Mother Se’May Sayer: The ARC of Time
Episode Twelve: When The Shadows Disappear
(It seems as if the days and even the nights are a bit brighter. Mother Sayer is wondering now about the many days of success and failure. The solutions that seemingly appeared from nowhere. All the words that flowed out of her mouth in the right context and the right tone. How, she wonders, did all these events appear like rungs on a ladder. Rungs that I suddenly could grasp for dear life to stop a fall. Rungs she could take hold on to save herself?
It also seems as if I am not so crowded or buffeted about as I walk along on my journey throughout the path in life I’ve chosen. This feeling, this influx of information must be explained. “I feel free of internal and external weights and measures as if the things that were lining up to make me stumble, change course, or cease my efforts have suddenly fell silent in defeat.” A lot of those barriers, or constructs that have taken human form in my mind, prevailing over my desires many a day. Hours upon hours did I wrestle with my adversaries to connect even the simplest pieces of my plans.
My Father, she thinks, taught me much about the way to handle adversaries and adversity in real life. He also said, “I can’t teach you everything Se’May. I am not God. The rest of the way you will have to beat a path for yourself. All you have to do is decide on a direction and go.” I wonder if he wrestled with internal foes as much as I did).
Mother Sayer: (Mother arrives at the office in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on a crisp and breezy August morning. The traffic wasn’t so bad she thinks, but it’s relative to the activity that this city produces. She knows the more traffic there is the more business, and with the traffic comes more opportunity for everyone in this city to find their niche). Sarah? Do you have the reports covering all the projects that have passed from planning to initial implementation on my desk?
Sarah W. Certainty: Yes Mother, they are laid out from most promising to needs attention.
Mother Sayer: Just the way I like them. Thank you, Sarah. As organized as you can be, as always.
Sarah W. Certainty: Mother, may I speak to you about something?
Mother Sayer: Sure Sarah, yes, yes of course. Come in and sit, I’ll have us brought up some hot beverages as I’m looking to let things soak in for a while this morning. It may last throughout the afternoon.
Sarah W. Certainty: Good, Mother. I may be a minute. I’d like to sort through some things if you will be so kind as to indulge me for a while.
Mother Sayer: (As the hot cocoa and coffee arrives, Mother and Sarah immediately begin to decipher the meanings of these newly ‘recovered’ feelings of strength, will power, or just good ole plain ‘promises released’ into their lives to be achieved). I’ve had this feeling of being revved up, like an engine getting an octane boost.
Sarah W. Certainty: I’ve had the same feeling for quite a while. Since I met you; I’ve had a chance to perform a review of the years I was being raised by my parents. All the activities I was shielded from and told when I asked about them, not to ask to about them. I still observed many things and sought to understand them with the tools in my possession as best I could. The early years of my life when my mother would quickly shield the ‘aftermath’ of my father’s business dealings from my view. The injuries my father received that my mother mended were the worse.
She would. I’ll rephrase. Anytime she knew my father was going to collect money for his boss, Don Stonehand, her plan to keep my innocence as a child intact as long as possible, and she did. I really didn’t start to grasp the enormity of my surroundings until I was twelve years old. That’s when we moved to a bigger home, and my father started having bodyguards. The benefit of ‘money up or status up’ in the underworld.
Mother Sayer: Wait. You didn’t see anything as a child? No violence at all?
Sarah W. Certainty: None. My mother was ‘strategic’ and better yet she was ‘anticipatory’ about instances when it could occur in order to follow her plan for me precisely. She had a vision of what she wanted for her daughter, and my father never interfered with her wishes.
Mother Sayer: Until you turned twelve that is.
Sarah W. Certainty: Yes Mother. There was no way to keep my exposure to it at a minimum forever, so she established rules around the house, new rules I should say. We still ate as a family. I spent plenty of time with my father. All of us did things together. We saw live shows, movies, and I even had parts in my school plays. Whose father shows up at school plays with bodyguards? (Sarah chuckles a little).
Mother Sayer: All the while, you were gradually introduced to the life your father was leading.
