BOOK TEASER: Mia X's "Things My Grandma Told Me, Things My Grandma Showed Me"
Editor's Note: Mia X of former No Limit Records fame is AllHipHop.com's resident lady who shares heartwarming (and gangster!) stories and recipes from her "Mamaw," along with new music so you remember her mic skills, too! Check out a book excerpt below from Mia X's forthcoming Things My Grandma Told Me, Things My Grandma Showed Me:
I was feeling down and depressed because I found out that my boyfriend had gotten someone else pregnant. I knew that if I left him, I would have to move back with my mama, and even though I had the best mommy, once you move out and live on your own you establish a comfort zone unlike no other. I called mamaw to see what she was doing.
She was saying that she had a pot of red beans on the stove and was about to make cabbage also. I knew she was cooking for a small army because of the heavy traffic of folks who visited her house everyday. So I asked her if she could use some company and help. She made me smile when she said, "You know mamaw always welcomes your company, Mity."
After we hung up, I got dressed and headed to mamaw's.
On the way I thought about everything that was going on in my life. I loved my boyfriend, we had a daughter, he loved and treated my son as his own, I wanted to be with him, but I was so mad, shamed, and hurt. I just wanted him to settle down with me and do right! All his b*tches and making all these babies. When will he stop was the only thought in my head.
Knock knock I said, turning the knob to mamaws always unlocked door. "Come on baby. I'm in my room." Hey lady. I hugged her neck and kissed her satin smooth mahogany skin. I was trying to avoid eye contact because I had been crying all night.
"What's goin on witcha lil gal"? I didnt have a poker face, so mamaw knew something was bothering me. On top of the fact that she could damn near see through all of us be it good or bad. I exhaled but before I could say anything she told me. "Go was dem outside spirits off you hands so we can sit down and make conte" (discuss things/gossip).
Mamaw had a house rule. Once you crossed her door seal you had to wash you hands. She said you should never bring the random germs from the outside spirits to linger in someones house. As far as her kitchen went, even if you already washed your hands, before you touched anything you had to wash them again.
"Stir the beans and pour the water off the pickle tips(pickled pork briskette) and fill the pot up again they need to boil twice," Mamaw was saying as she was making her way to the kitchen. I was placing the pickle tips and fresh water back on the stove for the second boil when she said.
"What the n*gga did dat got you looking like you gotta be David Dukes chamber maid?" He made a baby on me mamaw! I burst into tears. My heart felt like it was about to explode.
"Girl dry yo eyes! You ain't crying no money and you can't drink yo tears nor the spilled milk! "Mity, he did it. It's done and you got some decisions to make. He's f*ckin hoes and enjoyin the streets and this doesnt seem to be working for you because you want to be in a committed relationship. You got a one man p*ssy and he got a party wiener and the sausage be for everybody who want it at the party.
"They say you can't turn a hoe into a housewife. Well you cant turn a party wiener into Cliff Huxtable either baby. A man will f*ck a duck if it can toot up and spread eagle. I know you hurtin but you gotta face the facts. You can be the sharpest, shiniest knife in the drawer and sometimes he'll go for a plastic one just cause he can. Get the onion garlic celery and bellpepper out the icebox (refrigerator) and a stick of butter. Cut the butter in half and drop a piece in my bean pot. I'ma use the other half to saute' my onion and garlic for the cabbage."
In addition to our families daily meals, mamaw cooked a 5lb pot of red beans with 10lbs of meat everyday and fed the neighborhood. Some people were living pay check to paycheck and often had to choose between the light bill and groceries. Some were on drugs, homeless or they got off work so late they were too tired to cook except for on Sundays. Mamaw hated to see people with small children cooking at 9 and 10pm, so she would say to them, "Well baby I ain't got much but I always have something to eat and you are welcome to come get a plate.
"You been dealing with his ways a long time, Mity. You ought to be tired, but only you will know when you're really tired. You know when its solid, you know when its shaky, and you'll know when it's over. A man treats you how you let him treat you. Women are the ones who really decide if dey gon be his queen or his piece of *ss. This man ain't yo husband, he's yo daughter's daddy. So all he really owe you is to do right by dat baby and to respect the fact dat you her mama. I'm not sayin dat he don't love you; I'm sayin y'all shacked up and played house, and if ya play with anything for too long, it's a game or a toy baby. Life and love aint to be played like games."
