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Hardened hearts. Decaying mentalities. Past and current agonies. Addictions and struggles we should have overcome some years ago, but they are hanging on like vines in the jungle of our minds. Despicable and tired behaviors, entitlement, ignorance, and arrogant proclamations- a rotting narcissistic culture amid multiple levels of deafening and undiagnosed mental health issues. Issues adding to hundreds of other conditions that cause us to be stuck! Year after year, generation after generation, stuck like hollowed yachts wallowing in mud. No external recognition, no definition, no Christ, and consequently no growth or internal answerability. And why?

Some of us have been told all our lives not to share our deepest thoughts and emotions, to shut up, hide and bear it. Told to stand up straight and “fix yah face, appear presentable. It ain’t that bad!” Told to ignore the visible paralysis and the hidden hindrances produced by unimaginable sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse because, "it happened to a lot of us!" That good ole "suck it up and get over it" mentality has plagued many family lineages. The elders insist that those old bones, wrapped in tattered spice-colored leather, "are buried and there's no need in digging them up...!" And indeed, they are buried in shallow ground where they cannot rest easy. Those old bones anxiously await their opportunity to dance themselves into exposure, scarring us with bitter truths about who we are.

This sacred burial ground we have built full lives on unremittingly invokes the storms of- "Who am I? Why do I have aches and pains that prescription medicines, drugs, self-absorption, alcohol, and habitual sex will not ease or cure? Why can’t I be faithful? Why do I claim to be changed but act the same? Why are my 'whys' so unsure and so insecure? Why can’t I ever admit my wrongs? Why is time moving, but I stand still? Why is my reflection a direct connection of what I run from?” We ask, but deep down we know. Pleading with hundreds of other whats and whys regarding the family secrets and the aged blood rusting in great-grandma's rugs. Rugs that have been singed to the floor concealing mounds of dirt that have begun its dissolution into dust that will settle into the sacred burial ground where those old bones, wrapped in tattered spice-colored leather, lie in wait.

Grandma, auntie, and them recall tragedies of the black family’s woes with quivering laughter that oozes ancient stained tears. Curiosities linger on, and we find ourselves inquiring, “WHY! Did daddy really leave? Why was mama so unloving and mean, yah know, like she professed grandma was? Why was sexual abuse sat on and concealed like an angry game of musical chairs, each brown face racing to shield the hard dark truth first.” A cautionary tale that needs no telling because it is seen motionlessly stirring through the generations.

A familiar story, although never present. We may not have physically witnessed the acts, but the spirit and shattered emotion of the abused child raised us, handing down the HD version of their torment like a grief-stricken rose tossed on a grave. Truth is, some of our parents never made it past their adolescence. Many 50 to 70-year-old souls are struggling with the anxieties, mysteries, and miseries of their childhood because they are, stuck.

Stuck in a place with no windows or doors. Waiting for those old bones to awake and tap on the memories of yesterday's present pains that have caused them to forcefully dilute the repeating slideshow of dysfunction and abnormalities made normal by the "you'll be all right, it happened to a lot of us" remarks. Confusion brews like a strong pot of coffee awakening our senseless senses, and at that moment, we know that something is seriously wrong here!

20 years later, we are still stuck. In the nightmares of our youth and in the day fears of our elders. Questioning our connectivity and authenticity in love, with self, in our parenting, and in other relationships. Enviously stabbing each other relentlessly, aiming to tenderize each other's core, weakening, and exposing only to restore the mask and be the first to offer a bandage and a hug.

Rhythmic cycles of stuck replicating with every birth- nature versus tainted nurture, overflowing affliction, families divided, hatred ensues, true love is blinded, resentment thickens like an ocean's mist, the wounds never heal, and answers remain unquestioned. And so, it goes, broken people produce broken people, and hurt people hurt people, and they all remain stuck.

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