A Secretive Presence or A Safe Space


Growing up, my mama was like a worn brush—upon first glance, she seemed contained, but when drawing closer, one could see that the worn bristles of her existence were frayed in different directions. She was physically there, but her spirit was elsewhere, not there for me to shelter myself under. This was all I knew, and I never expected more from her.

When I grew older, I began to notice that mama seemed happiest around people like the cashier at the marketplace, or around my past teachers at school conferences—these distant people never worked for her smile. What gave them dominion? I sensed that it was those outside her home who possessed the ability to remove her from her personal worries…the trauma and suppressed infliction that she was reminded of in the eyes of her children—the extensions of her.

As a young girl, our relationship had been tiring. She and I are of polar personalities & both with a fiery need to debate and defend our stances. We argue quite often, but we love the same.  As I’ve grown to experience more in life, the advice of friends my age only could scratch the surface of my voids. I needed the words of a woman who has seen and lived a life to help me guide my own. I began to confide in my mother.

My mother can listen. While she does not share much of her past, she is a space of no judgment. It is almost as though because she doesn’t speak much of herself that she holds a greater capacity to rest my worries in the creases of her palms– giving them warmth as she closes her hand to keep what I share a secret from my father, from her sister, from everyone. If there is gossip to run through vines, her daughter’s name will never be among it. She is my keeper and validates my truth.

I’ve spent prior years resenting my mother’s reservation, for my love language is in the exchange of intimate stories, & I only wanted to know her more than anyone else did. But in gaining the emotional intelligence to see her unspoken love for me, I learned to love her better.

I don’t mean for this to be any sort of lesson, but really tho, try to think of a loved one that you simply can’t understand or reach depth with. Rather than battling with this shortcoming in your relationship, try to love them from a different angle, it will transform how you communicate with them, and in turn, shift the way they interact with you. Manifest the change within and witness the transcending power to change those you connect with.

Sometimes, love is to see someone for who they mean to be, & not for how they seemingly seem.

Peace and Blessings,

Karima Osman

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