Who U choose to lay with is your business.
Who u choose to mate and create a family with is, well, something different. Considerably one of the most important and critical decisions you’ll ever make.
Unconscious choices can and will have damaging effects generationally.
I should know - my grandfather was a pedophile and I had a front row seat as a key witness to the madness he left behind.
While I wasn’t abused directly, members of his family were.
Some physical. Some sexual. ALL emotional.
Unfortunately, my mom would fit into the sexual abuse category.
At age 11, she called me to her room, grabbed my hand, looked me square in the eye and said, “If anybody ever touch you, u tell them no and then u tell me immediately.” I was confused. What does she mean by “touch.” She went on. “My daddy started touching me at 11 and now you’re 11 so u need to know.” “Ok mommy,” was all I could say. Then went on to play.
The first stages of hate towards him take root.
As more painful memories resurfaced through her counseling, she’d share more details with me then and as I grew older. She was my loving, strong, capable mother mostly, while also a wide-eyed scared little girl at times.
I saw it in her eyes - I still do.
The times she’d lash out at me for a small infraction, or push me away as I’d go in for a hug.
The indifference. The cold.
Still, in my eyes she was magical!
Many times she scolded me saying, “Girl, you’re not responsible for me, that’s not your job.” While I was relieved and agreed, I couldn’t help it. “If only she wasn’t brought up in such a shitty environment she’d have a chance,” I processed.
I wanted to save her - her abuse became my abuse.
And since I never really knew what to do, I just hated him more.
My grandmother married him. Birthed 7 babies with him and stayed until death did they part --- a man who disrupted the innocent, fracturing very basic traits necessary for maintaining healthy relationships, like trust and boundaries. Her own mother beat her so often that it became a norm for her.
Sadly, she picked a man who did the same.
“WHAT U DID TO HER YOU DID TO ME,” I’d shout out enraged to an empty room. Mostly, during the “I’m-trying–to–save-her-but–she‘s–difficult” times with my mom. His pedophilic ways and its consequences were overwhelming.
It became the cross I chose to bear.
How can a man I dont recall meeting cause this much pain and damage?
I had to write him a letter - the hate got heavy!!!
I needed to Cuss. Him. OUT. I needed him to hear my cry. I needed him to know how angry I was.
And how unfair it was to rob me.
By the time I arrived, I got a fragmented version of her.
If I could go back in time, I’d be a trusted adult in 1960.
I’d take my then 5 yr. old mother, look her in the eye, and tell her how powerful she is. Cuz she is.
Perhaps it would’ve given her little-girl self something to grasp on to when the inevitable took place.
“You were born powerful” are the opening words of my first children’s book “The Soil is Good.”
I find I’m always speaking to her, AND Her. Mommy & Grandmommy.
Or, that my following book, “Women & Wisdom - Stories to empower our girls” – filled with wonderful stories from women sharing wisdom & powerful life lessons!
The sort of books I would’ve given to my mom that day as an adult in 1960!
I’m always speaking to her.
SELF WORTH is the sole motive and driving force in my work, and the inspiration behind my projects.
When you know you’re worthy, choices are made that align to whatever label you’ve assigned yourself.
I accepted nearly three years ago what she had been telling me all along, “you can’t save mommy.” Being pregnant with my own child, the cross had gotten much too heavy.
Instead of feeling stuck, sad and helpless I decided to use her AND her voice as a guide BECAUSE she’s magical!
With patience, I see it and appreciate it.
I got IT and my daughter got IT.
SOOOOO… Try NOT to fuck up your bloodline because your esteem is low. Wait. Read some books. Empower yourself…. and then think about having some babies! Pro-create from the neck up, NOT the neck down.
Thank you for listening.
If you or someone u love have been by affected by sexual abuse, listed below are leading organizations dedicated to support healing to those affected by such trauma and violence:
https://www.safeshores.org http://dcrcc.org/ http://rachealsrest.org
Lets have a conversation.
I’ve been developing a documentary detailing my 7 year journey around my pregnancy losses, interviewing other women/couples who’ve shared the same fate and opinions from medical professionals. I’ve been waiting to complete the project, package, and present it to u professionally. While I’m still working on that I’ve been encouraged by many to just “start the conversation.” There's been a constant voice, friends & even strangers pushing me to talk about it, publicly... seriously. As passionate as I am about awareness surrounding the subject of cervical support & losses due to it, I felt it sort of...personal. The desire, however, to share with other women who’ve suffered and met the same fate as I have seem more important than an intrusion on my private life.
Plus, whenever I choose to share (i do my best not to cry) I find I’m more resilient and better for it.
Most of y’all know I gave birth to a perfectly healthy girl Dec. 21, 2014. My Auset Sophia Jones! I was that girl that naively thought whenever a woman gets pregnant, thats a guaranteed baby in 9 months. I now know otherwise. I’ll speak candidly about this because I’ve LIVED it. I know what its like to hold your baby in your arms and theres no life. I’ve held 3. All 3 I actually birthed into the world. I prepared my life as any expectant mother would upon hearing the good news, “You’re pregnant.” I experienced labor, contractions, a c-section, twin births...everything thats required to give birth - except I went home without my babies. Both times. When people would see me, I’d wonder if they saw a “mother”. Deep down I knew I was one but there was no outside evidence. Only I noticed the breast milk stain on a shirt-slow leaks from my breasts with no wanting mouth to feed. Recuperating from a c-section can be painful and is a slow process. The patience required to heal physically AND process such heartache was nearly a stretch for me. Percocets & sleeping pills helped me escape temporarily. I wrote a lot & I got really quiet. I needed answers. There was no announcement of any sort. I sometimes even pretended “they” were here. Yes, I’d be in my car driving and pretended they were in the back seat - where their car seats would’ve been. “Hush Azza, No Solomon” I’d say. I’d take a look in the backseat from my front mirror as if they were really gonna respond. I’ve been guilty of lying. I’ve talked to strangers about “my children” as if they were here. I’m just being honest. I’ve had some serious conversations with God and why was this “happening to us.”
