I wanted to know everything and I mean everything, how, why, what the hell? I wanted to take this young girl who I believed was between 19-23 and save her from the madness.
But instead, I let shame paralyze me. I was just lost. I wanted to say something to her, but what? I didn't want her to think I was judging her, I just wanted to know, so I could help her find a way out of whoever it was that thought it was ok to do this level of damage to a young girl.
So I started a conversation with her little girl. I got the basics, age, name and yes she goes to school and promised me that she would go to college. Like at 4 she knows what that is. But like most young people her age, she was willing to please.
The young man standing next to me when I got off the bench and approached the train said to me, " If she was my daughter I would catch a case." I asked, "Those are black eyes aren't they?" He said yes, and we both sighed heavily and got on the train.
I wanted to do something. Something bold, but instead, I just walked to the door by the end of train car where she was sitting and I pressed my card into her hand. "Call me if you think I can ever do anything for you," I said.
She looked at me, looked at the card and said thank you. I said, "That's me on the card," so the face of the Essence cover on my card could connect with the face looking back at her on the train. I said, "Go to my blog and my e-mail address is there too, feel free to e-mail me," and I left.
Now I really don't know the circumstances, I made a lot of assumptions in my head. I don't know if it's domestic violence or not, but I wanted her to know that she is not alone. That we both must overcome the shame so we can act. I know many people who would have looked at that young woman and just shook their head and kept it moving, saying, "I don't want to get involved." But we can't expect change if we are not willing to be an agent for change. It's the right thing to do, the Christian thing to do and the village thing to do. It takes all of us to raise a village. At some point we have got to stop complaining and offer help, one girl at a time.
God led me to write this blog, not just for her but for all of our young girls.
She is one of many, but we must start somewhere. Now, I understand that you can't save people who don't want to be saved. But some people don't understand there is a difference. Don't know there is a different way to live; And there are some who just see no way out.
I always believed in my heart that I was better than what mama said I was, but it wasn't until we moved to the suburbs that I saw that there was a world other than my mother's.
With my new examples I set out to be better than what mama said I would be. That move opened doors for me that I would have never gotten in the city. And we only moved to Evanston because mama was a maid at the Evanston Inn and she wanted to be closer to her job and oh yeah, a man.
Growing up I felt that hitting was not normal, a right way to treat the people you love. Mama beat my ass when the sun shinned and beat my ass when the sun didn't shine. It didn't matter why she beat me or what she beat me with, mama and her brand of love hurt me to my very core.
Same with my ex-husband; A push here or there. A tussle every now and then, but when he dug the car keys into my hand in an attempt to get the keys and he drew blood, I knew it was time. By the end of the week he was escorted out by two sheriffs and four police officers.
I felt shame as I stood in domestic violence court trying to explain to the judge why I needed an order of protection, from my husband no less.
But I knew in my heart that AIDS hadn't killed me, Kenny wasn't going to kill me either. So I swallowed my pride and fought for my life.
So here I am, still thinking about this young girl and wondering if she knows there is something better for her. No, life won't be easy, but at least she won't have to feel the shame and hurt she felt today facing a stranger.
Yep, we look at situations and we talk about them, but rarely do we extend ourselves. We are always talking about what it means to be a Christian but when faced with the chance we turn the other check.
Trayvon Martin, but we are slow to act with the violence in our own homes, in our community.
I don't know if the young lady will reach out and I'm not sure what I will do if she does, but I know I will do my best to help her be her best.
I'm gonna pray about this. I have so much to give to young girls. I need to see about developing some kind of program even if it's a once a year start.
We have got to be a part of the change. We have got to be a part of the solution. Someone has got to care enough to help make changes for the best. To help get our young people to a place where they can see themselves as God intended them to be.