Netflix dropped a series and I couldn’t get into it and the reason I couldn’t relate to ‘The Babysitter’s club’. I was only pretending to read it. I was really reading Terry McMillian books at a young age, but I understood every bit of what I was reading.
I always feel like for growth it’s important to read no matter the book because it has been said before “If you want to hide something from a black person, put it in a book.”
For me, there is nothing like a good old Terry McMillan novel always does the trick for me. I can say that I have been a fan of her novels for more than half my life I started out young but I have always had a love of reading which turned me into a writer. And I have never looked back.
I may have been too young to read my first McMillian’s classic “Mama” but I was mature at that age and I could relate to this book in so many ways at like 10/11 years old.
Although, it has been many years since I first read this book, I own it and I pick it back from time to time, because it relates to every generation and especially a time such as this. It’s something about her books that just does it for me, they are relatable and realistic.
And you cannot find a bigger “Waiting to Exhale” fan, I remember being too young to even be in the movies but I was there. My friend and I went together because it was talked about so much and we wanted to see what all the hype was about. Yes. Yes. And yes, this movie lived up to my expectations but I will admit the book was better. I guess because I am an avid reader with a wild imagination. I always prefer books over movies but now that I am a busy mother sometimes there is little time for reading but during this quarantine, I have more free time than I’ve ever had. I didn’t finish all of “How Stella got her Groove Back” but I have watched the movie and yes it was sad when her friend passed away, which is happening even more with corona now wrecking havoc all over the world.
Fast forward to 2020 and I came across her latest book “It’s not all Downhill from Here,” and in true Terry McMillan fashion I loved every bit of this novel. It took back to the 90’s, where you could read a novel and picture it as a movie just by her words alone.
This book took me on an emotion rollercoaster, I was happy I was sad, I was mad, I was pulling for the struggles and cheering for the wins.
The main thing I wanted to address since this is mental health is a all time rise everywhere in every community because quite a few characters were suffering with mental illness and depression and even suicide. This book made me go within thinking about myself and some of the times that I thought I was fine but I wasn’t, times when I wasn’t getting what I needed but didn’t know how to seek out help. I love the group of friends that could call each other out on their shit and there would be no love lost, they were still there when needed. Sisterhood is needed in times like these. The mother/daughter relationships were rocky which is common among African American women but it was more to this relationship but isn’t every mother/daughter (please see my video where I touch on this).
I thought I was alone with this issue but with the help of social media and reaching on to others I am in the majority. We’re all f__ED up, having daughters of my own has turned out to be another disaster, these new kids are a different breed. baby. These damn kids should come with instruction manuals because we want them to have a better life than we did, but we didn’t turn out so bad so what was so wrong about us going without a few luxuries. I am a damn good mother but I can admit defeat and when they get to be a certain age, we’re all kind of winging it anyway. And trust me I am but if I had to grade myself, I’d give me a B/C corona has me all messed up. Reading and writing is all that has saved me for the last 6-7months.
I have a huge list of more books to read but I’m glad Terry is still writing because I now know how difficult it is reading but this takes me back and makes me remember why I started reading books from black authors before I was supposed. ‘Mama’ prepared me for a world I had no idea I would witness; it was the first time I read a book about rape or molestation and the mom actually believed her daughter. I had heard so many horror stories about abuse continuing despite the mother knowing about it. So many things are worsen during such a difficult time as this. Depression and stress is at a all time high right now.
So many people are stuck at home and have been for over six months and that alone is very depressing. I know for myself I’ve had to wear more hats than I ever had to before: teacher, chef, nurse, guidance counselor, maid, mom, principal, study buddy, tutor, friend, and so on. With school we at least got a few hours away from each other now there is nowhere to go without bumping into one another. I know I haven’t always done a mental health checkup but I do believe it is safe to say that I need one and I need to check on my strong friends as well. If there is one thing I would advise it would be to escape your reality in the pages of something fiction and fun, like “Waiting to Exhale,” Bernie was the truth. Watching a strong black woman break down and have a moment of weakness and then sat his car on fire with his stuff in it AND slam the door on the white fireman, we all cheered when she did that. That is probably the best meme ever.
Thank you Terry McMillan for giving a little black girl hope and escape in your books even as a kid. You are the real MVP, please keep writing.