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Image Isn't Everything

GG and I watched the NAACP Image Awards last Friday.  The century-old organization’s premier event that celebrates “the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts…”  I especially like watching with GG because it gives us the perfect opportunity to have a natural, unforced conversation about the wide spectrum of Black entertainers – outside of the Mr. Moseby character from Disney’s "Suite Life on Deck", who in my opinion, has a lot to be desired.  But I’ll save that for another rant, another blog.

Anyway, the opening ensemble with Wyclef Jean, Carlos Santana and some other international performers fascinated GG, who noticed that the music sounded like it was Mexican or Jamaican.  So we talked about how a long time ago, African people brought their music with them wherever they went (or were taken), and how that music’s had an influence on all sorts of genres since that time.

What I really appreciate about the Image Awards is when individuals who truly embody the ideal image take center stage.  As we watched Myrlie Evers approach the podium I thought to myself “That’s what I want to be when I grow up.”  And then the nominations for “Best Actress,” “Best Supporting Actress” and “Best Picture” were announced.  “Precious” was represented in all categories.

Wait a minute...I thought these awards were about image.

First off, I’ll readily admit that I haven’t seen “Precious”.   I personally don’t find the reality of child abuse, child neglect or poverty particularly entertaining, so there’s no reason for me to pay eight bucks and see it in a theater.  The young woman who plays the title character seems to be delightful, funny and articulate – and she’s a grad student, for crying out loud!  So why should an image that is the completely and total opposite of that even be nominated?  The actress who plays the title character’s abusive mother, comes off as strong and smart in interviews, so again, why should the NAACP award her for an image so seemingly ugly and abusive?  Well, they both won; and if I remember correctly, the movie won the Image Award for Best Picture too.

But I just have to stop and wonder -- especially on the heels of Black History Month -- were these images really worthy of an Image Award?  With as many contributions as Black people have made throughout this country’s history, I just don’t think so.

moth•er•hood

n. 1. the state of being a mother. 2. the qualities or spirit of a mother. 3. mothers collectively.

I can’t help but think that the dictionary’s definitions of motherhood run a little short. Actually, I was expecting a fourth definition that would say: 

4. the never-ending nagging undercurrent of guilt.

Let me be clear: above all things, motherhood is a blessing.  It’s also frustrating, tiring, a big responsibility, and at times -- riddled with guilt.  Maybe it’s because of Lent, or maybe it’s because I worked late the other night, or it could be because I missed those last two field trips and the PTL meeting.  Maybe it’s all of that together.  Whatever it is, guilt’s been my best buddy lately.

Guilt almost kept me from clicking our computer’s “enter” button the other day.  I knew that one final click would confirm a 3-day-get-away for Jamie and me only.  That’s probably happy news for most people, but not for me. Not at that time anyway.  And me being cheap didn’t help matters: as I ticked in our payment information, a little voice kept whispering “You could go grocery shopping twice with this kind of money…You haven’t even gotten GG’s Easter outfit yet…and...”  I told the voice to shut up and finally clicked.  Then buyer’s remorse – or Motherhood Remorse – set in:  What was I doing?  My mom never left us four kids. EVER. If we did go someplace, we went as a clump, and here I was, plotting and planning to leave my one and only baby girl.

Now I’m a rollercoaster of emotion.  One moment, I’m questioning whether she’ll end up on the therapist’s couch 20 years from now because I went on a 3-day-get-away.  The next moment, I’m looking forward to having an uninterrupted, face-to-face conversations with Jamie during daylight hours even though I know those conversations will most likely be about GG and how we miss her.

Emotional rollercoaster or not, I'm going -- WE'RE going; and thanks to BFF Becky / GG’s Godmother, GG will be having her own little vacation too...although I’m pretty sure that hers will be guilt-free.