Heres a letter I wrote to my twins soon after their birth on May 14, 2011:
My sweet azza & solomon,
its been 3 weeks 5 days since i gave birth to you both. i had NO idea labor would be so...well, traumatic. 6 hours. im certain the entire floor must’ve heard my desperate screams & moans! with all my might i attempted breath control, mastering my thoughts, and even spoke to u both with the hope that i could possibly keep u inside of me.
although i knew intellectually that 21 weeks and 4 days was too early to have u, somehow i hung in there, thinking this would be different. u guys proved to be miracles before u even got here. azza, your sac ruptured, but then a few days later, it was back to normal. mommy had to have 2 cerclages one month apart, and u guys were perfect soldiers during surgery! even in my most grave moments, u guys always looked great on the monitor and your heartbeats were music to my ears! yes, it was tough being on bedrest at home and finally, in the hospital. 2 weeks in the hospital with magnesium, trendelenberg (basically lying almost completely upside down in the bed), the IV’s, constant blood being drawn, progesterone shots, etc..whew! i endured without complaint, not because im strong, but because of the gift i felt god had given to us. u both became my focus. my priority. plus my body no longer belonged to me...u guys won!
may 14. contractions. no mercy. solomon, my son, u bore down first. LORD, HAVE MERCY, i felt u RIGHT THERE. We agreed that you’d have to be born but we would try to keep azza inside. again, my faith never wavered. not even a little bit. to help me stay calm, i kept repeating, “be of good cheer, i am here, be not afraid.” over and over and over again. i held tight to gods unchanging hand. solomon came. never bursting from his sac. i looked at daddy. he shook his head no. i knew what that meant: u hadnt taken a breath. so i said to my baby girl, “ill give u my breath....just breathe azza, breathe baby, i’ll give u my last breath.” she emerged, following her brother. i looked up at daddy again. same fate. both of u. my twins. my babies.
my heart aches. oh how i love u & miss u so very much. ill never understand why.
i recall a quote: “it is presumptuous to question god from our limited unitary intelligence”. fortunately, im not looking for answers. no, not this time. im so honored and blessed that u chose me. when u do your very best, theres nothing left to do but continue to stand - to move forward.
Azza and Solomon, the Presence of God is where you are. Through our love, you will constantly and always be connected to me. no fear. no worry. for whosoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he. I choose to continue trusting in Him, for He will never fail me. I know that God is just and good.
While I miss you, I rejoice in your onward journey, for life is progression. I choose to see you dwelling in a state of indescribable beauty; where only joy, love, and peace resides.
My sweet loves, Thank You and be blessed; for we will meet again. But for now, keep visiting me in my dreams! So whenever I think of you two and issa I say, "God is with them, and All is well."
loving u forever,
mother of issa, dec. 12, 2007
mother of twins, solomon and azza, may 14, 2011
mother of Auset Sophia Jones, Dec. 21, 2014,
she took a breath!
Lets start the conversation.
I pray this touches the woman who’s stuck, angry, hurt, understandably because of such loss.
Never give up. Lets talk. I’m walking with U.
This photo of grandma and me stares back at me everyday fixed on my fridge via magnet.
It's one of my favorites of us, as there isn't many. Today I went to grab a snack, saw the pic in it's usual place and I stopped.
I looked and studied the pic in a way I'd never taken the time to do before. I saw ... details.
I had an overwhelming feeling to suddenly talk to her. She passed in 2005.
Immediately, I sat down and began to write.
I notice my hand over your shoulder.
The knuckles have a slight bend to them-not just hanging limp. I’m actually holding on to U.
Your hand is wrapped around my waist, each finger represents, as if you’re also holding me - tight and on purpose.
Even your left breast nestles comfortably in the curve of my side.
My hips settle into yours with no space in between.
Prior to this, I wasn't sure of our connection. I only saw u every now & then.
From the stories told to me you were not happy upon discovering mom was pregnant (at 17 yrs. young) with me, and didn't treat her well, initially. Perhaps you passed those same feelings to her firstborn, I surmised. I don't know.
BUT, I loved u nonetheless, cuz well you're my grandmother.
I'd see you periodically during my life and we always enjoyed each other. I delighted in your company. You taught me grace & manners without a single word.
Today though, I know for sure it doesn't matter how few times I was in your space.
I know your touch and your squeeze on that day was deliberate. Purposely done so that I will always know theres no space between us.
That one day I would see this and that it would free up any doubt I may have had.
You're holding me up as any sound matriarch would.
Theres no space between us.
And there never will be.
Your FIRST granddaughter,
Copyright 2013. Tori Johnson-Jones. All rights reserved.