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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

WINDOW PAIN

Windows are the reason why I love women. Windows are why I have compassion for women, why I get frustrated with women, why I believe in women & why I will never give up on women.Windows have allowed me to see the love, joy, hurt & the pain within women but also the strength that women have to carry on with their lives. I would always sit quietly & watch people from a window. With a strict family, I had no choice so I learned to zone out by looking out of the window.
As a young girl part of my childhood was spent watching people in the neighborhood from the window up above on the 6th Floor apartment building. I grew up in the projects but the projects never grew within me. I would sit to watch the world from my window allowing my mind to drift.

Some people had it bad, some had it worse & others seemed like life was good. From the window I saw the most beautiful summer days where it looked like the sun shot sparkling rays into the clouds. I heard music playing, laughter in the air & I use to love to see people put baby powder around their necks.

I'm not sure why I got a kick out of that but it tickled me. I wasn't allowed to watch television or to go outside unless I was going to the store, to church or to school. Watching people on the roof was like having premium cable channels because the things that occurred on the roof was made for cable television.

I watched drug dealers lean over the roof & look down, around & then directly into my window at me, as if to say "I see you little girl....watch yourself now". I thought we all had it bad because when I looked out of the window I saw more pain than joy. I wasn't happy inside my home but life didn't seem too great outside either.

It taught me that I had to create my joy because life wasn't going to hand it to me. I had to find a reason to smile & be happy just like everybody else who was outside walking around smiling trying hard not to focus on their pain.
I watched black people fight their own people. Some were fighting because they didn't like the Africans. That would be my people because I was born in Africa. Those fights were like "West Side Story." Some Africans thought they were better than African Americans & some were angry because they were not accepted by African Americans.

I use to think does anybody realize that we all live in the ghetto where the depressing toxic energy consumes us & kills our joy. Nobody is better than anybody right now! It was a slow death because any choice we made, wrong or right could destroy & effect our lives forever. You can be going to school & get shot or you could be buying or dealing drugs & get shot. What's the difference when we can all get abused & shot???

I watched both girls & women sell themselves short, some for prostitution, some chasing or fighting for the love of boys & men. Others exposed their babies to crime while they abused drugs, some fought off their violent drug dealing boyfriends.

Many dressed up to walk around & show off how cute or pretty they were. Some would fall for whatever boys & men were telling them & sleep around with somebody's boyfriend/husband when the girlfriend/wife went to work. I watched so much brutality at the hands of police who treated human beings like they were worthless or beneath them.

These images stayed in my heart, soiled my spirit & made my soul sick. When it was too much for me I would switch windows. It was better than dealing with cleaning or reading the bible for hours to ask Jesus to save me. Yes, those were my other options!

Watching the streets was like watching the news. You always saw the innocent, hardworking good people wearing a look of disgust on their faces. They were disrespected & forced to deal with crime & ignorance as they tried to earn a living & protect their children.

Nothing worse than watching single mothers hold their heads high as they struggle to survive domestic violence, verbal & emotional abuse. I wondered why they kept having babies by men who didn't respect them & gave up on their children.

As I got older I was allowed to sit in front of the building or play handball by the ramp across the street as long as boys were not around. This means I never really got to play outside much because boys were always around so that rule didn't make any sense to me.

I can recall missing out on warm sunny days & long summers nights. Sometimes I wished I failed my classes or got left back so I would have to go to summer school. I thought at least I would be outside with friends where I could breathe, feel, touch & taste life instead of sitting in the window.

I'm sure somebody would have put a hit out on me for failing school & "SHAMING" my family, so I did the right thing out of fear. I didn't like school but it taught me a lot about the mindset of adults who worked with young people.

I didn't like church either but it was certainly entertaining in a way that made me question religion, sinners & saints. I prayed to be assigned window seats in high school so I could watch people & pass time. I attended a private all girls high school so once again I was blessed with the opportunity to study young girls who would grow up to become women.
The only male besides delivery guys that I saw from the time the bell rang for class until we were dismissed was Nando. He was the school janitor & my buddy. He made me gain more respect for men. He was friendly, polite, respectful & a good soul. He told me I was smart & very special.

When I asked him why, in a very thick Spanish accent he said "Bindu that means you have a heart that will shine a bright light on this world. You don't look down on people & you try to be good to people all the time when most teenagers could care less." I never forgot that but I thought that is such a simple thing to do & the best way to live so why can't we all be that to each other.

All of these experiences allowed me to learn people my way. I would sit & watch people's lives play out like a movie, do my chores, eat dinner then go to sleep & look forward to looking out of the window again. I would watch people for a long time & learned so much about their personal journey.

I would witness their moments of laughter, anger, joy, tears & heartbreak. I would see who was having another baby & who thought they were the father. (Momma's baby....Daddy's maybe). I've seen a whole lot as a child that made me question our purpose as women.

Are we really here to please men, birth babies, make men the focus of our world, chase careers that may not fulfill us so we don't feel less than, be in relationships that don't satisfy us, get married as if something is wrong with being single? Are we here to be the mother & the father or pretend like life is great so our friends won't judge us as we die slowly from within?
Maybe we are here to smoke love into life, dress, drink , drug up & party our sorrows away temporarily because sometimes our reality just sucks. I've seen women hold their husbands down, bring home the bacon, care for the kids & create a community of sisterhood in the midst of chaos.

I've watched women break each other apart only to let go, forgive & pick up the broken pieces to heal each other's hurt. Women always find a way to piece life's puzzles back together. The way we bounce back in life makes us stronger & wiser if we get the lessons. This is why I have no doubt that women are powerful.

We need to learn our lessons & use our powers to fully understand that we are treasures in this world. We must reflect love no matter how much hate breaks us down. When we no longer give into behaving as if we are powerless we will understand that our purpose is to shine brightly in order to make our world a better place.

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