Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dear Mama

 Dear Ma,

You get on my nerves. 

A lot. 

And even though I live 800 miles away from you, you still do a fantastic job of aggravating the shyt out of me.  So as of this past weekend, after my ten thousandth attempt to help yo azz, I'm gonna just step away from you for a little while.  We just don't need to talk for a minute.

Yeah, go ahead and sigh and huff and puff like you always do.  Roll your eyes and slap your hand on the table in protest.  Chuckle lightly to yourself to minimize my opinion in your mind.  Just like you always do.  But deep down...deep down you know why I'm taking this position....

Because I'm tired of you always giving an opposing thought to what I talk about and causing an argument.  It's ridiculous.

Because I'm tired of you reaching back bringing up old shyt TRYING to make me feel bad or guilty about something I did or said twenty days  --- or even twenty years ago.

Because I'm tired of you crying broke and how you need help....

And that's the big thing.  This broke shyt with you.

...but yet you continue to shop and run up your damn credit cards like you Diddy's mama. When you called me last week to give you a credit card to get your car fixed, I wanted to scream.   Will it ever end?  I wanted to scream because I knew that you just went to Express and charged $300 worth of stuff on a card that my brother is paying the bill on.  I suspect that what you bought were clothes for the manipulative little 15 year old that you are caring for too.  So he can be fly during the first week of school.  Yeah, that same 15 year old who told you, 'Fuck you' when you asked his azz to get up to go to school one morning.  But despite his lazy ways and him getting shitty grades, you continue to shower him with the finest shyt.  And then you call me crying that you need money to 'get your bills down' and that your car needs fixing????  

Every since I was little you been crying about money and not having it.  So instead of using those bad experiences to encourage your kids not to get in the same predicament, you never told your kids about saving and credit.  Never uttered a word about it.  Instead you and my father would fight over money and then when he would go to sleep drunk, you would take the money out of his pockets.  Hmmm.  But now that I think about it, I guess you didn't know how to teach us about saving and credit.  You never tried to know how yourself.  And I would give you a pass for that past stuff if you would at least TRY to get yourself together now after your kids are grown.  But you won't.    You continue to subscribe to the same old practices, and stay standing in the same debt hole.  Just like when I was a little girl.

Then what kills me is that you turn around and try to tell me about what I do, and what I say ain't right, and I shouldn't have said this and I shouldn't have said that.  And I let you do that.  All the f*ckin' time.  And I sit there itching to remind you of the crap you did to me to have my shyt f*cked up just like yours.  Like that time that I came home from college and saw the mail, and saw a credit card bill with my name on it. 

I open it up and it had like $2000 worth of whatever charged on it.  I couldn't believe it!  A card that I didn't know shyt about; a credit card that you had applied for using my social security number without my knowledge.  And then when I asked you about it you yell, "Don't worry about it, I'm paying the bill on it!"  But that wasn't the point Ma!  The bill should have never existed in the first place - especially when you already had one of the same credit card in your name.  Yep.  TWO  MUTHAFUCCIN CARDS TO THE SAME STORE.  So you were running up two damn credit cards - one in your name and one in mine.  Now what the f*ck sense did that make?  Yeah I remember that busted look on your face when I closed the account that day too.  And I never got an apology, explanation, or anything on that.

Oh and let's not forget the bank account I had.  The one that the bank shut down because you would take blank checks from my checkbook, and do some kind of shit between my account and yours until the bank figured out they were paying your bills without money really being in your account.  I felt like a fool and was so embarassed when the bank closed my account, bounced all the checks I wrote, and told me to basically get the f*ck out of the building.    But if I mention that you'll say in an exasperated voice, "Oh my lord.  You need to go see somebody.  That was 20 years ago and you STILL talking about that?"  Um, slavery was 200 years ago and we still think that was wrong; 9/11 happened ten years ago and that still was just as wrong; so time doesn't lower the reading on the "THAT WAS F*CKED UP SCALE" for what you did either.  So, yeah I'm still talking about that Ma, because as long as you try to make me feel guilty about something I did or said, I might just have to remind of the crazy shit you did too.

Maybe I should be like my brothers and just say, "That's just the way Ma is".  Why bother trying to make sense of what you do, or trying to help you get on a better path?  I should just give you whatever I can muster up and let it go.  But that's hard when my nature is to share what I know to help others if I can.  And plus I don't like giving anything to someone unless they earn it.  I mean I throw a dollar to a homeless person here or there, but other than that you ain't gettin' shyt outta me without us discussing why you're in my face begging.  Sawry.  That's just the way it is.

