Friday, 18 March 2011

Battles of perception - Free Your Mind!

How often to we cage ourselves within prisons in our mind? What's your self-built prison that noone else can see? 
Maybe it's a 'cant do' mentality or 'I'm too fat/old/ugly for that dress' kinda thing. Maybe it's 'my voice doesn't sound like Yolanda Adams' handicap - when really, if you just faced the fear, grabbed hold of the altar and sang your heart out -  people would be blessed with the most amazing voice... don'y curtail your ministry!

I don't know what your prison is - what holds you back in certain areas or hinders you from following a particular dream - but while rummaging through the attic of my mind the other day I came across something very peculiar.

My upbringing was strict and strait-laced. I can't remember my mother hugging me until I graduated from university (hahah). Looking back, I find it amusing the way my younger brother and I would dodge the congregation or nip to the loos when they would have 'Love day' at church; or the pastor would instruct us all to 'turn and greet one another with a brotherly hug' lol, physical contact was so foreign and embarrassing!  Eventually however, we were 'schooled' and by the time our children were born (we each have 3) we had vowed to shower them with affection so they wouldn't be awkward teenagers like we were. (applause)

Imagine my surprise then to find myself withholding public displays of affection from my youngest baby!!!!

I love Paz, she is just the cutest lil thing. As were her brother and sister before her. And honestly, I love them ALL equally, BUT right now she's the baby so (at home) she's the one likely to be sitting on my hip, pulling at my face or getting raspberries blown on her tummy. When the older ones were younger I did the same for them. They have all been MY BABY in turn. So why is it that when we go out I subconsciously tone down on her kisses and cuddles?

Answer: It's the power of perception

A lot has been said (mostly in jest) about Paz's complexion. While our firstborn, the Golden One (pictured below with her grandmother) is dark chocolate personified;  
and God wrapped the little prince in maple syrup and fudge (yummy), 
our final princess looks like she came out the oven too early, with her sandy brown sugar skin and gingerbread hair. 

For months friends and family made jokes about her true paternity (probably the local chinaman) as she is much lighter than either myself or HRH who himself once joked that she might be an albino cos he couldn't see why she was so pale. NO OFFENSE TO ANY SUFFERERS OF ALBINISM. 
I must admit that during the early stages, even I, despite my education, did at one point wonder if those UV lights they kept her under inthe neonatal ICU had bleached her out (Laugh with me here :) ).

In my humble opinion, Paz is cute  - all babies are of course, but I do bristle when someone says :'oh she's so pretty and light-skinned' especially when my 'darker' children are about, especially because it makes it seem as though perhaps she is pretty BECAUSE she is lighter...

When My son was born, certain people accused me of favouring him over the Golden one. 
"Mummy's like their boys you know", 
"you're not like that with her"

That made me mad because I treated the lil prince exactly the same as I treated his sister WHEN SHE WAS HIS AGE, but with them being 12 yrs apart of course I am not going to treat them the same NOW! 

If he topples over at 11 months of course I will cuddle him, and fuss (a little); if she topples over I might not bat an eyelid unless she has sprained her ankle, dislocated her knee or gashed open her thigh (ROFL). She's big enough to get up, dust herself off and move on without needing mummy to kiss it better or wear a 'mr men' plaster!

But those comments have clearly seeded in me because I temper my public displays of affection for baby Paz in fear that I will be told: 
' See you like her the best cos she is red' 

Aaaargh! And going back to the self built prisons: noone has EVER said that to me, EVER! 

It's all in my head!!!!  

Yet, I'm modifying my behaviour and denying my pumpkin her cuddles all based on the fear that I will be perceived to be favouring this child over the others: how dumb is that???? Stupse!

Anyway, now that I've caught myself doing it I can stop it cos it's just silly. 
Even if ppl do think that so what? I know it's not true and it's not my business to battle with other peoples thoughts. My job is To make sure that my children: all 3 of them know and understand that they are loved equally.

They are individuals and I love their individual shades of chocolatey sugary goodness. And that's all that matters.

Free your minds and the rest will follow!

