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You Remind Me of My Father, a Magician

Updated: Mar 24

Unknown siblings populate her life, as did the unknown father they shared.

Picture of a black man covering his face.
Who was him?

“I tried to make a home outta you.

But doors lead to trapdoors. A stairway leads to nothing.

Unknown women wander the hallways at night.

Where do you go when you go quiet?

You remind me of my father, a magician. Able to exist in two places at once.

In the tradition of men in my blood you come home at 3AM and lie to me.

What are you hiding? The past, and the future merge to meet us here.

What luck. What a fucking curse.” Beyoncé.

She tried to make a home out of him, but there were too many known and unknown women wandering the hallways of his life day and night.

He was a slender black man. The kind of man who takes the breath away with the sound of his voice. His skin tanned by the sun and his hours spent driving his truck shirtless. Heads turned when he entered rooms after having washed the dust off his skin and applied a smooth coat of oil to his black olive-toned skin. He was aware of the emotions he caused as he entered Club Fernandino.

Words would be whispered when the last trophy was dismissed from her services because there was another flower to pick out of the bouquet. Men would greet him in admiration, trying to imitate his poses and gestures. But that was not his secret; his secret was that he could speak.

He could take one to the moon and back, leaving them longing for more, and before they could realise it, he was gone. Sometimes to come back again for another ride, but many times he would never return.

Portrait of a black man in a very close shot in black and white.
Heads turned when he entered rooms.

The number of women he bedded remains unclear, and so does the number of kids he fathered.

He found a way to go out and come back. He invented excuses for his absences, came back home with gifts and money to cover the betrayals. He made no distinctions within friends or family. All were women; they wanted him, and he gave himself to them.

Rumours grew and voices got louder to the point where it was no longer possible to hide what was evident. Neither Ly-Ang nor her mother had the exclusivity of his attentions.

Was this a man who loved a woman or who loved women?

When asked about her father, Ly-Ang will always reply with different stories. During her early childhood, her dad was every male who looked anything like the man she was told was her father.

As a pre-teenager, her dad was abroad working to send money and provisions home, as she once was told by her mother. During her teenage years, she murdered him. He was so dead that she almost killed someone who tried to reveal her lie. A lie that had rooted deeply in her heart. So deep that when years later she met him, she would not be able to forgive him for leaving her. For he did not only leave a woman but a girl who was broken. Too broken to ever really trust a black man.

Black woman sitting on a sofa holding her head between her legs. A sad and suffering position.
Too broken to ever really trust a black man.

How could she accept to be loved if she was never loved? She was never told how to love. Just as movement is learned by moving, so does love. We learn to love by being loved.

Who was he? She will never know. They met twice, as far as she can remember. Once was the traumatic moment when she and her mother discovered that he had forgotten them and given his attention to someone else. He had given her so much attention that she was heavily pregnant. Ly-Ang carries the heavy weight of that moment with her. She replays the scene in her mind: a door opening, a woman showing up behind the slightly opened door, pushing her advanced pregnant belly through. There are some words exchanged, and then her mother releases her hand. Her little hand, 5 years old, falls into the emptiness in slow motion. And then there is silence, darkness, unanswered questions.

Her mother never referred back to that moment. There was never a conversation about who, why, or how. It would take almost a decade before Ly-Ang would hear a vague and remorseful explanation for the actions that led to that situation from a man who left to find a better life for himself, Ly-Ang, and her mother, but never came back, leaving her alone and broken to be raised by an even more broken woman.

Black woman holding her head in a foggy atmosphere.
Raised by an even more broken woman.

Our past determines our lives in a way that we sometimes cannot control. It is not easy to move away from our traumas and try to live as if they never happened. We need to go through new dramatic situations that revive them, to accept what happened to us and move forward with the life that we have been given or have chosen for ourselves. Trauma can be anything; there are as many and different types as there are humans on our planet. We are not the ones to determine or evaluate others' traumas, but we should support those who have gone through life experiences that have marked them forever.

If finding out who you are and what you want is not easy when you have a conventional upbringing, imagine how it can be for someone who steps foot in this world facing others' traumas and fights all their life not to let these traumas determine who they are.

Who are you?
Who are you?

As we journey through life, let us remember that our past traumas do not define us. They are but chapters in the story of our lives, stepping stones on the path towards self-discovery and enlightenment. With each passing day, may we move closer towards embracing the fullness of our humanity, finding solace in the knowledge that we are not defined by our scars, but by the courage with which we face them.

In the end, it is not the pain of our past that shapes us, but the resilience with which we rise above it. With each step we take, we affirm our commitment to healing, to growth, and to the endless possibilities that lie ahead. And in the embrace of our own humanity, we find the courage to rewrite the narrative of our lives, transforming our pain into power, our scars into symbols of strength."

Black woman wearing a hat in a black and white picture.
Embrace the entirety of our being—the light and the shadow alike.

To truly understand the depth of our existence, we must embrace the entirety of our being—the light and the shadow alike.

Within the depths of our darkest moments lie seeds of wisdom and growth. It is through our struggles that we cultivate resilience, compassion, and empathy. In facing adversity, we discover the hidden reservoirs of strength that lie dormant within us, waiting to be awakened.

The journey towards healing is not linear; it is a winding path fraught with twists and turns. There will be moments of despair and doubt, moments when the weight of our past threatens to overwhelm us. Yet, it is precisely in these moments that we must summon the courage to continue forward, to believe in the possibility of redemption and renewal.

Self-compassion is paramount on this journey of self-discovery and healing. We must learn to extend the same kindness and understanding to ourselves that we offer to others. It is through self-compassion that we find the courage to confront our demons, to face our fears with grace and resilience.

Who are your? What are your traumas? How do you manage them? Or do they manage you?

Share your thoughts.


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