I was listening to mamaw and I knew she was right, but I also knew that he promised to love me, and said we would be a family. Now he was behaving like he never said any of that and I was pissed! I clinched my hands and exhaled to fight my tears. Mamaw, so you're saying that instead of moving in together I should have made him marry me? Mamaw bucked her eyes as she looked over her glasses and said, "F*ck No!
"You can't make nobody marry you! And marriage don't mean a relationship will last. People stand up and say vows to God everyday and behave like they single and looking elsewhere before the ink dries on the piece of paper! I'm sayin you knew this man had a party wiener when you met him! He had women and he was f*ckin em. Even if he did like you the most don't mean he was going to change. He just showed you that you was the one he wanted to wake up to the most. But now if he was ya husband his *ss would think about dat alimony!" she said and laughed.
"People make promises out dey mouts (mouths) on a daily basis, and a hot c*ck man is known for making and breaking verbal agreements. Especially in the lust of the moment and after the nuts bust. You want Mamaw to make you some smothered potatoes, Mity?"
I was caught off guard by her inserting food into our deep conversation. In the time that we had been talking, she had cut four cabbage heads, boiled 10lbs of pickled tips. Some for the beans, some for the cabbage. Cut and pre-cooked five pounds of smoked sausage, and now she was talking about making smothered potatoes, too. Smothered potatoes was one of my favorite dishes, so I wasn't about to say no. In fact, I was thinking about the container that would be going home with me.
"I was thinking dat we could make em to since you like them so much, and they will also go good alongside the chicken we gon fry and bake. Mity, men take us as serious as we take ourselves. They also make us feel like a priority when we are priority to them. A man is like a action verb; he will show better than he can tell you.
Take his word til he break his word for the most part, and watch how he oo things. Peel mamaw six potatoes, cut em in half and then in four chunks. It should be another pound of smoke sausage in the icebox and a pack of smoked ham; we gon use dat to flavor ya potatoes with butter and red onion." Mamaw, sometimes when we fuss he says he think he was meant to be with a lot of women. Then he'll say he love me. So whenever he say stuff, I just fix it in my mind so it make sense 'cause I can never tell what he really mean.
"Well don't twist his words to fit your feelings! If he said it, he meant it. Believe him! Dats a real bad habit many women have and dats how you'll end up staying in some sh*t fa to long because you wanna believe what you want him to say. Instead of hearing what the f*ck he really is sayin out his damn mout! (mouth) I can't tell you what to do with yo man but I will say I'd rather have a good cry take heartache and pain and move on than to stay and live with lies drama and confusion baby."
Did popi ever cheat on you, mamaw? "Girl we been married since we was 17. Did he cheat? Ha! What you think? Sh*t happens and I ain't got no room to talk or be mad at nobody. A man can bring his d*ck several places while keeping his heart in only one, and I'm ya popis heart, believe dat!"
She winked and smirked at me. Once the beans were creamed, she cut some of the fat off of her pickled tips and added them to the beans and cabbage that was now cooking down and smelling so good. After I peeled and cut the potatoes and onions, she put a pot of salted water to boil them. She told me to cook the smoked sausage ham and red onion down so that when the potatoes were tender, we could smother everything together. She then put on a pot of coffee. Mamaw made Community Coffee in the morning and afternoon because the people who stopped through loved her coffee, too. Well mamaw, sometimes I say I ain't gon leave him. I'ma get a man on his *ss.
Mamaw cut me off quick. "Even though we can keep it in longer than dey can keep it up, keep in mind dey still got the best hand at the table baby. We lose respect points when we go tit fa tat with dey asses. Men can compete in a f*ck marathon and come out like a champion. Women who compete in f*ck marathons look like sluts to the world. A man can have a reputation for f*cking everything with two legs and still end up marrying a smart beautiful decent woman. Once a woman has c*m all over her name, nobody wants to go no farther than the wet spot on the bed with her baby. Don't play games pray on it and be smart about what you need to do. Personally I think you shame to start over because you done had two kids with two men and you worried bout what people gon say, but f*ck dem, dey can kiss yo *ss in church"!
I never said it but I did feel like a let down. The women in my family were strong and married. I loved my kids but I was a teenager when I got pregnant 12th grade and I knew better.
I lived with a silent guilt that I let my sweet mama and solid grandma down. I sold drugs and took chances that could have cost me my life or my freedom. I just wanted to be stable and get it right this time. Now this n*gga on some baby making sh*t. I closed my eyes and the tears rolled. Mamaw poured the water off the potatoes and began to smother them in the onions and meats. "It's gon be ok, Mity; this ain't the end and it ain't gon kill you. You work hard and take care of yo kids. You ain't throwed away and you know you can always come back home. Dry yo eyes and grab dem two chickens out the icebox baby."
