A Dedication To The Women Who Got Me Through Life
When you get to a certain age and a certain stature, you begin to look forward AND backward at the same time. And clearly, you stay entrenched in the present. Forward vision is a result of the possibilities that have yet to manifest themselves. The past, for me, involves dealing with what could have been or what has already manifested itself.
Mostly, I have current-day appreciation to those that unwittingly support me as I transverse through life.
I have long wanted to write something dedicated to the women who got me through life.
Vernese Edgehill, The Center For Black Culture
So, it took me sometime to realize this, but Vernese Edgehill may have saved me from the the gaping, jagged jaws of mediocrity. I’m sure you don’t know who Vernese is, so let me explain. When I was a student in my my early 20s, Vernese acted as the head of the Center for Black Culture at the University of Delaware. Now, the CBC (also proudly my initials) was the place where all the Black students got together in solitary. Verse and Sheila (RIP), the secretary, looked out for us, taught us how to conduct ourselves in business, and acted as guidance counselors (who we actually loved and respected) as students at a majority white school.
Vernese was also a surrogate mother to a lot of us, as I was away from home and didn’t go back very much. She never chastised me for my wonderfully messy college dorm room. Now, I am certain Vernese knows that the line between genius and megalomaniac is a fine one.
Hanifa Shabazz, Owner Of The Drumbeat
A Muslim sister took me under her wing as I was being cultivated into a collegiate revolutionary. Honestly, I never loved college as an institution. I just loved the vast resources at my disposal like the Mac Room, where all the Apple computers were. I also loved the radio station, where I posted up every Friday afternoon.
I managed to link up with Hanifa, who ran a bookstore with her then-spouse Hanif. She also ran a paper called The Drumbeat. Honestly, I cannot recall how, but we connected. I loved the fact that Hanifa meant I was able to plug into a “higher power.” I was a student activist that ran the Black Student paper called The Pamoja. The Pamoja became an insert in The Drumbeat, increasing our circulation to one of the biggest in the state. More importantly, Hanifa offered many, many lessons. We were fighting on-campus racism and needed guidance on all fronts. Hanif got us ready for the bigger war…a lifetime war against injustice.
My Strong Women Friends
I want to name them all of the women who helped me through one of the toughest times in my life, my divorce, but I can’t. So here are a few: Seandra, Gina, Elon, and Holly. All of the relationships are completely platonic. However, during that period, I needed to talk my way through life. A journal wasn’t getting it and, a therapist would have broke the banks with all the time I needed to talk my way through my circumstances. So, to those ladies – I salute you. I haven’t dated too crazily, but a couple of times, I was linked to very doting women that understood my frail condition and treated me accordingly, even when it was tough love. My homeboy told me these were my “angels of mercy.” They were there for a specific time, knowing it was limited. However, they may have saved my life had they not been there.
My Daughter, The Little Teacher
People probably know this, but even before my divorce, I had issues. My daughter gave me the strength and resolve to push through everything. She’s a real life inspiration that has taught me – the father and man – how to be more loving, caring, empathetic and patient. She teaches me the value of unconditional love in adulthood.
Mom, The Master Teacher
My mother is the adult version of my daughter – a master teacher through action. For example, my mom survived my father’s death and managed to flourish like no widow I’d ever seen. She’s managed to do better for herself than even when my dad was alive, fiscally speaking. Every so often, I want to have deeper conversations, but I really play observer. Every now and then, she will speak something that I will use, but more often, I watch her moves. She was a teacher (now retired) and he continues to do so in her everyday life. There are times when I encourage my mother to write a book to share with the world, but she is happy right now just to give to her sons and grand kid, I think. Maybe one day, the whole world will learn what I have from the woman who gave me life.
These women and young ladies are the gifts that keep giving. They continue to give me life and strengthen me with their spirit on a daily basis.