WELCOME TO THE TAPESTRY OF ME.... These are my words and this is my journey, from 'there to hair'! My life, the lessons learned in and through love and loves ones; and my hair affairs.


Mrs Mac's Corner... said...

Great thought provocing post a lot I can relate to the no shows of affection as a child and the urge to over affectionate my children now. There is a 10 year gap with my two and I am always mindful of being over affectionate with the baby for fear of my older one who is dealing with the wole 1st year of secondary school fitting in drama will see it! All we can do is address these things as we become aware of fact Imma make sure I get my cuddles off my big one today! x

Bajan Lily said...

Hmmm - nice one Mac, that 'gap' is a real tricky one innit? I know exactly what you mean there.

Kay exquisite said...

Wonderful post thanks for sharing. I think that fact that you have noticed what you have been doing and are working to correct it is awesome. Many of us choose to stay in denial instead of facing fact and fixing self created issues. I think the only thing that really matters is that your children know that no matter what their complexion they are all extremely beautiful (which they are) and that you love them all equally which from your post is completely evident.

I am 6 years younger than my sister and honestly I got showered with love from everyone including her because my mom instilled in us the vital need for sibling unity. I know all too well what it is to grow up in the islands and have siblings of lighter complexions, they ARE looked upon as prettier in many cases but that’s why it has to be instilled in them that their beauty goes far beyond the exterior and that each exterior glistens and gleams in its own right but true beauty comes from within. It’s funny how in a nation ( all Caribbean countries) filled with such lush Chocolaty coatings that we still drift towards cooler complexion, lighter eyes and wavy hair and consider that beauty. You would think the beauty of deep black brown eyes and deep drown or sun-kissed hair, tightly woven around itself, atop a head with skin so deep the whiteness of their teeth just makes their face sparkle would be the desired beauty.

Be Blessed and again thx for sharing :)

Bajan Lily said...

Loved your comment Kay, it definitely hit home on many levels :)
And it IS funny - because you WOULD think that in countries where dark skins are plentiful and regularly visible in positions of prominence and power - that colorism would be negligible or relatively non existent. *sigh*
My nieces are all light skinned and they still have 'issues' but for them it's which one of us has the softest/longest/waviest hair! Shake my head... their mum is ALWAYS telling them off lol.

Kreyola said...

Sigh...this post hit home more than you think. My daughter has my complexion and didn't get her dads complexion (since he is very light skin) and the comments that I hear is, if she only she took her dad complexion. My daughter doesn't know much about the color complexion that society has and I hope she doesn’t, but I'm still fear when she grows up, she will hear it herself, and then I wonder will she still love her skin. It beyond me why people think light skin is better but they do. It’s up to us to show are children that we are beautiful no matter what your skin color is.

KristinaHH said...

I would love to have rainbow children like yours. It is so Cosby Show...You should have a few more to see what shades they turn out.You do know you that you would just be embarrassing golden girl by hugging and kissing her in public, right? Okay cool. TTYL.

Titus 2 Thandi said...

Now this is one of those things that has been all over.(We don't have the 'good hair' syndrome here in SA) I've heard someone calling themselves ugly BECAUSE they are dark.What?? I hope no-one ever makes any comments about your little princess being beautiful due to her skin tone in front of the other children.Ugh, the things we have to deal with!

LotusDoll said...

Great post. Great lessons on love. Now that my baby is 14 and doesn't want my hugs in public, I miss it so much. The display of love is endearing to watch and to participate in, I love seeing a mother nuzzle their infants or children of all ages. Your beautiful children are adorable. My mother is deceased and what I wouldn't do to have her kiss my cheek again!

Anonymous said...

Definitely a thought provoking post ... well written and deep. I agree with you - perception can and does colour our actions - more than we care to admit! (*blush* - wait, do black ppl blush? hehe!)

But I also agree - we do need to free our minds. It makes perfect sense. I make sure my two boys know I love them and I cuddle and hug them often - even although it's become linked to when I leave them to see them the next day :(

Well, I enjoyed the post. Keep on loving! :)


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