Ma, I seek to understand you.  I really do.  When I come home for a visit, I am surrounded by excess.  I see three refrigerators full of food, and it's only you and one teenager living in the house.   

Three refrigerators of food + Two people = Waste

I ask, "How are y'all gonna eat alla this before stuff starts to get old and expire?  It's only two of you here."

"Oh well I give some to your brothers to take home."

So you buy stuff to give to other people, but yet you're strapped for cash?  How generous of you!!!

(insert side eye)

Bullshyt.  You don't give it all to them.  Cuz my brothers don't always take that stuff.  I look in the closet and see eight bottles of body wash, six tubes of toothpaste, five bottles of shampoo, and five boxes of cereal (and at least two of them will be expired). When I ask you why you have so much of an item, you answer (annoyed),

"Well I had some coupons and yadda yadda and it only cost me $2.00 a bottle." 

Ok cool, then use up the shyt and THEN buy more.  Must you buy it, and KEEP BUYING IT, just because it is on sale?  But no matter what I say it doesn't make sense to you.  I remember you saying that when we were little and too young to remember, there were times when you had no food in the house.  Maybe that experience did something to you, because now it seems that you pack the cabinets and refigerators to capacity.  You make sure you don't look "broke" to everyone else, but in reality your finances are in bad shape.  Typical shyt.  I hate to say this but Black people stay frontin' and looking 'fancy' but have negative net worth and have no idea what their damn credit score is --- cuz they scared to look at it.  Just like you.  When I suggest to pull your credit report you say you don't need to cuz you ain't trying to get nothing.  Huh?  Don't you want to see if it is accurate?  See what's on it?

"What for?"  You calmly reply.

And this is where we kids learn bad habits.  Watching our parents.  Listening to our parents.  Yeah I had f*cked up credit too when I was 20 something, and would buy shyt just to look fly.  Never saved a dime.   It got to the point where I got tired of the letters and the phone calls from creditors that I decided that I didn't want to live like that.  So by the time I was 23 I had finally seen the light and learned about finance charges and credit limits, etc.

I know that you think I'm stingy and tight with my money.  Truth be told, I'm only tight with you.  I want to help you, but just giving you money doesn't seem to be the way to help you.  I try to discuss your income and what you pay out, but you always say,

"I'll be okay if things didn't always come up." 

Ma, how long have you lived on this earth?  Sixty-two years right? I think you know that things will always come up, and you have to put yourself in a position to be able to handle surprises as best you can.  I mean I had to file bankrupcty (which I never told you) but that was because I was bust over business debt.  Not over clothes and cars and 'things'.  But I betcha now I am ready for what comes my way.  Learned the hard way...but I LEARNED.

Sigh.  But you know, it ain't even about what you do with your money.  I'm tired of you saying "Why don't you do this?", or "You too old to be doing that?"  or your favorite phrase, "You worry too much.  Just move on."

You say that about everything.  Move onDon't worry about it.  So the next time you call me with a money crisis I'm gonna say the same thing - don't worry about it.  And I bet you get pissed.  That's because the "don't worry about it" mantra only applies to me and not you.

Honestly, I think having money woes is a lifestyle for you.  Sixty years and counting; never learning from the past.  And you know, that would be cool if you wasn't inviting everyone else into your financial cesspool with you.  If you were dealing with all of this yourself then I wouldn't even be writing this.  You want people to help you pay for the wide screen TVs (which I don't even own one, still watching my cable ready joint), the Air Jordans, the new furniture.  Even last week you said,

"Why don't you take one of these credit card bills and pay it off for me?" 
Again you are not Diddy's mama, you're mine. 

Ma if I was confident that you wouldn't use the card again I might consider helping on that.  But I know you.  You will just use the shit and run it back up again.  I think when my father died and you saw that some of his cards got wiped out and that excited you.  Now you have subscribed to the "Keep-Your-Card-Balances-High-Because-They-Get-Wiped-Out-When-You-Die Philosophy".  I've heard other older people say that too.  "Keep your card balances high!"  But think about that.  Yeah you won't owe the money to them, but how will you enjoy that reprieve when you're in a damn casket DEAD?  I mean seriously.  I'd say file bankruptcy if you're thinking like that.

Truth be told, I cringe when you call me because no matter where we start, we end up arguing about everything from family matters to money.  But GIVING you money just because you're my mother goes against every cell in my body.  I know that sounds f*cked up, but that's how I feel.  It's hard for me to help anyone who does nothing to improve their position, be it mother, brother, father, aunt.  I just can't do it. 

