We all are a product of our childhood, the good, the bad, and the ugly. My Uncle Khalid once said, “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one with their words and life traumas.” The moment that I disqualified myself was because of three reasons: church, Christmas, and feeling irrelevant from a child. Growing up, there was a powerful belief that was taught to me that if you were good, they rewarded you for Christmas. That God loves the obedient child. It was what the Sunday school teacher embedded in my head. Imagine a ten-year-old little girl waking up on a Christmas day with no tree, no gifts, and on top of all that, a mother is not around on this special day.
I listened to my Aunt Cookie days before calling around to borrow money to buy us a gift and search for my mother. To hear the quiver in her voice and the tears falling from her eyes still breaks my heart. Children who weren’t hers, nor related to her by blood, and she was seeking to make this day special. Looking to the right of me sharing a bed with my brother, who was crying while silent night by the Temptations, played on Hot 97. All that kept racking my brain was how did I displease God. Did I not pray enough? Was I not nice enough? Did God not love me? It is the same trauma that repeats itself daily every time something goes wrong in my life.
My mother on that same day came at 11 a.m. and told us to get dressed. She reminded us, “When my friend asks you what you got for Christmas. You better tell them you got a lot of stuff and smile. Tamyara, you better not start crying and Kareem be on your best behavior. Or else I will tear your ass up when I get home. Now smile.”
My brother and I felt the first sign of several things: we were poor and disqualified. We had to hide our truths and pains at an early age. To top it off, we went to my mother’s friend’s house and when she opened the door, there was the tradition of Christmas. If nothing else confirmed that God and Santa didn’t like us, that did. Gifts overflowing, food, money, drugs, and drinks are on the table. Every gift that my brother and I wanted this young lady and young boy had. “What did I do wrong, God?” I thought, the words echoing in my mind like a haunting melody. God and Santa…