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Moded AF

Growing up Black, Fast, and Gifted

Being an 80s baby always made me feel special, it was just a good time to be born. June of 1985 to be specific. In my younger years, I remember being a happy kid. One of my favorite things, 'til this day is singing. One of my earliest memories had to be when I was five years old. My mother (Doris), would connect the microphone to the radio and she would record us singing on a cassette tape. We would sing songs from the O'Jays, Debra & Ronnie Laws, and other artists. As I got older, I would go on to sing in the choir at the church I grew up in, New Hope Baptist. It's a popular church if you grew up on the east side of Long Beach. That's where I met a few of my childhood friends... that grew to be family, sort of. I would sing as if there was nothing holding me back. As a child you don't know the social constraints, like the wrong or right way to sing. You just did it cause you were told to do so. I liked the attention, early on. I didn't know it then but singing and music would grow to be my outlet and one of the only things that would keep me sane.

Growing up all I had was my mother, my father chose to not be a part of my life. Except for the glimpses of him I would get, like the occasional promises to Disney over the phone and the visits he would make sporadically. Don't get me wrong, I was just like most young African American children growing up without their father. Even though I would feel happy to have any little time he would give me, I never felt like I was missing anything or anyone from my life. We lived in poverty but my mother never made me feel like I was going without anything. She told me she loved me every single day, and spent a lot of time with me. I remember being so young, I'd lay on her chest while Gilligan's Island, Bobby's World or Tiny Toons would end up watching us, until we fell asleep. Now that I look back on it, I am very grateful for that. Not to mention I always felt like I had a two parents 'cause my grandma (Marie), was always there. She played a huge part in my upbringing and has always been a key figure in my life. My life had a routine and I was fairly used to it. School during the week, riding bikes on Saturday, and going to church on Sunday; we kept this routine up until my 7th birthday, where everything took a turn for the worse.

On my 7th birthday, my mother and I decided to ride bikes. School was out and my birthday just so happen to fall on a Monday. There was this hill along-side a park that we would ride down to get to the bike trail. There was a grassy area, the sidewalk, and the street. My mother would always say, "Dianna, you need to stay in the grass." However, I was seven today and convinced her to let me ride down the hill on the sidewalk. She said okay, but that I needed to go slow. Did I listen... of course not. I went barreling down that hill. It never occurred to me that there was mailbox at the bottom of the hill. Yet we went this route every Saturday. I guess I panicked and didn't think to slow down gradually. Right before I approached the mailbox, I slammed on the brakes. Going head first into the mailbox. I loss consciousness immediately. All I remember is seeing blood on the concrete and my mother screaming. I blacked out again and next, I was in someone's house and I would see a statue of Mary and more blood. The ambulance came and I had to get stitches. My ass was awake for all of that coincidentally. I kicked, screamed and cried, but now have a mark to show for it.

A few nights after the incident, I was asleep in our one bedroom apartment. It had to be midnight or close to it, but something instantly woke up out of my sleep. Once my eyes focused in the dark, I could see my mother standing over me, naked, and holding a TV over my head. Not one of these smart thin TV's but the old school TV with the whole back, yeah heavy ones. When I gasped, she yelled, "DIANNA GET OUT OF THE HOUSE." I ran outside and proceeded to go through the alley and go to my grandma's house. Little did I know, grandma's house was all the way on the other side of town and how would it look walking alone wearing red pajamas. I ended up going to the apartment manager's place and knocking on the door. 

When she answered, I said,"There's something wrong with my mom."

The apartment manager (Frankie) kept me in her apartment. I do know the police came, 'cause they questioned me. That would be the day I learned why my mother never went to work like all the other kids parents.

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