Sarah W. Certainty: Yes, I was. My parents despised lying to each other. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I can’t answer the question of whether my father had mistresses like all the criminal heads.
Mother Sayer: Then the matter is settled as it is not for you to worry about. I’ve been apart from my husband for a few years. His job is somewhat like your father’s. He has to make decisions that that if he didn’t would blow his cover. I’m not a hopeless romantic and I’m certainly not ‘momma’s girl’ who’s unaware of the world she lives in.
Sarah W. Certainty: (Sarah laughs as she eyes the evidence of Mother’s words on her appearance. The acceptance of forging a path alone. The turning of solitude into raising children alone. The servitude to her business. Being a leader that ‘crackles’ with the vision that everybody experiences daily through the energy and successful direction of her company’s activity. Everyone that works here knows they better get a good grip and hold tight if you want to work here). You are certainly not a ‘momma’s girl. Being a part of the creative environment here is enough for anyone wishing to have a hand in the success of The ARC Incorporated. Now the first folder on the stack is about the ‘PLAYBOY’.
Mother Sayer: Ah yes, the ‘PLAYBOY’. It looks like the U.S. Patents office has given us a patent pending stamp of approval. Hmm, it also seems that our sales team is doing a great job marketing the device to every airline in the world. Good. I’ll just make a note here to have their teams to always connect the device to real world experiences at all times. In other words, connect it to lives at all times.
Sarah W. Certainty: If they see how it fits into the daily grind of air transportation and unfortunately, casualty notification, the ‘PLAYBOY’ will be accepted more and more.
Mother Sayer: (Mother just gives a nod as the ‘PLAYBOY’ is a momentous leap in not only the casualty recovery of passengers on a plane, but the tracking and immediate ability to launch search missions making a vital improvement forward). Good, and let’s see what’s next.
The tracking software that targeted the Asian market is taking hold with law enforcement now. It would seem that incident location feature on the app has taken off. The APP, make a note Sarah, we have to give it a name, has augmented law enforcement’s ability to arrive on scene precisely where the disturbance is.
Sarah W. Certainty: How about ‘FOUND U?’
Mother Sayer: I must stress to the team that when an incident occurs; the notification goes out to everyone in the vicinity in order to give them a chance to decide what decisions to make regarding their safety.
Sarah W. Certainty: Of course Mother. Even the men and women that wear the uniform of law enforcement are human. They all do not possess the same high level of professionalism. Loss of life is what this APP seeks to prevent.
Mother Sayer: That is correct Sarah. If I can save one family from having to feel the stinging, burning shock of an unjust and untimely death. I will have completed my mission with the ‘FOUND U’ APP. Understand me, I am not justifying the killing of any human being. Whether it is law enforcement, civilian or military. An answer should be given and recorded about all loss of life. No one should be excluded from answering for their actions.
Now, I want to share some notices, per se, I’ve received. It may be nothing. I could just be wanting these feelings I’ve been having about my life to mean more than they ought to.
Sarah W. Certainty: Not at all Mother, tell me.
Mother Sayer: I get the sense that I’ve lost a lot of shadows.
Sarah W. Certainty: Shadows?
Mother Sayer: When I realized my good fortune early in my childhood. My mother marrying the man, my stepfather, who became my blood father by the love he showed to me, was all ordained from what I could grasp at the time. I can’t believe that my father, Mister Abelman Sayer, did not realize the weight of the decision he was making.
He was marrying a woman that had children from another man. Yeah, all the ‘how’s your wife and my kids’ jokes were captured by his ears. All the forewarnings and all the well-meaning advise sought to deter him from his decision. My father didn’t dismiss the counsel he received out of hand. He merely contemplated it for over a year after he met my mother. He proposed to her a year after they met. The wedding date was set about six months later in the summer. The day after Independence Day.
Sarah W. Certainty: Wait Mother, tell me more about why its’ such a dreadful thing to marry a woman with children?
