• As Told To Veronica R. Wells

My Dad Never Wanted To Be With My Mom & She Hated Me For It


Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

Last year, when Jackie Christie and her daughter were dealing with their mother-daughter drama, publicly, there were people who sided with Jackie Christie even though they could see that she was in the wrong. They sided with her because she’s the mother. And the Bible tells us to honor our mothers and fathers. At the time, I noticed Aria jumped in the comment section to say that this was something she couldn’t abide by. She explained, in a post on The Shade Room, that after everything she’d endured at the hands of her mother, it was best to just cut her out of her life completely. Curious to know what she was referencing, I reached out. Here’s the first part of her story.

NSNC: I wanna start like at what age did you realize that your relationship with your mother wasn't like other people's relationships?

I think I realized that early, as young as maybe two because my mother,--I'm from Barbados, I was born there, raised there, but my mother is from St. Vincent so she came over there, I guess, looking for a better life. She already had two kids prior to me. She met my dad but my dad was married. My stepmom got pregnant but the pregnancy didn't go well so she ended up having to have a whole hysterectomy along with, you know, the baby died so she could no longer have kids. I think that my mom--I don't know-- she has this thing where she's very conniving. So she got pregnant with me and I think that she only had me in order to seek to take my dad from my step-mom.

NSNC: Did it work?

Not really because I've never seen them in a relationship, relationship. Where they were together. So right after she had me, she would use me as a ploy in their marriage. She would run and and drop me off talking about, "Take your child!' you know, that kind of thing in order to disrupt his home. It came to a point where if we were going to go to my mom's house, I would cry. Everybody would tell me these stories. Like at two years old I would cry. I would cry constantly at the thought of being with my mom.

But then my step mom took me when I was two. She divorced my dad. So she raised me by herself. So it's like weird, the whole relationship, the whole situation.

Four years later, Aria’s mother gave birth to her younger sister, also her father’s daughter.

My father was always in and out. But I really didn’t have to endure their thing because my stepmom was the person who raised me. So I knew who my real mom was but I also knew, my stepmom (who Aria calls Nana) is my mom.

NSNC: You were with your stepmom from two until...?

From two until all the way up to say when I turned like 10 possible 11. All the way up til what you guys call sixth grade. But we call it class four in Barbados. So my mom immigrated to the United States. She left all four of her kids in Barbados and then shortly after, she sent my oldest sister to live in St Vincent with my aunt. It was three of us in Barbados, one in St. Vincent, but she was here in the U.S. So she tried to send me like, 'OK, come to America and live with me,' blah, blah blah. But it was never a connection. Like my mother, I don't know-- I find, and this is my opinion, that Caribbean women, I think we're breaking out of that right now with this generation, but older Caribbean women, it's like they were raised to be hard and they don't show emotion, they don't show love, they don't show that kind of thing. And my mother had this thing where-- I don't know--I think that she just hated me because having me didn't get her my dad. I always felt like that.

She wouldn't say it verbally, but it was always this feeling. And she would say certain things like--my sister is darker than me--so she would say, 'Oh, she's a good looking darkie.' Stupid stuff like that and then all of her friends would like me and she'd been like, 'I don't understand why people like you like that,' And I'm like, I'm not doing anything but being myself. But that would always offend her. That would always make her mad.

NSNC: How was it living with your mom in America?

I was a slave in her house. She did a live in job so it would be me and my sister by ourselves at the house all the time. Only on weekends, she would come home and then back out on Monday. So I would have to get up, get us ready for school, make sure we are on time and all that. And I was still killing in school because I always was like, naturally smart with school work. I would come home and give her my report card because you feel good. And I'm excited to go home, you know, and I'm showing her my report card and she would say, 'I'll look at it later.' What parent does that? She would never be interested.

NSNC: What were the differences between the way she treated you and the way she would treat your sister?

She would buy a sweater for both of us and then she'd be like, 'Oh, I'm going to give her the best color.' Minor stuff like that and I'd be like, 'OK.' I always had a thick skin so it bothered me but really didn't bother me because I'm always like 'Whatever. I still got my Nana.'

Realizing that the living arrangement with her mom wasn't going to work, Aria went back to Barbados. She stayed with Nana for the next three years while her sister stayed in the states. Eventually, her father married another woman from the Bronx. This time, her dad, who was in the process of getting a green card, sent for her. But living with her father didn't prove to be any better. Aria had already developed a body and her new stepmother took extreme measures trying to hide it. She told Aria she could no longer wear jeans, just long skirts. Her father didn't speak up for her so she ended up moving back in with her mother. Things had not changed. Aria noticed that her mother would buy her sister new clothes but wouldn't buy her any. So she decided to look for work. After convincing a salon owner to hire her despite being only 15-years-old, Aria got the job. But her mother wasn’t happy about the news.

I asked her if I could work. She's like, 'No, you ain't working, I don't want you to work because when I want you to have, that's when you gone have.'

NSNC: Oh wow.

Aria took the job anyway. She had to tell her mother where she was going everyday after school. And surprisingly, when she did, her mother said, ‘Oh that’s good.’

My first check I remember was a $168. That lady... She was like, put that money right here. This is for your sister, for school, this is for the light bill. She took my whole thing and broke it down. And I was like, 'Mom, why I can't keep my first check? I don't mind giving you something, but why I can't keep my first check for me? You know, I need sneakers, I need clothes I need stuff.' She was like, 'Oh, you selfish...' and all that. And I'm like, how is that selfish?

Aria’s mother threw the money back at her, cussing her out but ultimately she let her keep the check.

So the next week now, I'm running home from school to drop my bag and I see her and my sister walking around the corner and going to the supermarket. I call out to her and she says, 'Go home and stay home. I don't want you to work.' Right on the street. So I'm like, what?! So now I'm crying. Back in the day, I didn't have no cell phone. So I went to the corner store and just bought them little $2 phone cards or whatever, to call long distance. So I got the phone card, ran home. I saw my father walking down the block, but I wanted to get home before he came over.

I ran up there and I call Nana in Barbados and I'm crying. I'm like, 'I don't understand why she don't want me to work. Like I'm not rude to her. I'm not a disrespectful child, like, I don't understand why she's doing this. My grades are good.'

Eventually, Aria buzzes her father into the building and he starts talking to Nana, his ex wife. Aria hangs up with Nana and calls the woman at the shop to explain that her mother will no longer allow her to work. Then she calls Nana back. Aria’s mother comes back upstairs with her sister and starts arguing with Aria’s father and Nana in Barbados. At one point in the conversation, Nana reminds Aria's mother that she has never been a true maternal figure to her daughter. The two women go back and forth before Aria’s mother gives up and says 'Do what you want to do.' So Aria put her clothes back on and went to the shop to work.

So I worked that day. Our apartment was a studio, with one couch and one bed. Sometimes my mom would sleep on the couch and me and my sister would sleep in the bed. And we would rotate. But that night when I came home, that lady told me, ‘You cannot sleep on my bed and cannot sleep on my couch from today. You have to sleep on the floor.' She said, 'You can't use my blanket and you can't use my pillows. So I had to sleep on the floor just like that.'

NSNC: It's like Cinderella, forreal.

I know... for that one night. The next day I got up, went outside to like this little 99 cent store and I bought a set of sheets with the money that I had and I bought one pillow, so I had to sleep on the floor on that. Every night from then on she stopped speaking to me. I could