A Purpose Driven Life?
by Jackie Williams
ĎA Summary of the thoughts of an Angry & Confused Black Maní
There is nothing wrong with thinking that there is a purpose for being alive. I would like to caution you that sometimes a self imposed purpose driven life can be an albatross around your neck. I am sure that being driven can lead to fulfillment. But in my case, it has led to lots of heartaches and suffering. See, I have taught myself to believe that some of the things that I want out of life are undeserved by me. How I got to this point I donít know. I have managed to build barriers around myself and block out the things that can bring me joy and happiness and I dwell on the damning aspects of my life. Why am I so burdened with things that other people seem to take no thought about? What makes me such a harsh judge of myself? A judge so harsh, that he imposes a self righteousness upon himself that no one can live up to. A banner to be worn with held head high in the public and as a shield of secrecy in the dark private places.
I was taught that sex was a bad thing. The cross that a man must carry when raised by a mother who was scorned and left by his father. My father, so the story is told, was a smooth operator with a harem that would shame an Arab Sheik All of the women loved him for his muscular body and he talked funny. He looked like lust. Some people nicknamed him ĎSin Maní. He was raised up north but had been sent down south after getting in trouble with a very prominent manís daughter. He was barely twenty years old and rumors had it that he had a son and I had a brother who would be a very rich and powerful man.
He came to town and set up his storefront business as a bootlegger. He was flashy and he had access to fancy juke boxes and music that our small neck of the woods could only dream about. Everyone liked him. He was the life of the party and a womanizer. His business was legitimate as far as the local law was concerned and it was set up in the heart of the black community. Everything that went on in the hood passed by his front door. Young women were in and out of his place at all times of the day and night. He made his money from the sell of booze that was supplied by the local sheriff. He lived the good life and everyone wanted to be a part of his life. Most of the men needed him for loans until they were paid. He charged twenty-five percent of the dollar. The women liked the way that he looked and the smooth talk that fell from his mouth like rain from the clouds. They also liked his body. And he didnít mind sharing it with them. He was a trickster and a sweet talker by birth. His good looks only complicated the matter for some poor unsuspecting woman. He made them forget about their vows to their husbands and the Lord.
My mother had fallen to his wiles at some point in her life. She had been a devout church girl. He had somehow tricked her into thinking that he was going to marry her. She resisted sex from him but kept sneaking around and playing close to the fire. Ultimately, she was burnt and impregnated with me. I am a child born of shame and humility. She wanted so bad to make up for her mistakes that she taught me that sex was dirty unless approved of by God. My mother had fallen out of grace in the mid-1950ís so the burden of shame was around her neck.
Pastor Viola Savage, most people called her Sister Viola was the Pentecostal pastor who reminded her weekly of her fall in sight, sound and living color. My mother was hell bound and there was no two ways about it. She learned many lessons from her church family. She learned that Jesus forgave her. But her friends and family were constant reminders of her disfavor. These lessons were taken out on me. Sex was a thing that was filthy and needed to be under total control. Many punishments finally convinced me that sex was a curse. For that reason and that reason alone I have felt sexually pent up and unclean for many years of my life. My father uprooted after I was six years old and ran once again. No one has heard from him since. My mother taught me not to be the type of man that he was. A man who would fool an innocent young woman and take her virtue only to renege once he had accomplished his goal--which was to seduce her.
Ultimately, I was released from my motherís religious bondage. By then I was afraid of women. I mean physically afraid to the point becoming immobilized when approached by a woman. Was it something that happened to me in childhood that has dampened my desires for physical love? I was very attracted to girls but I felt that what I wanted to do to them was filthy. I made friend with girls very easily but I was very afraid of any type sexual contact. It was for marriage only. The gaping void inside of me grew into an emptiness that was afraid of even the tiniest of flirtations between little boys and little girls.