Mother Sayer: It is dreadful because a woman rarely allows a man, a good man at that, my father, to exert authority over her children. Don’t get me wrong when I say this, but some women lack the intellectual insight, the ‘intellectual application’ to know when the man they possess, the good man they married, must be allowed to teach ‘their’ children. Some women still hold onto the fallacious belief that the man they married doesn’t have the right to lead her children. She may submit to his leadership as his wife, but she won’t share her authority and allow the covering to shield her children as well.
I mean this for the children no matter what sex they are. Male or female, the mother has to allow the ‘good man’ the authority to help raise the children from a good man’s point of view. The Father and the Mother must be unified in this task, or the children will succumb to dark influences to pit the parents against each other.
Sarah W. Certainty: Friction.
Mother Sayer: Yes Sarah, have you encountered some as you are out and about?
Sarah W. Certainty: I don’t know, but I have from time to time seen some things that, with couples, that didn’t look like let’s say ‘family love.’
Mother Sayer: Family love? I’ve noticed Ulsani Tonelli and Jayce Collark passing by looking through the office glass. Since I know they’re not looking at me, I’ve wondered which one do you prefer?
Sarah W. Certainty: (Oh course, Mother misses nothing. The Italian or the Black guy is the question of the day. I have to sense that it isn’t a coincidence that an eligible Italian man was hired by Mother, or an intelligent Black man with the right schooling and background was brought on board in the front office. I’m sure my parents had something to do with the Italian. Anyway.). I’ve went out separately with them bought, but I do prefer the Italian.
Mother Sayer: I thought so. I’m glad for you, but I will talk to you about widening your choices at a later time. I want to go back to you saying that you’ve observed the behavior of couples when you’re out and about. Have you observed the dynamics of race in the myriad of human interactions you see every day?
Sarah W. Certainty: Honestly, not so much.
Mother Sayer: Could it be because you have the “Golden Ticket”?
Sarah W. Certainty: The ‘Golden Ticket’?
Mother Sayer: I’ll say this and then we’ll get back to the topic of ‘shadows’. It signifies a freedom and unfettered ability to move about in American Society absent the restraints ‘seen and unseen’ that people of other races can’t refuse to ignore.
Sarah W. Certainty: Restraints?
Mother Sayer: Hold that thought and from this point forward vow to observe things more closely in the future Sarah. Allow your mind to receive the data that’s sent like ‘carrier waves’ from every human being ‘like the unseen wind, but is caught by your senses and analyzed by your brain.’
Sarah W. Certainty: (God, and I don’t say it often. God, I am glad my Mother gave me to this woman). So, I should learn to see not just with my eyes, but with all my senses?
Mother Sayer: Yes Sarah, learn to interpret the world around you. Like you processed your place in your Father and Mother’s home. How you learned to gather information without it being expressed to you. Remember how powerful it felt to know things about your surroundings that no one told you. Just as you’ve learned to anticipate my wants and needs as I have embraced you like my daughter.
Sarah W. Certainty: You are right Mother. I did discover a lot of things about my parents because I paid attention to their actions and interactions. The gravity or weight in the room how it changed when things were serious or playful. I did feel a sense that finding things out for myself gave me more confidence than if things were just told me.
Mother Sayer: (She wants to quickly express two words, one compound and one singular, but she keeps her composure). That’s right Sarah. I’ve always suspected that you’ve kept a lot of say ‘incidents’ stored in your mind for later when you could find someone who could help you decipher or interpret them.
Sarah W. Certainty: Is it that obvious?
Mother Sayer: It is to someone who was raised correctly to utilize all her talents. No, not everyone picks up non-verbal clues. Getting back to the point of ‘shadows’ I mentioned earlier. I’ve gotten a lot accomplished in the 12 years I’ve started this company. Although that’s a nice record, I can’t help wondering about what I’ve allowed to tag along with me on my journey. Like an uninvited guest at a house party.
Sarah W. Certainty: Like something along for the ride that didn’t buy a full price ticket.
Mother Sayer: Correct. I want to bounce some things off you. Tell me what you think. (Mother doesn’t have to say to Sarah tell me the truth. Sarah already knows the ‘ROCK’ that Mother has built her life and her business is the ‘The Rock of Truth’).
