who was gonna love me? who was gonna make me feel good?

i watched precious last night, alone, at the local indy theatre.

i didn't go in fully sober; in the absence of company, i enlisted a glass of red wine for backup.  i didn't think it'd be personally triggering, but i knew it'd be painful.  i didn't relish the idea of weeping--if it came to that--in the presence of a bunch of art school kids.

that said, one of the many things that stuck with me was mary's (played by mo'nique) breakdown when confronted with the reality of precious' abuse.

{SPOILER ALERT - descriptions of some pivotal scenes follow}


when asked what she had to say about her daughter's story, mary could only reflect her own pain. hearing her ramble, "who was gonna love me? who was gonna make me feel good?" made me wonder about the countless women who've opened the way for their babies to be neglected, hit, degraded and worse by a man or other partner who was supposed to make them feel "good".

how unworthy do you have to feel? how much love do you have to need?  how many instincts do you have to override?

precious cuts to the core of some of the ways in which black folks have been deprived of their humanity, self worth, agency and dignity.  it is painfully astounding the literal and figurative shit we'll put ourselves and our children through for glimmers of love and happiness, real or imagined.

those glimmers led mary to both despise her only child and waste her own life and spirit on a battlefield of pure pain. it's evident she feels precious "owes her" by treating her more like hired help than a daughter--even before she explicitly slaps her with the "you stole my man" line. seeing mary toss abdul like a football at the very moment she feels any tenderness for him is heartbreaking.  mongo's disability makes her a persona non grata; the level of understanding and patience needed to help her thrive only reminds mary how much love she's missing. 

how often do we see this play out?

this is the kind of insanity that i hope, one day, to do my little part to try and stop.

this probably isn't the last precious entry you'll see. there's more that hasn't sunk in, maybe because i haven't allowed it to.

i know i've known precious. more often, i've walked past her in the street. mary, too.

these are my people. their pain could have been mine. nearly all of us carry those scars, we descendants of slaves. we, brutalized and dehumanized, poor among wealth-worshippers.   cut off and disconnected even in the midst of tidal waves of information.

so, once again, we know the dysfunction.  

how can we begin to truly heal?


Max Reddick said...

You know I have asked myself the same questions many time over. I have seen so many women (and men) put their children in harm's way or simply allow their children to be mistreated all in the name of love. And I don't really understand it.

Recently, someone said something to me about the many interpretations of love. People see love interpret love in many different ways, and love has been overused so many times until it has become trite and without any real mean.

But it stands to reason that there are many who so truly desire love of any form, that they are willing to do anything or put up with anything just so they might experience anything resembling it.

mindful said...

I'm actually not allowing myself to go and see this movie... *shrugs* I guess I don't want to replay it over and over and over again in my head and then fall victim to tears.

sugar sista said...

@max - people are starving for so many things...connection, love, peace, meaning. if someone or something doesn't pull us out of the illusion(s) early and show us what's deep & real, there are all kinds of traps we can fall into. another angle is survival turned into dysfunction. maybe i'll touch on that next time i write about it.

@mindful - i hear you. i avoided it for awhile myself. however, i've been hearing that it's leading many folks to their own breakthroughs & getting deep discussions started, so i'm not mad at that.

(im)perfect_black ☥☥☥ said...

@ sugar et. al., i don't doubt that a subset of black folks are somehow stimulated by this abomination masquerading as cinema. i have even gotten that theme firsthand from a social worker friend. but, apparently, black folks are mostly staying away despite the oprah superlatives...(this might change as the oscar hype heats up).

i don't have to go to a theatre to be profoundly troubled and moved by our collective black pain. but i also routinely bear witness to numerous acts of love, kindness, and empathy that go unmarked in my 'hood (i'm from inglewood), challenges notwithstanding. like the crackhead who pushed my disabled mama home to safety several months back. or the stranger who posted flyers around the 'hood after finding my mama's wallet containing $50 dollars...

i see resilience against formidable white supremacist odds and grievances against our oppressors that stretch back hundreds of years. on the other hand, oprah, tyler and the white folks who actually control the movie industry are peddling tired stereotypes and despair (or buffoonery in tyler's instance). kzs

Anonymous said...

I agree with this post. I personally grew up in a environment in which I could very well relate to what she has been through. As well as I knew countless kids growing up who suffered some of the same things. It is very very sad. It is really a cycle.

I know there has been a few complaints about the movie and how it casts black people in a bad light yada yada yada but this really is the untold story of the experience of women white, black or whatever all over this county and further this world who are and were too ashamed to say this is what I am going through or have been through.

Just the thought of Precious' experiences conjures up my own past pains but it also gives me a sense of relief knowing that I was not alone.

People who have dealt with these types of situations in life almost feel it is normal and grow up feeling so unacceptable to those who are supposed to love them as well as to the world at large. While some grow up to become stronger women others sadly become Mary's and just continue to feed the cycle.

sugar sista said...

@kzs - thanks for summarizing the other side of the story. i fully agree with you.

@toya - thank you for sharing. i definitely hear you on the notion of it being an untold women's story, yet another reason it's so important to see/discuss.