I was always "Camille, her parents are deceased." I always knew that I would receive a yearly sum at a certain age for a specified time. I always knew that I would inherit my paternal grandmother's duplex at her death. That is what I was groomed for by my grandmothers. Who was I really? What did I really want?
I have only gone through the motions in my adult life, never truly living, only having brief moments of brightness amidst darkness. I had survived a childhood trauma, reaped financial and material benefits from the trauma and later used those resources to numb any residual pain leftover from the trauma. That is all.
This came to a head in Alameda. I had real money and property without a real job in a changing economy. I was also new in town and open to meeting new people, particularly inside bars. Some people, especially men, couldn't handle me. Tensions grew so thick that I had to stop frequenting a coffee bar or else. It only went downhill from there.
It literally hit home when one of my neighbours rejected me. He made it very clear that I did not belong here. This rejection, coupled with minimal peer support and weak connections to my family of origin sent me over the edge. I gave up. I disappeared into a dive bar, drinking and flirting with the socially alienated. I grew bloated and belligerent, a far cry from anything my grandmothers had ever groomed me to be.
I sealed myself into a vacuum here at home when this failed, calling forth my right livelihood through various prayers and rituals. I worked my way through the wine cabinet and chocolates, steadily clearing out the clutter and getting organised. I quickly attracted a boozy romp with Belle's dad. This triggered a return to eating local, organically grown foods (Belle's dad used to live in a house located along the farmer's market.), and, eventually, Belle. Who am I really? What do I really want?
I am Belle's mom. I am recouping a sense of self through motherhood. As challenging as it is, this is work I must do without her father, my parents or his. This is work I must do in Alameda, despite any adversity I once experienced as a young [black] woman with real money and property without a real job. I am stepping out from behind "Camille, her parents are deceased" and finally being reunited with my creativity and playfulness, something which became repressed in my maternal grandmother's apartment. I am becoming my authentic self.