Sarah W. Certainty: I’m ready.
Mother Sayer: I’ll start with the smaller shadows I’ve already gotten rid of. The shadow of ‘raising the children alone’. For a few years, I’ve waited for Zar to come home more often from his work, but I gave up on it after the children turned 5 and 6. It was like a new presence had formed while I was transfixed with the singularity of parenthood. It got so bad that I found myself counting days like an inmate awaiting parole or release from prison.
Sarah W. Certainty: It became a purpose that was feeding on you like a leech?
Mother Sayer: Yes, yes it was. When I finally accepted the fact that I had to do it alone, the energy that was being sapped returned to me like a jolt. Like I shedded an overcoat in the middle of summer. Another ‘shadow’ that seemed to plague me was taking money from my Father to start my enterprise.
Sarah W. Certainty: What was wrong with taking money from your Father? Don’t people go to banks or credit unions or frankly loan sharks to get money to start a business or whatever? Why would taking money from your Father be shameful or less noble? You took it from somebody that believed in you. What could be better?
Mother Sayer: (Mother listened to all the points Sarah made and she determined that they are all valid). Thank you, Sarah. I came to the same conclusion and shook off that ‘shadow’ rather quickly. Then there is the ‘shadow’ that a woman running a business is not to be taken seriously or the venture wouldn’t last long anyway. God forbid that race is a failing factor especially for women.
Sarah W. Certainty: Oh, yeah. I forgot that one. We still live in the South. Although I would certainly like to hear how it is done. How do you do it as a Black woman in the South?
Mother Sayer: First, let me say I’ve learned quite a lot about how my dad managed to do what he did in running a business so long. I thank your father for the friendship they had for each other. Now Sarah, I’ve never explained how I forged ahead in my own right, but my father prepared me in ways that I can only relate it to one part of our society. The Olympics. My training was relentless and constant. Don’t forget now that this was in addition to my growing years and excelling in K thru 12.
Sarah W. Certainty: He brought you along the way by increasing your capacity for growth which I assumed was targeted more mental than physical.
Mother Sayer: Exactly! (Easy easy, Mother says to herself mentally. It is not unusual to speak with someone of high intelligence. You do it all the time because that is a requirement to work at the ARC Incorporated.). Everything you learn isn’t squeezed into a small intellect. Everything you learn is inserted which causes your intellect to expand in abilities which enables your capacity for growth to increase.
Sarah W. Certainty: Well, you know I have to ask this as I’ve felt a little resentment towards my dad. Did you rebel against him at any point? This constant rate of teaching had to elicit a rebellious response at some point.
Mother Sayer: Insight. Analysis. Deductive reasoning. Directed conclusion. I must say Sarah, you are an asset to me. Total rebellion at any point with my father? No. I of course had skirmishes, but they were mainly with my refusal to accept my life for what it was. My father didn’t ease up on the things he thought I needed to know, so I finally resigned myself to that fact and got on with it. I don’t think he cared whether I was female either. It probably energized him more towards his goal of making me competent in my gifts and discerning in applying them to my life and thus create the world I desired.
Sarah W. Certainty: Please tell me more.
Mother Sayer: I want to preempt the nature of sour relationships with men for you first. Sometimes women and men don’t understand the full meaning of the saying, you learn and thus become more like who you’re with in a relationship. For instance, if a woman is with a man and he is unable to keep a job. If he is unable to keep a roof over their heads, and he is incapable of performing the tasks that are widely accepted for a man to perform eventually ends up affecting your beliefs of what a man’s role is in a relationship.
Sarah W. Certainty: The more you forgive him something the more it becomes the norm he won’t strive to fulfill his responsibilities.
Mother Sayer: Exactly. Just because you show understanding doesn’t mean the things you forgive him for not doing make those requirements unnecessary to sustain a dignified life. Providing shelter, food, clothing and support is why two people agreeing to get things done is better than one.
Sarah W. Certainty: It sounds like both people need to demand accountability and not relinquish it.
