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Dear Neo Blaqness,

A couple weeks ago one of my girlfriends email me how to get to your page. At first I thought you was a comedy because what she sent me was so funny.  I spent the whole evening laughing at a lot of your stuff.  But then I had to my babies a bath and to bed.  I was feeling a little down so I went back to your page looking for some more laugh.

I went to some of your sexy stuff but it was too much for me trying to go to bed with no man after that. Then I started reading Love Don’t Love Nobody and went to read I Refuse to Be Lonely and by the time I got to the ones about the Leaves Falling I was just crying.

Neo. I’m lonely and I’m scared because I am lonely. Every time I get this way I feel like I do something more stupid to mess up my life. I got four kids. My youngest is two and my oldest just turned six. Two of them I don’t even know who they daddy is because I was way out there.  I like sex but I knows I wasn’t on nothing . I guess I was looking for something to call mine. I wasn’t looking for a relationship from the mans I was with.

For a while I was happy. Had my two kids and my job and the dollar store getting help with daycare and my rent and doing my thing.  The club sometimes with my girls and we watch each other kids when we wanted company. For real, I thought that was my life.

But then a few years ago when all the jobs started going bad, my hours got cut and I needed some money.  I couldn’t let my babies have a bad Christmas. So I knew this dude and I let him use my house to handle some business a few times. Next thing I know he locked up. I’m locked up and my kids with my mamma. They let me out for turning him in. I just knew him because somebody said he could give me some money but hey got ten years and I had his baby and he don’t know.

After I had the baby I was really scared because now I did have no job. This time I knew who the baby father was because I wasn’t fooling around like that no more. But since he in jail and I didn’t even know him or his people because he wasn’t even from around here it aint no use me saying nothing because I aint gone get nothing out of him.

I did get a little more money from the state but it run out before the month.  So my mamma say she know this man. Only he was marry and had problem with his wife. I met him and he was nice to me. Gave me money and stay with me sometimes because he work night time. This last baby his. He say it not.  He got a real good job but he might lose it if I say something.

I just feel like I “F” up my whole life. I look at these kids and all I see is my mistakes. I love my kids but now they getting old to ask questions. What do I say?  I got four kids Neo. All by myself. I gets no help. Don’t no mans want me. I swoll up after this last one. The mans that do talk to me only want one thing. But sometimes I get lonely and I want it to.

I am using my girlfriend computer and she helping me write this. So please excuse me if this don’t all sound right but I hope you can understand my question.  I hope you decide to answer and we will keep looking to see if you do.

Myra

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Dear Myra,

The best decision you can make in life is to make a change because you know inside it is the right thing to do for yourself. I read your letter with a heavy heart feeling the pain you hold inside. We could spend a long time talking about all the things you have been but I am sure there are enough people out there already doing that and probably won’t stop talking about you til the day they die. So why don’t we, instead, talk about the things that you are.

The first thing your letter told me about you is that you are a loving mother. I know this because you actually care about what your kids think. It might have taken then growing up a bit more to force you to grow up and really see what you were doing, but seeing yourself through their eyes has changed you a lot, I can tell.

No child is ever a mistake. Each child is a choice. A child is a choice we make whenever we decide to have sex- even if birth control is used we know there is always the chance. A child is a choice we make when we decide to give birth- you could have chosen to abort any of them. A child is a choice we make when we decide to try to be a parent- you could have given them up for adoption. A child is a choice we make when we feed them their bottles, change their diapers, and comfort their cries- you could have neglected them and let them starve.

Baby somewhere along the way, even if every pregnancy was a result of a poor choice, the fact that they are healthy and still with you, loving you, and calling you mamma, has more than made up for that choice. I say choice because a mistake can only be something we didn’t mean to do. Since you didn’t say any of these men raped you and you admit to being “out there” , none of these pregnancies were a mistake. They were a result of your choices.

Poor choices are a part of life and of living and of learning. We all make them. The kinds of poor choices we make are usually based on the challenges of where we come from and the opportunities that are in front of us.

An inner city girl with a mamma trying to keep food in the house might be left alone a lot or have to deal with men who are not her father in and out because her mamma either works lot s of hours or depending on some man to help pay the bills in return for certain favors.

