My long-dead mother visited me on Thursday. Not as a ghost or in a dream but through your comments. I could feel her reach through the page and lay her hand on mine as I read with trepidation each of the words you left behind.
This is a miracle. Yes, I’ve experienced my mother’s support in the past and even felt her brush against me a time or two. But this time, this time…it was different. This time she came back to life through Chellie.
As I read how Chellie would not forgive Iyanla until she apologized to me, I sobbed. She was demanding more from Iyanla than I ever dared do. She demanded a rightness in the world, a fairness, that I have never known, or felt I deserved.
I learned way too young that life isn’t fair and here was a woman, my friend, demanding more from it. Yes, I get that fairness is virtually impossible since what you deem fair and what I deem fair may be miles apart but her willingness to ask for it on my behalf moved me in ways I have rarely known.
Bottom line: She stood for me (right or wrong). She was a mama bear protecting her cub. She wrapped me in her arms and said in a clear powerful voice, “Stop it. Say You’re Sorry,” to anyone who was hurting me.
In the past, that would have frightened me. It would have signaled ‘danger’ just as I had been taught growing up. You stand up. You get smacked down. You speak up. You get strangled. You think you can leave. You die. That’s the message I learned.
My own mother didn’t stand for me after my father wrapped his hands around my neck, when he refused to give me the time of day, when he looked at me with disgust. She didn’t say, “Stop it.” I choose to believe she didn’t know how. She, too, was scared.
When my parents died no one came forward and said, “I will protect the girls, keep the safe, love them.” My sisters and I were left to figure out how to grow up on our own. And so I learned no one would ever have my back. I’ve even said those exact words in workshops, to my best friend, to the ethers.
When someone has said those words to me (Thank you Carrie), I have brushed them off as “That’s nice but you don’t mean it. Not really.” And I believed it. Absolutely. Until Chellie. Until her words ripped off a layer of protection that had sealed my heart from ever needing, or wanting, that type of human support.
This is me doing the work of Fearless Living. Sometimes you don’t even know you have a fear until it pops up demanding your attention. Chellie’s words wouldn’t let me sleep. They flooded me with tears at every turn. They were opening my heart. Yes, I get they could be seen as unspiritual. Yes, I get you are supposed to forgive and forgive again. But that’s not the point.
When I read Chellie’s words it was if my mother had come to life. Chellie was being the mother I know my mother wanted to be. The very human mother I desperately needed. The mother that believed her daughter’s words and then stood for her, regardless of what other people thought.
With Chellie’s words, the windows of my heart flung open and I was breathing in love and safety as never before. My mother’s love lives and you know what, she has my back.
My mother came alive Thursday as Chellie. And I am deeply grateful.
In the next few days, I will talk about how God was my only source of safety and how it undermined my ability to give and receive human love, how my sister Cindy was scared for me and my take on gossip.