I have blocked every avenue by which light can enter into my mind on this matter. The frustration grew so burdensome that I preprogrammed myself for failure when it came to the opposite sex. I have felt isolated and alone for most of my life. In my first marriage, I felt absolutely alone and with no recourse for reconciliation without sentencing myself to a life of empty existence. Even to date, I have never felt so alone before in my life. That marriage lasted 12 years.
After four wives, when I have a sexual encounter with my current wife, I can still feel a gnawing deep down inside that tries to deny me fulfillment. It feels like Iím exposed to a vacuum that vanquish my passions and echo thoughts of failure and inadequacy . I have to fight the feeling that makes me think of the moment as only a task. I try but I canít enjoy even a simple moment of pleasure. There is so much guilt. I feel that I cannot meet the expectations that I have set for myself. Hell, I donít even know what the expectations are. And where did they comes from anyway? Who told me that there were expectations? The fact that I have had three ex-wives shouldíve had me asking these questions much sooner.
I started using sex enhancing drugs several years ago to aid me with the physical sex act but I was still having trouble with the feelings of intimacy and overwhelmed by thoughts of inadequacy. I believed that I had nothing inside of me to satisfy my partnerís sexual desires. Why? I have tried hiding so many things from myself and others that I now find myself blocked up. I have told myself that my lack of sexual desire is a redeeming quality while at the same time I feel as though I am missing out on a vital part of my existence. My ailments manifest themselves as lack of desire, low testosterone levels, no sexual imaginations and just down right depression in that area.
I started smoking marijuana and hashish daily. I heard that it would give me back the sexual feelings that I had lost. I even entertained the idea of going to a local psychic, Mother Tereesa. Now that wouldĎve been a laugh. But nothing I did made my sexual condition any better. I certainly didnít do enough to further harm me sexually. Is what I am reaping now because I short circuited some neural network in my brain? Could this be the reason for my feeling of sexual inadequacy? Or my lack of intimacy? Maybe I have destroyed all of the cells or functional portions of my mind that oversaw my sexuality? Maybe all of the energy that is intended for my sexual pleasures are damned up by my uptightness and self righteousness? Maybe it wasnít my mother after all?
Situations like what I am facing has a tendency to spill over into other areas of your life. I have gotten to the point now that I canít tell which came first the chicken or the egg in this matter. I am a sexual cripple who is unfulfilled in my vocation and occupation. I donít like what I do for a living. I donít like my job. I feel that my talents and my life are being wasted. I believe that I am at work only for the money. There is no fulfillment whatsoever in what I do for a living. I am tired of doing it and I want out. I want to create another way to earn my money or my livelihood and I want it to be something that I enjoy. Something that is fulfilling first and profitable laterÖ.if at all. Something that allows my passions and my dedication to flow like water down an uninhibited pathway, cutting new passageways into my personality and making me into a whole person.
I am tired of working just for money. When I was a little boy, the only experiences that I remember with my father involved him giving me money to stop me from crying. Being a child and not being knowledgeable about what he was doing to me, I was allowing him to build a dam between me and the expression of my emotions. That dam is so massive now that I am pleading with the powers that be to help me overcome this dilemma that now make me feel only partially alive. I am not saying that money or giving to me was at fault. I was given money, candy and cookies instead of attention.
I am so disconnected from social interaction with women that the only way that I can impress them is with money, cars, jewelry anything pertaining to something of value. To me money was love and love was money. I want to replace this need with something of essence. Money requires that we do hard work on the front end to get it and reap whatever happens later. The lofty expectations that happiness will follow along later. The yield, a life that is empty and devoid of personal expression.
I really want out of the humdrum. Away with the nine to five mentality. ItĎs almost a robotic expression of being. We do the same thing over and over day in and day out. We tell ourselves that we are doing the will of something greater than ourselves to justify our actions. We forget about why we are truly here. Selfish dreams take center court. We start our quest for them and hopefully no one gets in the way. My quest is to be what I want to be. In my dream life, I am a famous writer. I write books that sell by the millions. I am free to live out my fantasies. Whatever they might be?
