Tension and Love – A True Story



Author’s Note:  Today is a very important persons birthday, my mother.  She gave me life and I will always love her.  I wanted to write something that reflected on our own personal journey that can make us all reflect on our own personal love stories with our mothers.  I have too many conversations with people about the tension and love that they experience with many times, the person that they love the most.  All relationships are not created equal.  Many times the bond with our mothers are full of love, pain, fear, growth, happiness, sadness and care.  But what I always remember is that I LOVE MY MOMI!!!  Enjoy!!


excerpts of the poem in this post were taken from an Audre Lurde Poem entitled The Winds of Orisha

…I will become myself

an incantation

dark raucous many-shaped characters

leaping back and forth across bland pages

and the Mother Yemonja raises her breasts to begin my


near water



This love story began over 30 years ago when my mother brought me into this world.  I guess it was a little bit longer than that if you count conception and the simple idea that my mother loved and longed for me and my brother and sister for some time.  I grew up fast learning the lovely lessons of childhood.  It was in the first years of my life that I only encountered love.  The feelings of pure awe that a child feels when encountering the amazing mysteries that your parent is able to unlock.  I was a happy well taken care of child and besides a few choice encounters about wanting to eat frosted flakes, having to sit and get my ultra nappy hair combed and wanting to go down to the “dirty girls” house down the street there was not much tension.  Then I started grow


I think all female children go through a stage where their mother just doesn’t understand them.  She feels as if her mother is trying to oppress her.  Many times the mother is just trying to shelter her child from the REAL WORLD or trying to hold on to the precious control that she used to have over the child for just a bit longer.  Or sometimes, it’s just hard to accept that their role in this dear child’s life has changed.  These times weren’t as tense as stories I hear.  I was mostly a compliant child with a plan for foolery outside the bounds of my mothers watchful eye.  This is also where I began to in a very real way come into my own.



This land will not always be foreign.

How many of its women ache to bear their stories

robust and screaming like the earth erupting grain

or thrash in padding chains mute as bottles

hand fluttering traces of resistance


My mother and I entered a special moment when we seemed to be in a place when I moved away that would allow for growth on both of our ends.  But this was the first place that I learned how strong the tension that I felt she created really was.  I left home at the old age of almost 21 ready for the world.  What I reflected on was all the things that made me whole, that made me pragmatic, that made me strong enough to stick up for myself, that made me bring the crazy when I really needed to came from my mother.  I learned to love my mother as her whole self.  I started to learn to love me as my mother already did, unconditionally.


After moving closer to my parents, I found it hard to exercise my freedom as a REAL adult.  Tension between me and my mother grew but of course it would.  Isnt this the point in time when many of us clash with our mothers.  We find it hard for them to accept our authority as adults.  They still try to exert their influence on us as if we were 4, 10 or even 16 years old.  But as a woman we make our own decisions, we are vocal about our role in our lives and the role that our parents play, especially our mothers.  We wonder why they do things that only a “mother gene” can explain (in my mind all mothers get a gene that switches on when a child is born.  sometimes this makes mothers do the oddest things that only other mothers can understand – true story…take a little time to reflect on your own mothers behavior, your friends mothers behavior.  share a story and you will see a trend).




Not too long ago, my mother and I bonded over an experience that will stay with us forever.  We shaved our heads together after the passing of my grandmother.  Now something funny happened.  I had a chat with my friend at a concert about how I thought I might shave my head and try to get my mother and sister to do it too.  When I got off the train (only a couple of hours later), I had a message from my mother asking me if I wanted to shave my head.  I told her how I was just talking about that with a friend.  We sat thought and reflected silently on our connectedness.  I got home and my mother cut my hair.  I cut hers and we were bonded once again.  See hair is a big thing to many women.  It has also been a big statement in my family.  I always didn’t feel as connected to my mother as my sister.  They started growing their locs together around the same time over 20 years ago.  They pierced their noses at the same time over 15 years ago.  I felt a little left behind.  A little left out.  I pierced my nose late.  I started growing locs late.  My sister had the same style as my mother (i just couldn’t handle all the colors sometimes, yes believe it).  But as I grew older I realized just how much like her I was.  My friends pointed it out.  Our family members pointed out the similarity in our faces as I got older.  My mother even thought I was her in a black and white picture where I was wearing an old dress of hers.  But this experience brought me closer to my mother than I could have ever thought.  We are now connected because of a simple transition that was so much more than just letting go of all the energy, love, hate, sorrow and happiness that our hair carried.  My mother and I moved from our phases of Love & Tension & Love & Tension into a new phase.  I am not sure what it is but it is the beginning of the next chapter of OUR LOVE STORY.  Thank you for teaching me.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for creating a Love story with me.  I LOVE YOU MOMI & Happy Birthday!!! ACHE

…instead of  an answer to their search for rain

they will read me

the dark cloud

meaning something entire

and different.

When the winds of Orisha blow

even the roots of grass



Peace B. Still.



~ by travelling womanists on August 24, 2011.

2 Responses to “Tension and Love – A True Story”

  1. Wow, I love this post! Happy B-day, Mama O!!!!!

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