Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Men are not the problem By Luna Charles
Selene opens the door to her hand her heart melts. It was only two months prior that Michael dumped her, leaving her in Miami to return to his hometown of Sarasota, presumably to make something more of himself. It had been painful for her to let go, but at the end it was for the best. He had been a selfish and inconsiderate lover, escorting her around his white world as if she was his black Haitian Barbie.
Selene had taken charge of her life and overcame emotional and physical abuse, as well as the biased opinions of others regarding immigrants since coming to the US. Yet somehow still in love with this spoiled bad boy, she packs her bags and leaves with him, telling herself that love is worth the risk.
However, when an unexpected pregnancy and job loss turns her love sick world upside down, it is then that Michael’s true callous and cold heart is revealed. Struggling with the demons of her past and now the misfortunes of her present, Selene realizes Men Are Not the Problem.
Men Are Not the Problem knows no boundaries as this uplifting tale drives you from tear jerking moments to candid real life hilarity. Painfully blunt and remarkably inspiring Men Are Not the Problem will leave you knowing what real love is and should be.
Two months later, as we piled up on the couch in the Florida room to watch TV, we heard the gunshot, then the sirens. My brother’s, my uncle and I looked at each other, then ran to the backyard to see what had happened. The Bradley’s arrived in their backyard at the same time. The fence was tall and wooden; we saw nothing on our end since we were caddy corner to the house. Lee and Lenard both grabbed the top of the fence directly behind their yard and tried to jump over, but failed. Not giving in, Lenard boosted his younger brother up to take a look. However, all they saw was the back of the house, which contained a couple of cops that warned them to get back to their side quickly before they got in trouble.
We all looked at each other from over the fence, but said nothing as we walked back inside our own house. Later that night Mr. Bradley came knocking on our door as we stood in the hallway in front of our rooms, the same hall I had sat in to listen to Mrs. J defend her husband’s actions to my mother. We heard that Mrs. Jean-Baptist’s husband had beaten her to death with the lid of a toilet reservoir and then shot himself in the head. Jack, their son, had been away and therefore spared from the massacre. The neighbor who had come over to explain to my mother what all the commotion was about, concluded as he happened to take a glance in the direction of our little group in the hall, that he heard the son would be staying with family in central Florida. My mother stood at the door, blank of expression at hearing the news. A minute later, she closed the front door and walked into the house. She gave us a stern
look for eavesdropping and walked into her bedroom.
She didn’t cry and didn’t say anything to us about what had occurred.
My uncle, who had also been raised in the old ways, went to his room without a word of guidance to us. We were left on our own to learn from what had taken place and come to our own conclusions. My brothers, too young to fully grasp the information, were only upset that their new friend was gone forever now. I tried to explain as best as I could that the world was full of bad people and sometimes bad- things happened, but the news sickened me. Ghosts of the violent past that I had left in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, sprang up to pull me back into an old nightmare.
That night as my mother slept, I sneaked into the kitchen and quietly opened the door to the liquor cabinet inside the movable bar. Pouring some rum into a blue plastic cup I silently closed the door behind me and moved to the fridge to add milk to the drink. Drinking rum at my age was not normal in my culture, wine maybe on special occasions, but not rum. However, what my mother did not know wouldn’t not hurt her, but more specifically me. And what she didn’t know was that Gloria my Nicaraguan friend who lived across from Mrs. J and was in a grade higher than me kept a bottle under her bed. She always gave me some when I went by there. How she got the bottle she would not tell me, but drinking always seemed to make me feel better when I was sad. Therefore, it was with that intention in mind that I went into my room with the
As I sat on the white tiled floor, I started to weep as my baby sister slept soundly in her bed. I cried for Mrs. J’s unwarranted death and for my mother’s lack of emotion toward it. I cried for all the suffering that people endured and the lack of sympathy we have toward our fellow man. I cried just because in a situation like that sometimes crying is the only thing that can be done and the rum that I had hope would help had not.
I sat there letting the waves of grief and pain crash within me. I wanted the comfort of my mother, the reassurance that only a parent could give to a suffering child, the security that only her touch could bring. However, I knew better than to seek her out. I was not welcomed and would never be. It was not that she specifically disliked me, per se. I mean, it is the norm for daughters and mothers to fight while mothers and sons are best friends.
No, it was more like I reminded her of a past she did not want to remember. A past I knew nothing about except for the rare moments that she felt like inflicting on me accusations full of clues to a puzzle I had not yet pieced together to make a complete picture. I had tried through the years to be on my mother’s better side, but learned the hard way that it was impossible. She could not love me as other mothers loved their daughters. I guess like a rape victim’s spore, I was a constant reminder of what she believed was a horrendous mistake. Being a person of my age, I did not understand that.
Therefore, I tried to bribe my mother with more love and attention than other mothers received from their children. Breakfast in bed, meals when she came home from work, mowing the lawn, doing her hair, giving back massages, etc. My actions were useless, my loved denied, my heart empty. It was a sad thing when you have never had the loving hug of any parent, maybe even a self destructive thing.
Once when I was eleven as I sat in the passenger side of her brown Dodge Minivan that she used as a taxi, I flat out asked her why she never said I love you to me as she did to my brothers. Between trips to the rear to take the passengers’ luggage out she replied, “Why would I say that to a person that did nothing worthy of my love?” I died inside at those words. I had no answer. I stayed mute. Mind racing to find a reason why she should love me, but each one
that came forward I tossed out, finding them inadequate. I spent the rest of the ride from the customer’s house to our house in silence.