So the challenge she may face is a mamma too busy trying to help the family survive and not paying as much attention to what she needs to teach her daughter. The other challenge may be that the men her mamma hooks up with also be trying to hook up with her. So the girl looks for the opportunity to capitalize either by following her mama’s lead learning to use men or she looks for ways to escape- usually by hanging out at somebody else place.

But a young girl in the hood don’t hang out at nobody’s crib long without paying the price. Sooner or later she is expected to give in to sex.  Sometimes it’s hanging out with a group of friends at somebody house who parents don’t care what goes on; sometimes it’s that older guy with his own place showing her some attention, or even that married guy who seems to make her feel special- it all feels better than she felt at home because she feels desired and wanted even if she feels inside it might be for all the wrong reasons.

But a hug is a hug even if it is in the middle of having sex. Attention is attention even if it is a lie to get in her pants-the loneliness needs to be satisfied and, in her mind, if giving in to sex helps ease that pain then it really isn’t about the men or even the relationship, it becomes about whatever she had to do to ease the pain of loneliness.

Most girls I know didn’t get a reputation as a ho because they just wanted to see how many guys they could have sex with, they simply had sex with as many guys as it was necessary to ease their pain of loneliness and never even thought about the number, or the risks, or even the number of kids, until it all just got out of control and to the point where it was so messed up that guys didn’t want to deal with her reputation or all the kids and the ones who didn’t care were usually lower than dirt.

I’m not saying this is your story. I’m just saying yours is one of a million that happens all the time. You said yourself that you knew you wasn’t on birth control. You said yourself that you wasn’t looking for a relationship but something to call your own.  Baby what that tells me is that you started out looking for love but figured out fast that the men around you was bout one thing so you just learned to play the game. Maybe for whatever money you could get out of theses dudes. Maybe for sex. Maybe for both.

But what is very clear is that you were never going to trust any of the men you were with but you felt like if a pregnancy happened, you would have something and someone to care for in your life. By your own words, the reason you  screwed around was no mistake. You wanted to get pregnant to have someone to love. But you didn’t want to have to deal with any of the men because you didn’t trust them. So the best way to do it was to just have sex until you got pregnant.

Being, as you say “way out there” was your way of making sure you would never be sure who the father was and also that none of them would ever complicate your life by trying to get too involved. You wanted it all to yourself so you created the circumstances that would make sure no man would step up. And you did it twice. Neither of the first two children were a mistake. They were probably the most well planned out of the four.

As you said, you had your life together with your job and two kids and was happy just kicking it now and then and sending a man home because they probably always seemed to be on some bull and you still didn’t see any of them as worth your trust. Your problems probably started when your kids became old enough to start getting attached to the dudes you was bringing in and out. They started doing what all kids naturally do whether you want them to or not- they was looking for a daddy.

You mentioned that you and your girlfriends babysat for each other whenever you wanted some company at home. That tells me something too because those arrangements don’t happen by accident. Situations like that are always a result of complicated circumstances.

It sounds  like you slipped up and maybe started to let somebody in- you know, kicked it with him a few times and thought you felt a connection and next thing you know you let down your guard and then your kids knew who he was. When he turned out to be a playa and you had to kick him to the curb, it took a while for that hurt to stop because your kids was asking for him. You and your girls probably had similar experiences and decided to do the booty call day care thing for each other so you could still get your groove on without complications.

As for the dude you say you let up in your house- sounds like a drug dealer to me. You played that off as business and tricked yourself out into believing it was all about the Christmas money.  That way he wasn’t a threat to your heart and could be up in your crib around your kids even though he was a threat to your life and your freedom and you ever seeing your kids again.

You passed it  off so easily that I almost missed the fact that you had his baby.  That was the pregnancy that made you feel stupid because you claimed your mess on the first two. This one you hid the facts.  You may have told yourself you was doing it for the money but if he got 10 years, he wasn’t some punk regular street dealer. He had to be smooth. Probably had some bling  and girlies on speed dial. But since he had to operate on the lo- you had this fine brutha with money up in your crib all to yourself.

