I love going home. I love going home for a visit. I always wanted to go home to live, drama free and peaceful. Haha that is pretty much impossible if you can’t help to be scandalous once in awhile and for real, never intended to. Scandal follows single moms like a tumble weed blows through the plains, whether or not they do anything or not. Whether or not they have good hearts or not. I have been called every name in the book, but since I moved home in my 30s it was easier to think oh that shit just rolls off. In my 20s it would have been more dramatic, but I grew up. I learned long ago from a Jamaican dude named Junior that was on a constant 24/7 high and he always had a good spliff, that our very own lives were not for anyone to judge. Not even ourselves. All we could do was enjoy life. My boys’ dad and I looked at each other through the thick haze and nodded. Yes, he was right. And we wasn’t agreeing because he was making us an awesome jerked steak and rice and beans with the very ingredients we already had in stock. We were agreeing with him because in our mid 20s we were realizing life was more than paying the mortgage on the 70s trailer we were buying from a modified Minnesota small town version of a slum lord. Life was about enjoyment. It was about remembering who we are. He was maybe actually quoting Bob Marley, Tupac, or Kurt Cobain, but in that THC haze it was clear like crystal. We immediately, after dumping our friend off, after full bellies and another fat spliff shared, loaded our two sons up and got lost along the river in Wisconsin. I took pictures of random things, signs at small art galleries, ducks, the kids jumping off log stumps, the river and the bluffs. We were both pretty much quiet other than laughing and trying to figure out what the hell town we were in now. It was there on the shores of the Mississippi. River on the Wisconsin side in a small what the hell town with a bar and restaurant called The Pickle Factory that I had an epiphany. (Or if it is true that only Christians can experience this, by the way which is a Greek word older than Christianity, then I had a realization.)
It was at this point as I took a picture of a lone fishing boat docked on the river and I watched my sons and their father skips rocks into the river that I realized the part of my life with him was going to end.
I didn’t come upon the realization of this with any hate or anger. I was his homecoming queen and he was my king. We rode on the hood of a classic car one time in a parade. I cheered on his jr and sr seasons. We collected and lost precious baseball cards together.
I just realized that I was thankful he was the father of my sons and there was never a shine in his eyes until he was around them. But we had to part ways someday because I was never what he wanted. I was a good woman, prided myself on my cooking, hard work. But at the same time he was never what I wanted.
In our need to seek a better life we clung to each other and made beautiful boys. (Even a third in a last minute attempt to save the homecoming glory.) But in our growth to be who we are in essence, we were going to part ways someday. I accepted this that day.
To this day in my life, I still may be searching for who I am in essence. I may be trying to have that epiphany.
I hit upon hard times and rough patches more than one time. I keep trying to cling to this dream that I want to go home. I wanted my sons to be raised there, because I didn’t ever want them to not know rez life and be like when they first moved back were scared of stray dogs. I wanted them to enter adulthood with a certain callous to how life really is in the heart of poverty of this country but not that I wanted them to grow up poor. I just wanted them to know when they hit the world outside the rez, life is different. You pay for water, pay for trash removal, pay for everything, even having a dog. That is the white mans world, and I wanted them to know, there is this way and that way.
The rez is home it always will be and I will be buried there by no doubt someday, but there is also a world out here I want to see. Other cultures. I am still trying to find out who I am at 40 and probably will at 60.
I don’t know shit about anything. I listen and talk shit. Yeah, I do. I have been accused of that, but I hope when I do I make sense to someone somewhere. 🙂
My hope is my children know who they are, love who they are, are proud of being Lakota, never forget that, and never forget the rez, at the same time, find the world and never stop learning.
I know I am just a rez chick, for real. And by no means is that a put down. I am happy with that.
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