In one of my posts THE ORPHAN/ARCHETYPE FAMILY DISCONNECTION REVISITED, the author made reference to a proverb ‘God looks after fools and babies’. I believe this saying is so true because when you are innocent and by innocent I mean naïve, unworldly, walking through the world with a child’s eyes. It is so sad that man sees the need to control and dominate, not caring who this hurts. There is a saying ‘only the strongest survive’ but I believe the strong should look after the weak, after the meek, after the mild.
A young guy came to see me tonight, along with a friend of mine and knowing who I was he asked me ‘Obara who is my guardian angel?’ and so I proceeded to tell him. I told him so much about himself that tears ran from his eyes which was a little embarrassing, because being someone from the street sitting beside his brethren and having tears running down his face was more than a little embarrassing for him. He said to me ‘Obara Meji, all that you have told me, I have been feeling all my life, but I did not understand any of it’ I knew even in my youth that something in me spoke and told the truth at all times but I could not connect what it was. Now I should say here, this is not ego on the part of Obara Meji by telling you this. I reveal this to you because in the moment when he said that, I saw him as a child and I felt the need to hug and comfort him. As a mother I believe all children of this world are mine. When I am driving and a child is crossing the street, I make it my point of duty to stop and allow the child to cross, often times waving down other cars to do the same so that child can cross safely. I do the same also for people who are disabled or seem as if they are mentally challenged. No one in this world should be abused on any level but unfortunately that is not how the world is. We should all feel some semblance of empathy when another is distressed; instead, most humans suffer from schadenfreude, which is an unnatural pleasure that is derived from the misfortune of others.
I got pregnant at an early age, a tender teenager still in high school. It brought great shame unto my parents and they dealt with me accordingly. Because of getting pregnant early, I met hell in my household with my mother and father and was told I had to leave. I wanted nothing to do with the baby’s father; I hated him too because of my one and only indiscretion,… the first time I had ever been with a man, bam!! I got caught. When I realized that I was pregnant, I knew the trouble I would be in and so I went here there and everywhere trying to abort the child before my mother found out. The first clinic I went to, I didn’t have to have my parent’s consent. When it became my turn, I chickened out and ran away. The second place I went, I was minutes away, almost on the table and then I backed out telling them I had to go outside for a minute and that I would be back. I never went back. What plagued my mind was the what if’s…what if I died, what if I could never have another child, what if God was upset with me, will Jesus hate me ? The third place I went was Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn and while I waited in the ward, I heard a girl complain on the phone that the baby was dead inside her and she was in terrible pain; I left.
I mustered all the courage I had in me to tell my mother what had happened to me, which as you can guess, she gave no good reaction. She went to the baby’s father and demanded money so that I could go and have an abortion. Together they came up with $550 which they gave me to go to the village to seek an abortion; again I went. By this time I was about 3 months pregnant; the first thing that was done to me was a sonogram to determine how far along I was and while I waited for the result, I touched my stomach and said ‘little baby, I am sorry, I don’t want to do this to you, please forgive me. I am young and not in control of my own life, so what I am doing here is not my real intention, but, if you were meant to come, could you please give me a sign’. People, I Obara Meji, do declare that I am telling you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God… I felt something like butterflies fluttering in my stomach. Startled, I sat up, back straight. I asked again ‘could you please give me a sign’ butterflies fluttered a little stronger; I turned to someone who was sitting beside me and told her what I felt. The woman said ‘baby that’s your child moving’. I got up and left, walked around SOHO in Manhattan for a minute, stopped in a diner, ate beef stroganoff with noodles – paid for out of the abortion money, went home, gave my mother the change and told her that they said it was too late. The disappointment on her face I will never forget. There began a road of hell for me.
I was an outcast, treated almost like a leper; often times they would cook and not give any to me at all. I don’t want to destroy my parents here on my site, I do understand why they acted like that; they had high hopes for me and I forgive them. I was a bright student and they knew I had the potential to reach very far in life because of my brilliance. I cannot tell you the nine months of hell that I, Obara Meji, went through to have my first-born child. Often times coming from the clinic, I would use my WIC check to purchase cereal and milk and I would drink from the bottle of milk and cuff my hand in the cereal box and eat. Many Sundays I went hungry, sometimes going to my parents’ friend just to see if they would offer me food (never begging). I remember counting pennies to reach $3 to buy Chinese food so I could feed me and my unborn child; and there was that one time when my parents locked me out and I had to sit in a building hallway the whole night, cold, frightened and alone. Many nights I rode the D train for 2hrs to Brooklyn because the hell in the house was too hot and my friend told me to come. No one showed me compassion, no one cared for me; but little did I know that what sat in my stomach was going to be one of my greatest prize and pride. I had her on Thanksgiving Day.
I had been in labor since Tuesday and was alone in the hospital; no one came with me and I remember screaming and crying in pain. A Spanish looking woman was mopping my room, and when she saw that I was a child and that there was no one to comfort me while I screamed in pain – I will never forget this one minute act of kindness that she showed – I watched her put her mop down, came over to my bed, eased my head to her bosom, hugged me gently and whispered to me in Spanish, soothing words that I did not understand, while she rubbed my forehead and rocked me side to side. I always speak about that moment and wherever she is in this world, I pray for her, her children and her children’s children because what she gave me was empathy, compassion, motherly love that I needed in my moment of agonizing pain. I can tell you with conviction that God saw it fit to send to me from heaven someone to love me for me.
My daughter, even though I am a young mother, takes care of me as if I am her child. If I am hurt, she is hurt. I want for nothing because of her. She cares for me as how a parent cares for a child; she is quicker to buy something for me than for herself. She works and calls me almost 20 times a day to make sure I am ok. She tells me how beautiful I am everyday and she is proud of me as her mom. All her friends or coworkers know me or know of me and she sings my praises every day. She even said to me ‘mom when you die, you will not be placed under the earth; we are going to specially prepare you and you will sit in glass in my living room for all to see my precious mother’. This girl has made me proud; she has never given me problems, has never disrespected me, and has never talked back to me. Every year we go to Las Vegas, which is her favorite place and she sponsors the trip (even though I can afford it) and does everything for me to enjoy myself. We are mother and daughter but we are like sisters. I love her and she loves me. When I think about all the places that I went to abort this beautiful child and I changed my mind every time, I knew she had to come and I thank God that she is here and so I urge everyone to show love, to show compassion, to play their role on this earth by projecting a good and clean heart, creating great energy so that others will be influenced to do the same.
An oil lamp feels proud to give light even though it wears itself away……Yoruba Proverb