I have written a book. Or did I fail to mention that? Now that was a laugh.
By the times I was through I couldnít give away a copy. No one was into my story. I named it ĎDeep Thoughtsí. It was more like ĎDeep Dukeyí. Try telling people at a book signing that your story is about your dark pathetic life. Try selling an idea that has no purpose whatsoever. No one bought it. It was almost impossible to promote. I continued to torture myself with dark repetitive thoughts and feelings. My deeper emotional stated evolved into an extreme fear of rejection and the fear of love with no fail safe. I even started having allergic reactions to adversity. I was emotionally nullified and immobilized.
I am so nervous and anal now that I have worked myself into a frenzy causing my skin and my mind to become totally irritated. I call the state that I am in an Ďallergic reactionsĎ. I get so frustrated over the littlest nothing and I really donít know why. Now I sit and scratch my skin constantly from one place to another in no ordered pattern. Every itch that I experience is at random. The spell comes on without a source of introduction nor a point of origin. I take medications and put on lotions and powders and whatever yet it still drives me crazy. Sometimes I feel that I am allergic to soap and water.
The littlest thing manifests itself in chronic itching. I am so tired of being like this. I want to know why and I want to overcome the problem. If there is no problem and it is something that I am inflicting upon myself, I want to find a way to understand and overcome it. Now I donít use this kind of soap or that. I canít eat certain kind of food because it makes me itch. But, there is no true pattern. Where is this self-torture coming from? I know that it is self inflicted but I wonder what did I do to deserve this kind of punishment. Or it could be just an allergy?
I have been uncomfortable every since my first book about my weird upbringing came out. Why? I am the one that wrote it. Did I write it to get in the limelight? I tell myself that I donít like the limelight. There is no limelight from my vantage point. How did I set myself apart from my accomplishments and then critique them so hard that I fail to see the value in anything that I have done? I am my worst enemy and that is sad. I am harder on myself than a thousand enemies. I want to overcome this bondage and start enjoying my life. I want to overcome the excuses and abuses from childhood and the rigid thought patterns inflicted upon me from religious guilt and erroneous ideologies. I need to have a breakthrough.
I donít believe in the white manís idea of a god. I refuse to believe that the same god who allowed him to take us into slavery and inflict all type of atrocities on us and others all over the planet. Their god is not my god. I go through the motions but I donít believe the hype. This thought in itself is causing me so much confusion and disparity. I want to live a peaceful life and I want it to be fulfilling. I want to live in the here and now and I want to look forward to a good afterlife but I just donít believe that a lying, murdering thief should impose his idea of a god upon us and we just accept it out of fear of going to his rendition of Hell. They teach of a hell that dictates our actions and keep us at bay. They have never tried to live up to the standard that they religiously imposed upon us.
The masses of us already live in a hell-like condition. I am not saying that things arenít better for me than it was for my parents and that they arenít better for my children than they were for me but I just have problems with following the path that they have set in order to find the Godhead. We are taught to love an enemy that hates our very existence. You can see the evidence the whole world over. We have nothing that binds us together as one, except our appetites. We are consumers the world over. Yet we produce nothing as a collective that leads to sustenance or economic bartering. We have no thoughts of tomorrow or a vision to sustain what is already in motion.
If the white man stopped producing today, the whole world of black people and others would come to a devastating halt. I donít believe that we would die off as a whole but a lot of us would face unimaginable suffering and even death on a very large scale. In our current condition, he is a necessary evil. Am I so caught up in the plight of the world of black and brown people that I am projecting turmoil into my life? Is this one of the ways that I am going to express not having sex. Be angry at the world and find fault. Should I just go along for the ride? Is it easier to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the situation at hand and just go along for the rideÖ..dumb and happy? Another brother is killed under mysterious circumstances. Everyone is in an uproar for a moment and then everything is back to normal. Things continue to happen that help me sustain the feeling that makes healthy self love questionable?