Very few people want to see their mother struggle in her older years, but I got my own life and my own bills and my own shyt to pay.  I know that sounds ungrateful because you raised me, but I didn't ask to be here Ma.  Straight up.  Why did you put me on this Earth anyway?  To grow up, work for someone else until I'm writhing with aches and pains, and then pay bills for the rest of my life?  Like you?  So okay now I'm here, and trying to live my life, and yet I still hear you singing the same songs that I heard when I was young.  Maybe I do sound ungrateful and it makes me sad to even feel this way, but I do.  But I don't have it like that.  I'm not Diddy, or Beyonce, or some big shot engineer or business owner.  I run the rat race (much to my disgust) like millions of others.  Why in the world would you try to push your burdens on your children?  I don't have money to just GIVE to anyone.  And being 'family' is not enough reason for me unfortunately.  Sounds foul but that 'family' thing does not sway me or blind me to the fact that you are still a 'person' that needs to change up a few things. 

So Ma, please be on notice.

I don't want to hear about the 15 year old needing $250 for driver's ed when his azz has f*cking C's and D's on his report card, especially after I found out that you didn't even LOOK at his report card at the end of the school year to see what he had.  But you will scream and holler at him if he gets his Jordan's dirty.  WTF?

I don't want to hear about your damn car when you kill it every day going to clean up somebody's house light years away in another town, when I know that you can find something closer.

I don't want to argue anymore either.  I'm tired of you talking over me.  I'm tired of talking over you.  I won't be home for Christmas, because I don't want to see that tree with stacked up presents for the teenager who to me is the "Best Dressed Slacker" at his high school. 

I just need to stay away.  We don't get along, and if you won't say it, I will.  I'm done hearing about your madness so let my brothers take over on that. 

Sometimes you older people think because y'all got mileage on you that you know everything. Well lemme tell y'all, you may have SEEN a lot, but a lot of you don't know shyt.  Doing the same things and thinking the same thoughts that you had 40 years ago. 


As long as I am on this Earth, I will try to remain progressive and open to new things.  Yeah I went bankrupt, but I've worked hard to get my shyt back on track.  My credit score went from a 560 after the bankruptcy to 683 in a little over a year.  I always check my report, and will dispute anything that don't look right.  I ain't broke anymore, on my way to saving $20K, and I will never go back to that 'broke' life again.  And I won't let anyone else make me broke either.  That's for damn sure.

Even my own mother.

So when you're ready to listen to me about a credit counselor or bankruptcy then holla at me.  Otherwise...I'll leave you to your own financial mess.  Maybe you'll win the lottery again, don't tell anybody about it  until you spent it all, and then buy another $500 vacuum cleaner/rug shampooer.

Anyway Ma, I love you, but I can't deal with you right now.  I doubt if you understand that but then again...when have you tried to understand anything that I have said lately?

(throws hands up)

Good luck.

Your kid.

(I do care for my mother, and because I do I'm falling back for a while.  We just aggravate each other.  Now watch, she'll hit the lottery now that I've decided to do this.  Haha.  Oh well.)


  1. "I hate to say this but Black people stay frontin' and looking 'fancy' but have negative net worth and have no idea what their damn credit score is"

    "Sometimes you older people think because y'all got mileage on you that you know everything. Well lemme tell y'all, you may have SEEN a lot, but a lot of you don't know shit. Doing the same things and thinking the same thoughts that you had 40 years ago."

    ^^^^Now this right here will preach!!!

    Ooo chile I can't tell you how both of these things irritate me til no end. {HUGS} EOTP. The greatest thing about everything you have said is that you have LEARNED from your past. That is the best promotion one can earn in life; to make a mistake, to learn from it and look forward.

    LMAO @ the lottery comment!

  2. Deep. I can't say I've *personally* had those issues with my mom, but I have other relatives who stay stuck in their old ways, but are always looking for help when their old ways get them in trouble.

    It's emotionally and mentally draining, so even though it seems "cold" to cut off contact with them, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

  3. AMENNNNN Family will suck you dry if you allow them. Ugh. Stay strong.

  4. Hope to see you in the chat tomorrow (8pm eastern)! =] We're debating it out with the boys and we love what you have to say.

    <3 FWB

  5. I feel you on this entire post. Even though my relationship with my mother is closer. I am pissed because I feel like she hasn't done as much as possible to get her stuff together, she has made poor financial choices. When its time for her to help me I feel like its a burden, when I want to move out on my own its a problem and "I'm not ready" even though I would be ready if I didn't keep helping everyone else out... sigh I just listen to kanye "can't tell me nothing" and continue to raise my financial IQ.

  6. Wow.. that is deep. I can absolutely feel you on the "why do our momma's do crazy shit.." spiel. She took our a credit card in your name?! *tears* that is crazy! Welp.. I think the 800 miles away sounds good to me!