That day I changed. It was not apparent in anyway. Just coldness grew around my heart like icicles on a windowpane anytime she was near. Her words had wounded me in a way I could
not deal with. Not then, not anymore. Mentally, I put distance between us, knowing that no matter how hard I tried, the loving attention I sought from her would never be mine. Therefore, I
ignored her curses, and only half-listened when she called me a whore or told me I would never amount to anything. She, I decided, was not going to love me, therefore I would not love her and the emotion I wanted would have to be found somewhere else. Nevertheless, her absence from me at a time like this made the coldness grow to a peak it had never reached before. For us to be
only feet away, but eons apart hurt like my heart had turned to solid ice and the frost was traveling down my veins.
She had not had to tell me anything when she saw us in the hall. I knew what she expected of me in such a situation. She expected me to be her version of strong, to be without emotion, to show no remorse in the face of such a tragedy, to be her. I also knew if she were to walk in right now and find me in the midst of my sorrow, she would barrage me with words full of allegations. She would see my tears and believe that I was silently blaming her for what happened. Moreover, she would surely be using both profanity and threats that stated. She was not to be held responsible for any women who could not take care of themselves. Not her, she would not be responsible for anyone’s burdens, not friends, family, nor foe.
My mother was the strong one; the one who had chosen a life of solitude versus staying married to an unfaithful husband whom she had three kids with. She had chosen to divorce him when her youngest daughter was only eight months old instead of staying in a bad situation just to avoid people talking about the single mother with the five kids. She did not care about the way society looked at her or presumed she was not happy just because she was not married. On the contrary, I think she loved showing people how wrong they were.
Maybe that is why she ignored Mrs. J’s obvious need of support and left the woman whom she had been friends with, to die due to stupidity. It was not right, at least not in my thoughts. Yet, I suspect the reason she did this was that she was trying to teach Mrs. J tough love. She wanted the woman to stand up for herself without the need of a crutch like she herself had done.
Luna Charles is a self-publish author and the Director of Hardcastle Enterprises Corp., a business dedicated to helping those who are ready to realize the full potential that they have within. As the oldest of 5 kids from a single mother, Luna learned early that life may not seems fair but hard work and dedication will get you to where you want to go. Daily in her work, she strives for excellence using those early lessons to reinforce her spirit and those around her when times get tough. Her first novel Men Are Not The Problem is a heartfelt story of overcoming adversity and finding the love within which can conquer all wounds. Along with writing, Luna spends her time speaking to the youth in her local Florida community, raising her two daughters and spending time with her husband. She is currently working on a journal due out later on this year. Luna is Haitian by birth but has lived in South Florida for the last 21 years of her life.
Get to Know Author Luna Charles :
1. When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing in Elementary school. I came to American when I was nine so; I picked up the language fairly quickly. I was pretty shy and anti social, so writing gave me an outlet for my emotions. I must admit some of my early stuff was pretty dark. I always thought I would be a thriller writer, but one cannot control the words that decide to come through you when you put paper on pen, at least that has been my personal experience.
2. What inspired you to write your first book?
Life, tragedy, a desperate need to make sense of the calamity that has become my life. I had spent years not writing, not thinking, not really involved in my own life. It was like I was a spectator. Waiting to see what would the next catastrophe Luna Charles would be involved in. Self pity I now understand is a lot more addictive then reality TV. You can take it with you anywhere and it doesn’t cost a thing to feed. It when I was at my lowest that I found a journal that a friend had given me years ago, the inscription begged me to write. So I did. And I haven’t stopped since then.
3. How long did it take?
From the moment I pick up that notebook to the day Men Are Not The Problem was published, it took an incredible five years to complete. I rewrote the manuscript 4 times. Had it professionally developmental edited and copy edited. I grew into a stronger person as I wrote. A more defined individual. It was like I took a part of my character’s strength and imbued it into myself. Really, I don’t feel like I was alive until I started writing this novel.
4. Have you ever thought about turning your book into a movie?
Yes, that would wonderful. I would love to see the characters brought to life and life lessons learned on the big screen or even the small screen. But the question is, are we as a society ready for a movie like that? I mean, I see men as men, black, white, or purple. If a guy’s is a world class jerk, like Michael our antagonist, it has nothing to do with his race. It just happens that she is a black woman who falls in love with an A$@, who happened to be white. But what I am afraid of is that most people will not even see the pain and suffering that Selene goes through or that she dated other guys of other races that mistreated her. That all they will focus on is that he is white and she is black. Instead of, she is a person lost trying to find herself.
5. Have you ever thought about writing a sequel?
Yes, I am currently working on the sequel to Men Are Not The Problem. I believe the readers want to know what happened after Selene walked through that door. Yes, she is in a better place. But life is not all roses and she does have some huge events she has to deal with. I can’t wait till it’s ready, but for now I think it won’t be ready for print till 2012.
6. What are you current projects?
Currently I am working a Journal due out this November. I’m so excited about it. It’s a mixture of short stories and exercises to help those that need that extra push, to take control of their lives. Apart from that I’m busy writing short stories for different project that will be published this year.
7. Name one entity outside of family that you feel supported you?
There is no way in the world that I could name just 1 person outside my family that supported me. My friends, Aneesha, Lucien, and Susie have been instrumental in me still being here. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and they continue to push me onward. With them and my family, there is no going back for me, only forward and up.