I am very uncomfortable with the expression of love? I donít know why but sometimes when people tell me that they love me it makes my skin crawl. I know that I am loved but I donít like to be told. It makes me feel pressured to say it back to the person who expresses it. Why is that so? I was shown love in subtle ways that had nothing to do with saying it. I was fed. I had a place to stayÖÖa roof over my headÖclothing on my back and the basics that human beings are allowed given that their parents had a job. I was never really held or nurtured as a child. Not after I gained my memory anyway.
All that I knew was talk of the love of God. I was not well loved or accepted. I was made to feel very low and lonely. I didnít have my fatherís good looks and my motherís virtue was questioned even more. Not openly, but the whispers and the rumor mill confirmed what I suspected. He would openly criticize and humiliate me in front of people at his establishment. I received nothing of love from my father the short time that I knew him. I was given money for my deeds. I was a smart little rascal. I did elementary things for him. I was very young. He instructed my mother not to nurture me. She tried to follow his instructions. It was the least bit that she could do to hold on to the promise that they might one day be together. I was a smart young man. I was smarter than my mother was. Even though I was deprived of love I was rewarded by monetary meansÖ..I got something out of the deal. I had lots of money and a vacuum in my emotional life. Some speculated that I wasnít my fatherís son. Not by blood anyway. I was a bastard and that is what I was treated like by the entire community.
Even at this late stage in my life, I still have a bit of a discomfort level. My wife is very expressive about love and I feel good telling her that I love her back. I donít even feel good telling my mother that I love her. My mother was afraid to express how she felt because my father made it clear that he didnít want me to grow up to be a mamaís boy. She had to express her feelings in ways that were non verbal but I guess that I knew that she cared. I just copied the means and methods by which love was expressed to me and I know that I carried it over into all of my failed relationships and marriages. I would court a girl and lots of times I couldnít express how I felt.
In fact, I was afraid of women period. I mentioned that before but I just wanted to clarify it. I was taught that sex was biblically wrong unless a person was married. The reason for this teaching being imprinted upon me so soundly is that my mother was impregnated out of wedlock and she didnít want me to make the mistake upon someone else that had been put upon her. I was a miserable failure at adhering to her lessons. She would read the Bible to me and quote from specific scripture that sex was wrong and that was that. I was having sexual feelings at that time and many went unexpressed because of how I had been trained.
I had sexual encounters as a child that never resulted in the actual act but I was made to know that there was something to fear from completing them. The next door neighbors, precocious little girls, Lisa and Earlene, who were very mature for their ages and they knew more about sex in the pre-teen part of my childhood than I knew when I was sixteen years old. I remember when they would get me to play doctor or mama and daddy and they would take me to bed or have me delivering a baby for one of them.
Many times this play acting would require that some type of sexual touching went on which would cause male excitement on my part. I remember once when I was wrestling with this girl, Donna, I believe was her name. She wrenched and twisted to escape my grasp but my the strength rendered her into submission. As a gift, she pulled her panties to the side and told me to stick it in. I looked down and saw the pubic hairs around her womanhood. She was thirteen. I was ten. What I remember next was running in the wind toward our house. I was frightened beyond description. I wanted to tell my mama but I knew that she would accuse me of instigating the event. I would be punished. I began to keep secrets early in life.
Another time I was playing with this very sultry twelve year old girl, Fannie Mae, who knew what to do and how to do it. On the school ground, people said that her cousins from the city taught her what she knew. They came to visit every summer. She was precocious and a good talker. She had me. She had gotten me in bed but she couldnít get me inside of her. Her failure wasnít from lack of trying. She started to wet it with her mouth and made me promise never to tell. Her hunger and voraciousness to complete her task had me begging her for relief. All of a sudden, my cousin walked in on us. She ran away I knew that she was on her way to tell my mother.