declared null and void yet, you play your role, even though your only offered escape is to go to college, some years away, and you are in the house with this drunk, and mom doesn’t have sufficient money to keep the house going, so that’s power to this abusive relationship, even with begging monthly to parents, an aunt, and this boyfriend, plus the alimony, no child support, because dad screwed mom in the divorce, and that meant me too, because I stayed with her. Even though I was innocent in all this, a mere 13 when dad left.
So when you look at me, aged midlife, weighing too much, and in therapy probably forever, it makes sense, because these wounds do not heal fully, and they had already cut deep. And the upshot of it was I honored my own obligations to these parents, even though they didn’t quite do that for me. It is a tapestry that they wove around me, and my life is the remnant of that upbringing. I never had a chance to live the promised land, say with normal parents, unconditional love, a man who would accept me, really, not just meat on a skewer…or even liken me to a toasted marshmellow, sticky sweet, and gooey, and all too willing to melt, for the right person, who never came. I am literally the Brazilian steakhouse BBQ, endless meat coming to your table, succulent, tasty, but when the diner is full, the card gets turned down, and the diner departs. What should the meat say at that point? Glad you enjoyed me?? Now get the hell out of here!
I am flesh and blood, created for more than this fate. I AM NOT MEAT! Any more than any African American is a dog, because no one should be compared thus. Have respect for your fellow being, and recognize no one can judge, because no one has walked my own road. I join hands with all who have been shut up, and victimized, and belabored with mental illness, violence, threats, poor food, even worse housing, poverty, yelling, baseball bats, slapping, kicking, punches, name it! Such children never had a chance to live the good life, because they were merely silent witnesses to carnage. Screaming silently in a vast void, to anyone who would listen. Was there anyone out there?