As I opened the fridge to get the chickens out, I cried harder breaking down and trying to explain to mamaw how I was working, taking care of my babies, keeping my house clean, f*cking him, trying to keep him happy and keep up with him at the same time because he was always gone! I'm trying to play with the kids and give them the time they deserved and I was just wore out! Sleepless nights cause I'm beeping him and pacing the floor wondering what he doing and who he's with. I cried, Mamaw, it's just to hard trying to keep up with a n*gga running wild.
"Well Mia, you need to stop worrying and trying cause you gonna run yo pressure up, dawlin. Understand this. You can't keep up with a p*ssy or d*ck if it aint attached to you! Dats his d*ck, it's on his body, not yours. Therefore you will never know what he's doing with it unless it's right there with you, so just stop trying to keep up because you will never be able to do dat baby.
"When I was young, I used to get mad at ya popi and raise hell. I'd threaten to gut him and f*ck him up all kinds of ways. My mama, yo long gone Mumpu, told me, 'Girl you got five chilren! You better get a hold of yo nerves!' She used to sit a couple of whole chickens on the cutting board and make me cut em up.". A confused look came across my face and mamaw caught it.
She told me, "Yo heart is hurt, yo mind is confused, and you don't know what you wanna do about yo relationship. So until you ready to say not f*ck but muthaf*ck dat relationship, you gon wash em good, cut em up, cuss em out, have a good cry, compose yoself, then season em to be fried and baked. Dem birds gon look and taste so good you gon forget who you mad at!" she laughed. Chicken therapy, dats how the women in our family cope. Cut dat bird before you cut da other bird! Sh*t, sometimes we had too many cut up chickens in freezer bags!
I had to laugh with her. The beans and cabbage was on a low slow simmer, and she had the smothered potatoes smelling delicious. She lowered the fire and told me to keep an eye on the potatoes while I cut up the chickens. She said she needed to lay down for a lil while and that I needed some time alone in the kitchen. She washed her hands again kissed my cheek and said, Call me if you need me. I'm two rooms away."
I learned how to cut up a whole chicken when I was 14 years old, but today was different. I was nervous. I took my time and washed the chickens, but when I picked up the knife, I was hesitating. I looked at the first chicken and said, 'Why you keep f*cking over me?' Slice down the middle. I felt the joints around the leg and thigh then the breast and wing, cursing, slicing, as the tears rolled.
Talking to each chicken as if they were my baby daddy. Pleading fussing and making my points. Baby if those chickens could hear and talk back! I looked down at the pieces and started laughing. After I cut the chickens I called out to mamaw to tell me how many pieces would be be fried and baked. "Season one with fresh garlic, parsley, lemon pepper, rosemary and kosher salt. Dats fa the oven, baby. Just salt pepper and cayenne on the other; dats our fry bird. You ok in there"? I'm better mamaw; I think I'ma be cutting up lots of chicken, though, I laughed and said.
I baked and fried the chickens just in time for mamaws evening hungry rush. I wasn't in the mood for a house full and mamaw knew it. She packed up a few containers of red beans, cabbage, smothered potatoes, chicken, and she also threw in a few freeze goods. That's what we called meals we freeze to pull down and eat when we didnt cook or had a craving. My freeze good containers had gumbo and crab and corn bisque! Mamaw hugged and kissed me as she gave me my bag of goodies and said, "No matter the hour, call me lil girl. I been in my room making conte on the phone with my daughter, and you and our lil babies is welcome at any one of these houses. We love y'all."
I was trying not to cry again so I just hugged once more and said, I don't know what I would do without you and mama mamaw. I gotta get the kids from preschool but I'll call you once I get them fed and settled. "Ok baby, just remember we here fa y'all."
I know y'all are. I left mamaws house felling better. Picked my kids up, did homework, fed them, gave them a bath, a snack, and a put in a VCR tape for them to watch. My man stayed out again, so the next morning, I dropped my kids off at school, came back, packed, and called my mama. I was crying when she answered the phone. All she said is, "Me, ya daddy, and uncle is coming with the truck, Mi."
My baby daddy and I were able to get past the break up and become friends. We didn't sleep together; we didn't even flirt. We really became friends. Once a person shows you who they
are, you must except them for themselves. He wasn't what I needed when it came to a mate, but he was still a good person. I took my heartache and pain and moved on, and let the next broad live with the lies and confusion...
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