via Photo Challenge: Heritage
Cambridge dictionary describes the word heritage as features belonging to the culture of a specific society. The good news is these days, you don’t even have to identify with a certain ethnic background to borrow from someone’s heritage. Traditionally, the world was divided and amidst this division was unity in a way. Everyone knew who they were and accepted it. Depending on how you were brought up, traditions meant a lot. A few times out the year, your family would do things that made other people question you guy’s sanity. Well at least, in my family it did.
“Hey whats your background?” says some human person.
“Wow you were born in Haiti?”
“Oh, okay so you’re American and your parents are Haitian?” they’d ask as if they’ve finally got me figured out.
“No. I’m Haitian.”
This conversation then transpires into some amateur history lesson where I’m quizzed on the entire historical background of Haiti. Completely unrelated but, I see no one walking around questioning the Jews on their authenticity when majority of them are born here. Nonetheless, I digress.
Apparently, I am not Haitian enough in society’s eyes. Heritage was the prompt, but I got tired of writing so enjoy this neat little story about how messed up people are bro. Also, enjoy the photo of some well-known non-Haitian entertainers representing the Haitian Heritage.
At this point, I’m convinced we’ve been banished to the pits of victim hood right along with our desperate and nosy neighbors. Only Mama was so much more than them folks. All she had, was given to us. There wasn’t a missing pair of sock that she couldn’t find or a burnt piece of toast she couldn’t scrape back to edible. There was absolutely no way this disaster could’ve transpired under the watch of our superhuman.
Before I can even motion to begin my search for Mama, she emerges from the smoke coughing and gasping for air. My immediate relief pushed me toward her to feel her face for authenticity. Her eyes were cold and far away from me although she was less than a few inches away. Ma began swinging her arms at me as if my intentions were to harm her. My sister used words like stressed, anxiety, pressure and depression. All of which sounded bizarre to me at such a tender age of eight.
I thought maybe we had hidden her withering stands of memory somewhere. Maybe I had misplaced it when I borrowed her ability to love, her passion for compassion, and her eyes to see the good in all things. I couldn’t find anything she had given us. On the contrary, I ended up with all the things she fought hard to never gift us.
The hospital visit day came and my nerves were pop locking all inside my chest. I stood outside Mama’s room for about five minute. No blankets, No pillows, No lights. We filled the hallway and just waited. Nurses walked in and out that room, and we all just waited.