*One thing I’ve learned is that no one is exempt from being treated unfairly at one time or another, but some have experienced it to a much greater extent.
As I leaned over in the theater, to tap my father, to have him join me at poking fun at my mother, for crying in the movie, I realized that he too was crying.
Middle-aged at the movies with my retired parents; watching a movie portraying racial tension, obviously took them back in time. Something I couldn’t really relate to, at least not on their level.
My father raised, as a child, in the deep south, where children were seen and not heard, and knew better than to speak unless spoken to. You obeyed your mother, while still being mischievous, but blatant disrespect was never shown, and if it were, it was handled immediately. Unlike the everyday negotiations I observe parents, in this day and age, engaging in with their children, with the children usually coming out on top (that’s a whole separate post)!
What does it do to a child’s self image and sense of power to see parents being mistreated on a daily basis or hearing of stories of generations before them who were mistreated in Germany, Africa, Asia and almost everywhere you can imagine…or can’t imagine. As a child, required to eat in the back of restaurants, or be spit on and called out of name.
You work from the age of 13 or 14 to help support your family, and watch as uncles come home during lunch breaks, while working at the meat packing factory, to empty out work boots they filled with meat scraps, during the work hours, to be cooked for dinner, and stored in the ice box for future meals.
And we complain almost to the extent of boycotting, because ‘Whole Foods Market’ happens to be out of stock on the organic entree we ordered in advance, for Sunday brunch, where everyone you’re trying to impress will be in attendance… What a selfish, entitled, and spoiled nation we’ve become.
Grandfathers, who worked long hours to support a family with many children. Grandmothers whose smiles and generosity never faded in public, but must have shed many tears behind closed doors; a Joan Cleaver of sorts, only without all the amenities.
Now you are expected to grow up a respectable citizen claiming inner strength and confidence. You work toward that perfect dream; all the things you read about. You try to find a good spouse, create your own nuclear family… nuclear family, in today’s world, I believe that term needs redefining,- Wikipedia- anyone?…All of this while vowing to make a better life for yourself. What exactly does a better life mean if the love of family was already there? Hmmm…, and if the love wasn’t there? Or have we been taught that a better life has nothing to do with love?
The best chance you have for survival, in this world of human misfits, is your personal belief in self.
Don’t be afraid to identify your true self. Admit your failures, successes, hurts, excitement, passions, and dysfunction… your family… yes your family, it’s all part of the process.
Life can be so awesome, but it’s up to you to seize the opportunity. What are you waiting for?!
Yes, this is life; your time, your space… but the expectation is that you Find Your Place.
Until next time…
Japhena Kay Musson is a Los Angeles based Voice over Artist and Speaker. She holds a degree in Communications with an expertise in Entertainment and Broadcast Media. As a columnist she sheds an honest light on life as she sees it, and encourages others to identify their true path on this journey called life. She prides herself on being happily married more than 16 years and the mother of two wonderful children. Connect with Japhena at www.Japhena.com and email [email protected].