Mother Sayer: Right. Sarah, listen to me. Love and Commitment are strongholds. Weakening them by not demanding accountability doesn’t make either person stronger. The effect is quite detrimental. I’ve read somewhere that “confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint.” (Proverbs 25:19)
Not only does releasing a partner from their duties to each other forebodes troubles, but it forms a shadow as well. The ‘shadow of bestowing faith on the wrong person’. I know the conclusion is harsh and isn’t meant to sever ties with a partner immediately, but he or she needs to be put on notice that you’re not holding up your end of the bargain. Don’t drag it out either. If a person can’t or won’t do right by you, they’re not going to do right.
Sarah W. Certainty: So, life is transactional?
Mother Sayer: Yes, to a certain degree it is. Listen, I’ve seen people in my neighborhood truly believe that they can change people. I know the look on your face. “No human being changes unless they wish to change.”
Let me say this to you and it might be a little forward thinking, but it is something that needs to be said. It is good that you are starting a relationship, but keep your head on straight about ‘human interaction’. It can have a lasting effect on your outlook on life.
Sarah W. Certainty: What do you mean ‘human interaction’ and my outlook on life?
Mother Sayer: Most women and some men take on the traits of the people they’re intimate with to an extent that their view seemingly matches the view of their partner. (Mother sees the look of bewilderment on Sarah’s face and she gestures with her hand to just follow what I’m saying for now).
I’ll lay out a scenario for you. Say you’re with a man long enough to get a good read on his tendencies and motivations about how he lives his life. Let’s say some parts of his structure and foundation suddenly has cracks or is leaking, metaphorically of course. He’s late for work a lot lately. His finances begin to show signs of straining to meet his obligations. He’s short on conversation more now even after all the chores are done and the day winds to a close.
You chalk it up to he has a lot of responsibilities and he’s managing them as best he can. Is he? What should you do as the love interest when this ‘trying time’ occurs?
Sarah W. Certainty: Well, I would be supportive first. Then I would want to know what’s going on and how I could help him get through what’s troubling him.
Mother Sayer: Good Sarah, very good. What if he doesn’t respond positively to your offer of assistance? Then what do you do?
Sarah W. Certainty: I’m not following clearly what you mean Mother. Are you saying that I need to demand something from him? A show of good faith that he must understand that’s how a relationship works?
Mother Sayer: (Mother smiles and listens to Sarah and she observes the change in body language and muscle contortions on her face.). That’s exactly right Sarah. There’s an old saying that you only get one chance to make a good impression. If a man or a woman doesn’t wish to discuss their troubles with you, which everyone that lives and strives for something in life will have; he or she won’t be supportive enough to help you when your troubles come. Let me tell you, two people talking out their problems and brainstorming solutions is an invaluable practice. That’s right, if you’re with a person incapable of discussing real problems with you, then ask yourself who’s going to help you figure out answers to your problems.
Sarah W. Certainty: What if the person is shy?
Mother Sayer: Ain’t that sweet. I hope there’s a clinic nearby that offers group therapy sessions to open his or her outlook to the world. Look, there is only so much time we all have on this Earth. Do you want to be a therapist or psychiatrist to everybody that needs ‘relationship’ coaching?
Sarah W. Certainty: No, but I want to be understanding and helpful, don’t I?
Mother Sayer: If the man has promise, sure you can be supportive. There’s also the fact of time. You want someone to complement you, don’t you? I don’t want you to be a ‘deflated ball’ either.
Sarah W. Certainty: A ‘deflated ball’?
Mother Sayer: Yes Sarah. Right now, you’re a vibrant and most impressive talent. Beautiful and intelligent. The danger in life comes when you allow the rules you live by to be relaxed for another person. If that partner doesn’t work out, then you start to snowball, per se, from partner to partner to partner when you should’ve stuck with your ‘code’ in the first place.
That’s when the ‘deflated ball’ metaphor describes your body and mind after being passed from partner to partner to partner. A ball is quite firm when it is put into the game, but after its’ played with for a while that ball is ‘tossed’ and a new ball takes its’ place.
