Chapter 5: Sweeping It Under The Rug

9 Months later…

Being a single mom is harder than I thought! I mean, of course I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but it’s a lot harder when you live over 3000 miles away from your family and friends. Granted, Darren has thee best day care in the world so I do have help, but when he’s home, he is a piece of work. My baby is 1 now and he literally gets into everything! The other day I caught him playing in my personal drawer…you know, the drawer with all of the naughty things that you have to keep stashed away as a single woman. I gotta tell y’all about this story. Okay, so I have ONE friend out here in LA and I invited her over last week to have wine and dinner. So I cooked a nice meal then comfort-nursed Darren until he fell asleep and laid him snug in his crib. This was my first time having company since my move so I was excited to finally  have some grownup time.

So there we were, chit chatting in my living room when all of a sudden, we see my little bow-legged baby running out my room with my jumbo size jack rabbit (if you don’t know what that is, you shouldn’t be reading this. Skip to the next paragraph.) I was so embarrassed! When we noticed what he had in his hand, I screamed, “Give me that nasty thing Darren, it’s old and dusty. Then I looked at her and said, “don’t worry girl, that thing doesn’t even work anymore.” Then he pushed the power button and it started vibrating at full speed–it showed absolutely no sign of being broken. Luckily, they haven’t started making those things with a Siri or Alexa type feature yet. He would have pushed that button and we would have heard, “Welcome back Tiff! Wow, you have reached a streak of 7 days in a row. The usual setting of high-speed & deep penetration?” I haven’t heard from my friend since.

The hardest part about being a single mom, besides potty training, is wanting to be everything for your child. You want to know how to solve all of your child’s problems. You want to be their protector, their nutritionist, their doctor, their personal comedian, their comforter, their other parent and their role model. I am learning so much about myself just from trying to be a good mother. Like, did you know that black folk are known for sweeping things under the rug? I knew that we were, but I didn’t know the extent of how much sweeping we do. It all starts with, “What happens in this house stays in this house.” A lot of shit happens in black houses y’all. For people who are wondering, it’s more than just “in this house;” it’s also whatever happens in your family, to your family, because of your family and don’t even get me started with what happens in your church. We  just sweep everything under the rug and act like everything is all good. We sweep big situations and little-minuscule things; essentially, those things shape who we become in the future.

When I was younger, my parents used to host holidays at our house. They could throw down in the kitchen and they were super fun, so all of my family and friends used to love coming over. Because my parents had to do all of the cooking, I would do all of the cleaning. We weren’t the neatest people so it was only but so much that I could clean on my own. So every holiday, I would go cry to my mom that I was running out of time before the guests arrived and I couldn’t finish cleaning everything. “Just put the rest of the stuff in the guest room and close the door. We just gotta make sure nobody goes in there, but make sure your grandmother doesn’t go snooping around.” Seems small right? Just throw everything in the room and let the rest of the house sparkle like we were the cleanest people in the world. “And the lie detector says, That’s a lie!”We were fronting! Everyone thought, “Wow, this house is beautiful and spotless! My family sure is perfect.” Little did they know, we had a whole room full of imperfection. As a child, I thought that mask was normal, but now, as an adult, I know it’s not. That just taught me to hide my mess and portray to the world that I have it all together.  

Now that I live in Cali, I am finding out just how much crap I have hidden up under my rug! I have to learn how to face all of it  ASAP because I have a future man looking up to me. I just don’t know where to start. My goal for raising my son is to raise a God-fearing, honest man who is who he is all the time; but I wish that I had help… his father’s help. God I miss that man. How can I teach my boy how to be a man when I am clearly not one? When he gets old enough, I have to explain to him why his daddy isn’t here, I definitely can’t sweep that away. I don’t even know how to start that conversation. Who will help me tell him that his daddy is dead and never coming back? I don’t speak to my own dad, so I can’t even have him step in. Who will teach my son how to shave, or how to stand up and pee? God said he wouldn’t put more on me than I could bear…so I must have faith that I can do this, right?

I try not to post too much on social media now because 1, I don’t want people to know that I’m borderline depressed and 2, I don’t want to post acting like I have such a perfect life out here with my son. Work is going well, my new church is awesome and my financial situation is great, but I am extremely overwhelmed right now. I barely speak to Tynika or my other friends. I’m over the graduation day arguments, but I just need to focus on me and Darren for now. That’s also why I haven’t met up with Semaj yet. He’ll text every now and then to see how I’m doing, but I just keep the conversation short before he gets the chance to invite me out. I’m not ready yet!

I cry myself to sleep sometimes and most days, I just want to be left alone. There are lots of people around me, some with kids too, which is great of course, but I still don’t want to socialize for some reason. I just want to be with Darren. I know who I want to become right now as a person, but it’s hard to be her when I am still getting rid of that masked, clean up woman I used to be. It’s time for me to break that generational cycle! So metaphorically, my house is actually clean and I don’t have to hide my mess…but for some reason I don’t even recognize my own place anymore. Who am I? I have to figure things out. 

 

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