What is a parent?
Whether he chooses to serve his own egos and desires…or the best interests of the child.
The necessity to teach, raise, love, support, nurture, and defend that child. Always.
How, if you do not take care of her…what are you teaching her? How will she know to take care of herself?
How will she know she needs to take care of herself–that this is something right and positive to aspire to?
How will she know what it means to take care of herself? How will she know the steps to do so?
How will she know to see when someone is truly wishing to take care of her? To value her?
How will she know to see through, know when these words are just hypocritical doublespeak and lying?
How will she know to expect to be respected, valued…To be taken care of. How will she know to demand this…to not accept anything less–if this is not the message that you are giving her at all…you, the one who is supposed to value, love, and take care of her, always…
How will she relate to and fare in the world…where everyone else is only looking out for their best interests–never hers’?
How this is even so much more important for girls because the world is so much more dangerous for us than for boys…all the watching male eyes and hands wanting our bodies, minds, our energies–anything at all that they can use for their own pleasure and take for their desiring without reciprocity, without taking care of…
If she does not know this.
Especially when it comes to this shifting into womanhood, the sexual awakening…
How this is complicated even further through culture and identity…how in this, the world of American white men and dating in this country women are not truly valued…there is only the expendible nature of using and losing each woman in line with another and the next, her value and energy drained as he jumps to the next younger, more attractive model. How throughout my life these American white men have pursued me only wanting sex, thinking it is their right…As I became more accomplished in my career, how this has translated into thinking they can use me for my mind the same way and I will accept being used, not valued, or respected. That I will take their disrepect and abuse and, like little Oliver, sweetly say “Yes, please, thank you. Can I have some more?” How they become so angry and feel cheated when I stand up for myself, when I do not let anyone use or abuse me. When I look after my best interests. When I take care of myself.
How I still struggle, still fall, sometimes, under the press of their rapacious, toxic actions because I am not strong enough to always be aware and defend myself, alone; to always be on edged guard here. Too much to do, alone. While trying to grow, be present; be open and live.
The necessity of parents, of family. To protect. To defend. To love, support, value. To take care of themselves. So they can take care of you. So they can teach you how to take care of yourself.
How this becomes so important if you are a woman of color. How, to these American white men, to America in general I have learned, because of the still-pregnant presence of the legacy of slavery, the color of our skin means we not have to be valued or taken care of at all…how, when I think about the future sons and daughters I will have I become overwhelmingly scared, overwhelmingly determined to position my life and take care of them so they do not have to engage with these energies, so they know how to protect and defend themselves, just in case…
How this does not exist in my culture, or any other culture, really, where a child does not have to worry about fear of strangers; if lost, she just asks anyone, in line with another and the next, unafraid of harm, knowing only love, only family in the tribal community…how beginning to understand these concepts in fictional form became the subject of my last book, Girls Raised by Men. How, living in this country, there is something here at which I must look closer still, apparently. To live love, unafraid…unaffected by all this ugliness of others…
The necessity of family, of parents. To advise and protect. Defend and value. Respect and support. Love and nurture. The necessity of parents to be parents, to live, to grow, to take responsibility and take care of their family. Your most precious treasure. No matter what.
Otherwise, who will?