Sarah W. Certainty: I do get it. Nobody can really bounce up and down on a ‘flat ball’ huh?
Mother Sayer: No they cannot. That’s not the worst state of a person after wandering from partner to partner to partner. The worst thing about that person is not recognizing when they meet a good person. Usually they initially interact quite pleasantly with a good person, but their record of being with uncomplimentary people drives how they behave with the good person.
Sarah W. Certainty: They’re programmed with the foolishness of all the wrong people that it’s impossible to behave righteously with the good person. They don’t know how to act?
Mother Sayer: Right. It is frustrating for the good person to have sympathy for you, but inevitably the good person isn’t going to waste time trying to deprogram you because you are now comfortable with the mentality of all the bad partners you had. I’ve taught my children from the time I knew they could understand me. ‘Protect your mind’ at all times.
Thus the ‘shadow of relationship turning’ is a strong one to make disappear when you’ve burdened yourself for years by not firmly adhering to your own rules.
Sarah W. Certainty: Stick to my code I live by for without it, “I will look like a stuffed toy, played with for only so long until its forgotten somewhere dirty and sticky.”
Mother Sayer: (Interesting, Sarah is beginning to develop her own aphorisms.). Very good, Sarah. That’s a nice one. Now I want to talk about the shadow of not bettering yourself. It often happens when people say to you, ‘Oh you think you’re better than me because you’re a college graduate’ or however they end the sentence.
Sarah W. Certainty: I know, like how women look at me and envy my good looks.
Mother Sayer: Correct. I usually say, “It’s not that I think I’m better than you, but I’ve spent a lot of money in school. I’ve spent a lot of time honing my soft skills such as language, relationships in the workplace, conflict resolution and so on. I’ve done it and it’s within your rights to do it as well.”
Sarah W. Certainty: Right, but what if they become agitated and make a scene?
Mother Sayer: You calmly say something like ‘excuse me’ and walk away. That shadow is easy to make disappear, but it’s also easy to add to your burdens when you don’t develop yourself as a person. The ‘shadow of believing education puts you in a bad light’ is a terrible shadow to have tagging along for the ride.
Sarah W. Certainty: I’ve heard that since I’ve been here around more Black people.
Mother Sayer: (Mother laughs at Sarah.). Heard what Sarah?
Sarah W. Certainty: That Blacks kids are often scolded by their friends for being smart.
Mother Sayer: Yeah, I’ve already given my children tools to counter that foolishness, but it’s a shadow that stills creeps about seeking whom it may cover. Another shadow that really strangles the hopes of many people is the ‘shadow of inconsistency’.
Sarah W. Certainty: Okay, so following a routine everyday should eliminate that shadow.
Mother Sayer: That’s precisely right. The military is good at this. Every soldier in the Army knows what time to be in formation every morning. A routine relieves a lot of guesswork and keeps many people, who’ve never had structure where they came from, out of trouble.
Sarah W. Certainty: It helped you?
Mother Sayer: The Army delivered to me the items for which I joined, and I’m thankful for my service to my country. I think we’ve covered a lot of ground today. I’m going to have some lunch brought up for us. Is that okay Sarah?
Sarah W. Certainty: I’d like to talk about shadows again. I think I’m dropping a lot of mine as we speak.
Mother Sayer: Good Sarah. Man, you are already pretty. I don’t know if you’ll be too fly for my company.
Sarah W. Certainty: Don’t worry Mother, unless you fire me, I’m not going anywhere.
Mother Sayer: (Mother smiles, it’s always good to make sure of your allies. Even in the good times.). That’s my girl.
(The lunch was good. Roast beef with mashed potatoes, salad, dinner rolls, apple pie. White wine to wash it down. Mother thinks about her company, The ARC Incorporated. It’s a great place to work and support a family which is all good, but the ‘human interaction’ is the fuel that makes it fly. She loves feeling the blood flow through her people because she knows there is more creativity and zest in people that in profit. A business can have the best products, but does it have the best people? The people is what the ARC chooses to invest its’ resources.).