I went to this awesome Women in Business conference this past weekend at this classic and prestigious university. There was this professor, this word wizard, who in the midst of a myriad of great and profound sentences told us do something. My memory, a bit hazed to her exact words, simply recalls the general request to own both the good and the bad of our personal histories. In the midst of pseudo middle class play perfection, of domestic bliss and of professional mountaineering, I was ripped to a place where I asked myself a simple question:
When will I stop being the janitor's daughter?
My mother was spit on.
My mother was called a nig*er.
My mother work for less than minimum wage.
My mother struggled with feelings of depression and worthlessness.
When will I disown the feelings of inadequacy born out of the socio-economic status of my parents?
Though much of what she experienced is not part of my adult life journey. What my mother experienced has, to a significant degree, shaped my adult life journey.
I'm not ashamed my mother was a janitor, I'm regretful that this fact somehow caused me years of a steady feeling of worthlessness and humiliation. I should be proud my mother was a janitor. In a world where women are left to die if for some reason their husbands/fathers/brothers are unable to provide for them. In a world where an able-bodied woman may be forced to watch her children starve to death because tradition excludes her from the workplace. I should be proud to say that my mother WORKED and fed us, she clothed us and did her best to love us when should did not know how to love herself.
So today, my dear blog readers, I come to peace with and in fact publicly embrace, I am a janitor's daughter. I was born poor and told I was ugly and destined for poverty. But, I grew up to be rich in spirit, in love and in the opportunity to fulfill the mislaid dreams of my fore-bearers.