Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pondering

Funny. Most days, he presented a false face. He smiled when he wanted to frown. He laughed when he really wanted to lash out. Laughing was better accepted by others than lashing out. He folded up his words, tucking them away, hidden, like an erotic photograph that shouldn't be seen by just any ole' body.

When he was a child, words seemed to get a little brotha into trouble. Expressing his thoughts were dangerous. "Children speak when spoken to," G------ always said. Speaking the wrong words might have earned him a smack straight in the mouth. Bad words, "talkin' back", even defending your honor (yes, 5-year-old boys do have honor to defend), might have earned him not only a smack, but the knife. A six-inch wide butcher's knife, and a cutting board were the chosen tools to scare a boy into using just the right words. G------ would pull out that knife in no less than a New York minute. "Come here, boy, I'm cutting off your tongue," G------ would say, brandish her weapon like Luke Skywalker challenging the forces of evil. Now, don't misunderstand, he loved G------ then. He cherishes her memory today. She meant well. The best of intentions were behind her old school tactics. But she tamed him. Tamed that little boy when little boys don't need to be tamed. They need to be trained. Trained in love.

So, why is he so shy? they always asked. Why is he quiet? Why doesn't he express himself the way other people do? Because tame is how they wanted him to be. Tame was accectable. And since he yearned for acceptance, he succumbed. He learn to express himself though. He had to or he might burst. He expressed himself safely through art.

Now he is grown, and still has difficulty expressing himself with words. As a public figure, an illustrator of children's books, words again seem to get him in trouble. So, he's back to old business. Using art to express himself, and smiling on que when he's expected to smile. But on a separate blog, he could remain anomymous, and express himself how he dog-on pleases. He'll be pondering that further while on vacation.

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Very related thought for the day: No, G------ is not Mz. Gig.

10 comments:

Christopher M. Beatrice said...

you have trouble expressing your self, I have always thought you did it well on here. You tell it how it is and that is how it is lol. Nothing wrong with that. I used to be allot like you in ways. We where told to be seen not heard. And I have always been quiet. Writing has always been a way to express my intermost issues. And allows for a bit of venting lol. I enjoy your posts man keep it up.

The Gig said...

I always wondered why you were so quiet. Thanks for enlightening me. I don't know who is stopping you from expressing yourself but you need to do your thing and be yourself. Don't hold back.

Kim said...

I think the second blog is a great idea. And, not because of all the bashing you get from the chldren's writers. Blogging loses something once you are no longer anonymous. If self-expression is what you want, I say go for it! Have a good vacation

Meka said...

Without self-expression we would suffocate as humans. It is so important to let children speak and be heard. Not disrespectfully but intelligently, and articulately. Children who are allowed to express themselves will grow up to be adults who do the same. Especially boys. If you feel like starting a new anonymous blog will aide you in expressing yourself then you should. Take care!

Nikki said...

For someone who has difficulty expressing themselves, you did just fine with this post. *smile*

WIP said...

How does one "train" a boy in love? My son has a way with words that somehow get him into trouble. I don't want to break his spirit, but I do want him to realize whom he is speaking to in that "tone" sometimes. Any suggestions? BTW, he loves art and drawing too.

Don Tate II said...

@ Swak: This isn't a bible-thumpin kind of blog, however I did find an article which covers in detail what I meant, see: http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=1381


But in short, I think this is what I meant:..."By over discipline, parents may exasperate and discourage their children as Paul warns us in Ephesians 6:4, “And, fathers(or mothers, grandmothers, ect), do not provoke your children to anger; . . . ” , “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart.”

I think many old-school grandparents, particularly African American ones could be overly harsh when disciplining their kids. This may have been another ugly result left over from slavery. During slavery, you'd better break down your sons will. If not, his master would. Strong willed kids, kids that even dared to look in the eyes of an adult, particularly a white adult might be killed.

The Archivist said...

I like what you've said. I'll need to think on it.

michael sampson said...

Have you decided about that "Brothers" poem for our poetry book???

Don Tate II said...

Michael, great to hear from you. No, I must have missed that email. How exciting!

Be sure to see my next post. Many changes are in store.