i wanted to write again to let you know that i've come to understand a few more things.
it was hard to be you. i remember that. home was fine most of the time, but outside could be a nightmare.
you were teased and tormented.
sometimes you didn't like the right boy and wouldn't let him feel on you and he called you ugly.
you didn't always know how to protect yourself.
some of the boys you liked were into your cuter, smaller friends instead. and that hurt.
you had secrets.
you were often alone.
i'm sorry about that.
i'm also sorry about hiding you away because you remind me too much of my vulnerable, sensitive true self.
i didn't realize i had so many fears. now that i do, i'm going to work on them, even though it frightens me, because i love you, and i want you to feel free enough to express yourself. i also need you to be strong enough to help me when i need you, because you have knowledge and wisdom, too.
being in a situation where you were constantly invoked had the power to silence me--even as a grownup. at first, i didn't know what was making me so uncomfortable, because the fears were buried way down deep. down there, you still needed to be accepted and loved, and you cowered in the face of anything you thought would deny you that acceptance.
but the world didn't see you. the grownup was powerful and undeniably beautiful. she could defend herself. she wasn't afraid to be smart and outspoken, but you were: raised to be a good girl whose precocious nature did not override her responsibility to be respectful and defer to her elders.
it was a good lesson because it brought me closer to you. but it also meant saying goodbye to some things, too.
so let's keep moving, ok? i'll hold your hand. i promise.
obviously, this was a lesson that i needed to experience/learn from in order to grow spiritually, and i would not change anything about the way i went about my 2+ years of formal practice.
however, after quite a bit of soul-searching, i've realized that this is what reverting back to a somewhat literal parent/child dynamic brought up for me.
my ideal relationship to my godparent would be that of a mother to a midwife or doula: the universe is doing the actual birthing, with my godparent as the integral, earthly representative/assistant of that process.
while accessing and overcoming the aforementioned fears is necessary, continuing in that dynamic would have been problematic. it also makes me wonder if others have experienced the same when entering the practice of the traditional african religions as new-world/diasporan adults.
here, many of us are being called to the orisa/lwa/abosom with 20, 30 and more years of knowledge, understanding, and life experience intact.
respect is paramount and most certainly due (when earned). i have much to learn, and i am humble, but i have already been raised--not only by my parents, but an involved extended family. i need the power inherent in that acknowledged, respected, and implicit.
conversely, i now realize that my inner child needs to be on stronger footing before i can choose another spiritual home. it is imperative to keep that kind of silence from descending upon me again.