I AM MY SISTER'S KEEPER
DAUGHTER: A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life. ~Irish Saying
Every child is born in innocence. As little girls we emulate our mothers. They are the very definition of a woman. We can be shaped and molded into whatever our environment; good or bad. As mothers we have to recognize the responsibility we are given by being someone’s mother.
This union is not to be entered into lightly, but reverently, honestly, and deliberately. It is a union created by loving purpose and kept alive by abiding will.
Even as my daughter grows into womanhood she needs me more; not less. In my eyes she is that helpless baby that depended on me for every need.
TEENAGE GIRL: This has got to be the most confusing time. Your body is changing, you don’t know if you’re going or coming. Those of you who contend that high school were your days of glory are in the minority. I find most people were having a hell of time navigating through those waters. Here’s the great thing; at this point you know nothing, but oddly enough no one can tell you anything. If you and your parents managed to maintain a relationship during this time; pat yourself on the back.
At this point we start to step into our sexuality. And not everybody was “doing it” contrary to what they’d have you believe. GOD we were stupid. And nobody died because they didn’t have sex. But a lot people had unwanted pregnancies, STDs, sexual confusion, broken hearts, fear, and plain old peer pressure because we didn’t talk about what was going on. How our body was changing. We were growing up.
Sorry but that whole Just Say No campaign didn’t work for us. Drugs? Hell, there was a lot going on during this time and a guidance counselor wasn’t going to solve your problems. We’re still trying to figure this out. Can’t hand out condoms and pills and fix this. Parents and educators need to work together to address this elephant.
SINGLE WOMAN: So now you’ve navigated through one of the most confusing times of your life. Yippee! So now you’re off to school and away for the first time. Personally, I didn’t last long in the dorms. These girls lost their minds!!! Never been away from home; first time experiencing freedom of any kind. Some girls were so sheltered I remember a friend/counselor trying to console this young girl because she thought she was dying. No one explained to her that her menstrual cycle didn’t mean she was bleeding to death.
Society has inundated us with images that tell us we have to be with someone. We want you to get an education, but while you’re matriculating this is the perfect time to find someone to spend your life with. How confusing is that? Be independent, but find a husband who will take care of you. It’s more important to be someone’s wife than be or discover who you are.
WIFE/WIFEY: Everyone knows I take issue with the moniker “wifey.” I contend it’s a title to pacify a woman that is completely committed to a partner that wants all the benefits of marriage without the responsibility. Wife…most of us jumped from our parents’ household to being a wife. More and more I see these workshops and seminars that are suppose to prepare you for this next phase. I wish more of us had the examples to equip us for the task at hand. Most women of color are products of a divorced or single-parent home. Remember you emulate what you know.
Okay I’m going to be perfect. I’ll be the perfect cook. I’ll be the perfect mother. The house will be perfect. Everything will be perfect. Great, the blind leading the blind. We’re both products of divorce, and we lack the communication skills, but we can make this work.
DIVORCE’: “How’s that working for you?” The very thing you wanted to avoid you now are. No one prepared you. You are a girl. You had no clue as a teenager. Fell in love, but didn’t have the skills to maintain a relationship. How could you not see this coming? You carefully navigate through the wreckage. Now you have children; particularly a daughter looking to you as the example. Dating? Heck, is it even a good idea to bring another man around your daughter if it’s not serious? Starting over is the hardest part of any divorce.
MISTRESS/JUMP-OFF: Years ago my “sweetie” made a movie entitled JUMP-OFFS. He had to explain to me what that was. I had no clue. So you’re something you’d thought you’d never be; the other woman. How degrading. I know. You’re not ready for a relationship, but you don’t want to be alone. You don’t have the skills or the wherewithal to handle taking care of you and your children. So you’ve made an “arrangement” to be kept. GOD forbid your daughter realizes what you are or what you lack. You’ve compromised your morals and you’re disrespecting another woman. This is not the example you wanted to set for your daughter.
BABY MAMA: Yes, you are the drama. You didn’t require him to marry you. Heck, you’re doing well if you actually liked this person before you got into this long-term arrangement. Sure it was an accident. For those of you that planned this to trap him; he will never be with you. Try being the wife or the girlfriend dealing with this mess. It is the very definition of H.A.M…..Hot Ass Mess!! The cycle continues. It’s a proven fact that teenage pregnancy; babies born out of wedlock is a vicious cycle that is hard to break.
WIDOW/OLD LADY: If you’re fortunate to live long enough to become an old lady; GOD bless you! There are perks to this time in your life. Hopefully you’ve learned from life’s experiences; maybe even passed the knowledge on. Maybe you’re someone’s Nana or Grammy. Maybe you’ve had a long wonderful marriage to a wonderful man. You may have outlived him, but count each day a blessing.
I could write endlessly on this subject. At the rate we’re going too many of us will never get to be old ladies. There’s a sense of accomplishment in being an elder. Most of us fit into multiple categories. We’ve been all of the above. Yes, each one must teach one. For every reality series there’s a reality. I love my Sisters. I love my children. I have one daughter, but every one of my former students is my daughter too. I’m sorry we haven’t been held accountable. You deserve better. I love my Sisters. You need some love too. We have to stop disrespecting ourselves and each other. I am, you are your Sister’s keeper.
I'M EVERY WOMAN by Chaka Khan