Business became pleasure. You rolled the dice and ain’t got crap to show for it but another child. You was too rapped up in him and the power and the money of his world and the street credit of him being up in your crib to really care about the consequences.

Since you could never claim him as your man because that was not the deal, you probably told the kids yall was just friends or even made him a relative but you had no problem having sex with him when they went to bed. Yall probably never did anything in front of the kids and they probably never saw him in your room. That’s what makes child number three the hardest. Now you got a situation where you know the baby daddy but you really don’t feel like you can say much about it because you got caught up knowing full well who and what he was and what the situation was only supposed to be.  Again, a stupid choice, but child number three still not a mistake.

You knew what you was doing and I don’t think you mean you not gonna get any money out of him as the reason you not saying anything. You know you was dealing with a playa and you don’t want to face how he might answer if you ever tell him.

Child number four told me that the little example I wrote earlier just might be true. The fact that your mother introduced you to a married man tells me that your problems began with her and since you was already old enough to have had 3 kids, then she been like that for a long time.

Dealing with a married man is  a tricky thing emotionally because you now become everything you hated and felt you could never trust in a man. You became his dishonesty and even though you were not the thief, you took what he stole from his commitment to someone else.

This coward owed his wife the truth before he got with you. A married man will give you the sweetness, the care, and attention, you may have never felt from a man in your life.  He helped with your bills and was probably the first man who actually slept with you close after sex instead of just getting up and running out.  Baby that is the game a married man plays to buy your silence because he knows he got to keep you a secret so he gonna pay close attention to keep you happy so you never get an attitude and call his wife. But he also knows that with your reputation, it’s your word against his and he thinks nobody would ever believe you or since he came through your mamma, you wouldn’t ever tell on him.

This last kid is the one that got you really messed up inside because this man made you feel something. He held  you like you wasn’t just being sexed. He made you feel secure because you could turn to him for help. And now you realize he was only buying your silence… and it looks like it worked. I’m betting the real reason you ain’t said nothing is because you can’t say it without ticking off your mamma and you might need her in your life right now because you got four kids. The whole situation just feels jacked up to me.  But, again, even child number 4 is no mistake. It was a choice.

Even now you are choosing to dwell on whether a man wants you instead of the fact that you have chosen to bring four souls into this world. It doesn’t sound to me at all that your life is messed up because of these children or that they are mistakes. These children are the reflections of your choices that may finally show you how to save your own life and get your act together.

When you look into the eyes of child one and two and you one day have to explain to them where they came from, tell them that they were a result of love that you were seeking for yourself, and that is what their being in this world has taught you to find.

Tell child number three that you were lost trying to find a way to buy happiness and in their presence was given the lesson that there is no greater gift a mother can give than love.

And with number four simply say “you were born from stolen love. And now I pledge to spend my life making sure you know how to give it back honestly.”

You have been many things Myra and I know you are not proud of a lot of them.  But, you love your children. Now you have to love them enough to be alright with loving you. And you may not want to believe that there is much worth loving about you Myra. But there are four living blessings that surround you.  Four angels who live to sing your praise.  Four guardians who will one day protect you. Because you have learned from the errors of your ways.

This is not an easy answer, I know. And with the oldest being six and the area you live in right now, your situation will be one that will stay on my heart.

Thinking first of your kids, find positive people and things to get them into. Every free program that can get them into new experiences- something at the park or the zoo or at one of the schools even if it is a free concert- it don’t have to be black or in the hood- catch a ride and go.

Open their minds to a world outside of the burdens and struggles of home and you will also find new opportunities you never knew existed for you to grow. People will notice, and answers will come.  It will also help you deal with the loneliness  until what should be, will be.

I’m a spiritual man, not a religious man.  Whether you call on Jesus, Buddah, or Allah makes no difference to me.  What I do know is that the Creator does not ask what book you read or in whose name you pray before showing you a blessing. All blessings are reflection of the love we give. And from where I stand you’ve  got it coming back to you four times over.

No mistakes here. A seed whether deliberately planted or sown by the wind does not change the fruit it was meant to bear. Be blessed Myra. Because you ARE blessed. ■